Safe Zones in Marriage and Empty Nests

A few nights ago our ward Relief Society hosted a class about strengthening marriage for both husbands and wives. The speakers were a couple in our stake. They handed out a piece of paper entitled “Rules for Discussing Problems.” I just read in Elder Richard G. Scott’s General Conference talk that he and his wife never argued. It is nice that for the rest of us who aren’t perfect, we have these rules. They talked about creating a safe zone in your marriage where you feel free to talk about anything. The rules involved things like, speak in a soft voice, don’t name call or blame, don’t use violence, don’t be emotionally or verbally abusive. They also taught us how to use “I statements” when communicating. For example, “I feel _______ about ________ because.” I really enjoyed the class. We entered the safe zone that night and I brought up a problem and we discussed it. I can see that the more you build the “safe zone” in your marriage, the stronger it will be. The speakers also recommend John Gottman’s books. Out of the mouth of two witnesses! My friend Michelle has been recommending his books for years, sometime I will get them and read them. Another book for the “to read” list.


The couple had been married for 26 years and all their kids are gone. Dh and I are coming up on 20 years and we are nowhere near an empty nest. That’s what happens when you have a lot of kids. But I’ve always known I wanted a big family. I remember hearing Mary White, one of the founders of La Leche League, say that her goal was to always have a baby in the house, and that by the time she couldn’t have any more her oldest would be having her grandchildren. I liked the way that sounds and I hope it works out that way. In preparation of Valor leaving for college next week we got him a cell phone yesterday (finally). Most, if not all of his peers, have had one for years. He’s having lots of fun with it and I am jealous that he gets to have a smartphone. It’s so amazing to think about having all that power and capability in the palm of your hand. It hit me the other day that my firstborn is moving away from home and a phase in my life is ending where all my children are home. I am really grateful for that phone to help keep us connected. It hit me that “Oh my gosh he is leaving next week! Have I done everything I wanted to do for him and taught him everything?” I feel like going somewhere to have some final hurrah with him. But I want it to be spiritual, not just some mind-candy experience. Then I noticed that next week is the last week for the Martin Harris pageant. I am hoping to enroll my husband in this excursion. It starts at 8:15 and ends at 10:15 and it is two hours away. Maybe we can just camp in the car after it’s over?




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