PARENTING CONFESSION: 'I'm terrified my marriage won’t survive my kids moving out.'

I’m out on a date with my husband for the first time in forever and my heart starts pounding like it’s my first rodeo. 

I have no idea what to talk to him about.

I take a sip of my wine and rack my brain. Nothing comes to mind. Zilch. Nada. Crickets. I think he feels the same way, and it’s just so awkward.

The usual topics include our finances, work, our ageing parents or if all else fails, the kids.

But tonight, the conversation has well and truly run dry, and it’s not the first time.

I’m increasingly noticing this distance growing between us, and it plants a tiny seed of worry in my brain.

What’s going to happen when the kids leave? What if I have absolutely nothing in common with my husband any longer? 

What if the children are the glue that keeps us together and without them, we’re lost?

My husband and I have always been opposites, but somehow we’ve made it work. He likes sport, Asian food and watching comedies. I like art, Italian cuisine and thrillers

I read to unwind. He scrolls.

I enjoy talking about meaty topics like spirituality, climate change and sexuality. He avoids discussing anything too deep, especially feelings. You get the point.

When we first met, we could chat about anything. I remember in those early months we would stay up until 3am talking about all sorts of stuff from our past, our dreams and ideas for the future. 

Nowadays, I feel like our only common denominator is the children. What happened to us?

I know I’m partly to blame. Somewhere along the way, I began to prioritise the children over my husband. Our relationship played second fiddle to their needs.

I read a passage in a book recently that reminded me of my mother and the kind of mother I aspired to be when I first began the crazy rollercoaster that is parenthood. It’s from Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild


She’d come at us with maximum maternal velocity. She hadn’t held back a thing, not a single lick of her love.

Looking back, I think I’ve done the same. I’ve given my children my whole heart and soul, my entire attention. But what has that left for my husband?

I do precisely what you’re not meant to do in these situations and hit up Dr Google for some advice.

Thankfully, what I’m feeling appears to be normal.

As you go through the seasons of life, sometimes couples drift apart. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve fallen out of love with each other and that it’s time to pull the pin.

I also find all sorts of helpful advice from relationship experts. They suggest scheduling couple’s time and doing things together that you both enjoy or trying out something new together. 

Rather than focusing on your differences, they say to see it as an opportunity to reconnect with your partner, learn more about each other and find a new sense of closeness.

What’s key is that you continuously put effort into making your relationship a priority. And you communicate how you’re feeling. 

I pick up my phone and message my husband. “Hey babe, I miss you and I feel like we need to spend some time together, just us. Do you want to learn how to rock climb with me?” I ask. 

I wait, feeling those nerves once again bubble up.

After a few minutes, my phone beeps. “Sounds great, honey, let’s do it,” he says. I smile.

It’s not a magic fix. But it’s a start.

Feature Image: Getty.

Are you a mum to be or have a little one aged 6 months or under? Take our survey for your chance to win one of four $50 gift vouchers!