Reconnect with spouse after kids leave

The kids are gone, and now it's just you and your spouse. You've been married for years, but it's been a while since the two of you had some one-on-one time and you're feeling a bit distant.

Here are some tips to help you rebuild your relationship:

Talk. The days of long talks with your spouse about your day, your future, or even nothing at all may be a distant memory, but they aren't gone for good. Make it a priority to talk every day about how you're feeling, what your plans are and any issues in your relationship. Reaffirm your commitment, love and attraction to your spouse through gestures and words. Communicate with each other like friends and nurture the friendship within your relationship.

Travel. Take a second honeymoon, plan a weekend getaway or visit a place you've always wanted to see. If travel is not an option, be creative. Turn off the phone, unplug the computer, disconnect the doorbell and make your home a personal vacation destination.

Pursue a hobby together. Talk with your spouse about what you both like to do. Maybe you're interested in restarting a hobby you gave up when the kids were born, or maybe you have something new in mind. Being able to see your spouse in a different light will build upon the attraction and affection you have for each other.

Enroll in a marriage class. The first year without kids can be one of the most stressful times in a couple's relationship. A marriage class or seminar can get you through that difficult time.

Go on a date. Remember the days when you could go out to dinner or catch a movie on a whim? Well, those days are back. Schedule a regular date night -- either on the town or at home -- and stick to it. Enjoy each other's company and the chance to talk, uninterrupted, about whatever's on your mind.

Bring back romance. If it's been a while since you and your spouse were intimate, make some time for the two of you to reconnect. Sex is important to keeping a relationship intimate, and now that you don't have to worry about interruptions from the kids you can spend more quality time together.

See more advice from the relationship experts at the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center at