MP 095: How Does Parenting Adult Children Impact My Empty Nester Marriage?


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By Robert Carnes, Ted Lowe, Afton Phillips, and CJ Palmer. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

There is no one on the planet I’d rather you hear from on this question than Dr. Jim Burns. Jim is the president of Homeword He speaks all over the world and wrote the book Doing Life With Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut & The Welcome Mat Out. Jim and his wife Cathy live in Southern California and have three grown daughters and two grandchildren. Whether you’re an empty nester or not, you’re going to get a lot of encouragement out of this conversation with Dr. Jim Burns.


  • One of the questions we get is that people hear a lot about navigating life with littles or teens, but there’s not a ton of stuff out there about empty nesters. Talk to us a little about the tensions empty nesters feel (2:10)
  • I’ve heard you say before that you and Cathy have a “high maintenance marriage”. What does that mean and how does that tie into being an empty nester? (4:37)
  • Speak to the empty nesters where the kids have left and they’re trying to find their way as a couple (8:46)
  • What are some of the questions or topics you would give to an empty nester couple to ask each other? (14:53)
  • We talk a lot on this podcast about ‘micro moves’ - tiny things that mean big things. It may even be asking if you’ve affirmed your spouse lately (22:06)
  • Our question is “how does parenting adult children impact my empty nester marriage?” How does parenting adult children create tensions? (25:36)
  • I’ve seen a lot of couples need permission to not bring things up or to let things go (28:58)
  • How does having your kids move back in with you impact couples? (30:36)
  • I’ve heard you say that adult children hear opinions as advice - is that right? (34:40)
  • What do you say to the couple who says they made an agreement with the kids, and they see their spouse become lenient about it (or the other way around)? (35:51)
  • You have so many principles and you’ve talked about so many amazing things but if you’re speaking to empty nesters, what is one simple thing they could do today? (40:08)
  • If you were to point empty nesters to one of your resources, which one would that be? (41:19)


Doing Life With Your Adult Children

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