Empty nest syndrome can be tremendously challenging to a marriage. This is because it is a major change in the lives of the parents and can affect the way they relate to one another.
From the time that our children are born, they become in many ways the center of our lives. Our schedules revolve around their needs and their activities. In many cases, subjects having to do with the children are the main topics of our conversations. Even when we have time to spend alone together, we may well be talking about things that have to do with the children.
When the empty nest syndrome hits, we no longer have this focus for our lives. The husband and wife may no longer really know how to interact with no children around to serve as a focus for interactions. The couple must now negotiate a new way of life. They have to figure out what they will do with their time.
Whenever there is a big change in a marriage, it can be stressful. Couples have to adapt to a new way of life and to new ways of relating to one another. The onset of empty nest syndrome can put stress on a marriage for this reason.