So many married couples have had similar experiences in which they find that they don't even know the person to whom them are married. They have let their expressions of love dwindle and get lost in the whirlwinds of the years. Couples need to take the necessary time daily to hold each other, yes, embrace. Talk to one another about one another! Your marriage is so important and it can and should just get better and better. President Ezra Taft Benson has stated, “Man is at his best when complemented by a good woman’s natural influence”. You can't influence each other if you aren't communicating!
Share some hobbies and have some separate hobbies, but don't put your hobbies ahead of being there for your spouse, your eternal companion, your best friend. The empty nester stage may be more difficult or more of a life change for the wife, as she most likely spent a lot of her time at home, in constant worry of her children. Be patient in the adjustments and work together to find what will be best to fill that time.
I truly believe the best way to have a smooth transition and smooth transitions throughout marriage is to continue courting and dating the person to whom you are married. That shows value to your marriage partner. Don't get lost in the bustle of life and forget to spend time loving.
(In regards to Chapter 9 of the text, "Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives")