Reconnect with your Spouse: Making your Marriage Survive Retirement

 

There’s lots of togetherness in retirement!

If you read Dixie’s last post, you’ve been remembering why you chose your partner.  That’s a good place to start.   If you want your marriage to survive retirement, you’ve got to reconnect with your spouse.

Retirement is a wonderful time, a time to be celebrated, but it’s also a time that takes some getting used to – much like that first year of marriage when we learn to make the enormous leap from “me” to “we.”

But for some reason, we expect a period of adjustment to marriage but not to retirement.  Maybe it’s because most of us have spent a lot of years in a pretty consistent routine – raising kids, going to work, and handling the myriad number of chores and obligations required to do both those things.  We think the relationship we’ve forged over the years will just go on in this new and free format, only we’ll be on vacation all the time!

For better or for worse, but not for lunch!

Unfortunately, experts know that the changes accompanying retirement can wreak havoc on a marriage.  The statistics involving divorce at this period are pretty grim: since 1981, there has been a 16% increase in the divorce rate among couples married 30 or more years.

There might be a bit too much togetherness during those first few retirement months.  And when both spouses have worked at jobs where they were in charge, there may be a difficulty in giving up that authority!

“Thank you dear for finishing my sentence.  That’s exactly what I would have said.” –  Wife of a retired husband

Sometimes couples have simply stopped working without really making a plan for their retirement – not a financial plan, but a life plan!  They may feel overwhelmed and baffled about what they’re going to do for the rest of their lives!  But it doesn’t have to come to that.

The good news is that couples who make it through this passage (just like all those other passages encountered in any long-term relationship) come out the other side stronger and happier.  Most couples eventually find that this time is one of the sweetest times in life.

How do we make it sweet?

  • Start by making a conscious commitment to the relationship. Tell yourself that your spouse comes first.  Before your grown kids.  Before your grandchildren.  Before your friends.  Before anyone.  When a major decision comes up, ask yourself, “Is this good for the relationship?”
  • Give yourselves space. You don’t have to be joined at the hip.  In fact, it’s important to have some interests of your own.  Find some new hobbies or spend more time on the ones you already have.  You’ll be more interesting to your partner when you have something special to share about your day.  My husband just started a part-time job at the golf course.  He comes home full of stories about new people and new activities.
Be sure to have a couple of good hugs every day!
  • Create a ritual for yourselves as a couple. Have coffee together and read the paper each morning, share a cocktail before dinner, or take a walk each evening after dinner.  This is a time each day when you know you’ll be concentrating on each other and talking.   My favorite time of day is early morning coffee with the newspaper!

More ways to reconnect!

 

  • Express appreciation for your partner. Tell him why he’s great and tell other people in front of him!  Everybody likes to feel appreciated.

 

  • Don’t ignore your sexual relationship. Work on being intimate.  Make a date for sex or give each other a massage or just make sure to have a couple of decent hugs each day.  Physical contact is important.  It makes you feel loved.

”Explore one another. You might like what you find.”  Unknown

  • Spend time with mutual friends. Reaching out to other people enriches your life, not just by giving you an excuse to get out of the house to do something, but by providing perspective on your own relationship.

Establish a new routine.  And remember to laugh.

 

  • Create a new routine for chores.  I can remember my grandmother and grandfather arguing over which direction the handle of the tea kettle should point!  Instead of fighting over the correct way to wash the dishes or make the bed, divide the responsibilities for chores in an equitable manner and then let your partner alone.  And say thanks!  My husband does the vacuuming.  And I don’t.  I think that’s fabulous.
  • Establish separate territories in your house. When I was doing research for this blog, I thought this was a weird idea.  Especially since we live in a tiny house.  Then I realized  that Bob spends lots of time in his man cave on the lanai (that’s a porch in Florida), and I spend a lot of time in my office corner of the bedroom.  We  wander in to see each other from time to time, but we both have our own space.  It works.

 

  • Keep a sense of humor. Laughter greases the creaky wheels of life, and flexibility is the key to happiness!

 

The good news here is that couples tend to get happier the longer they’re retired.  If you expect a period of adjustment, you’ll find that you can work together to create a wonderful retirement life.

Pam

Writers@richlyaged.com

Retirement 8: The Self Discovery Process

Self Discovery: Who are You?

 

Self Discovery:  Will the real you please stand up?

Sensational retirements don’t just happen. They take some planning, and the place to start is with you. Take a little time to think about this and begin by asking yourself some questions to peel back the layers and find the “authentic you.”

Drill deep.  It took years of experiences to add those layers and it may take some time to remove the ones you no longer want or need. Write a description of who you believe you are. Link to mind-mapping to try mapping a visual of who you are.

A simple example of mind mapping for self discovery Continue reading Retirement 8: The Self Discovery Process

Retirement 7: Embrace Change and Enrich Your Life

 

These chickens are afraid of change!

No matter how excited you are about retiring, it represents a major change. Prior to this departure, you knew what was expected and required of you, but here you are in a whole new role. Even though it’s a wonderful role, it’s still change, and that can be daunting.

It’s even more daunting if you don’t want to retire. Before we quit working , I can remember my husband saying that he feared retirement more that death.  Wow!  That’s an unpleasant comparison.

In either case, retirement demands a significant change to a significant portion of your days, week and years.  How will you adjust?  How will you maintain your equilibrium and your balance, so that you can make this transition smooth? Take a look at this interesting article about change.  Here are some additional suggestions.

Four ways to embrace change and enrich your life

Continue reading Retirement 7: Embrace Change and Enrich Your Life

Retirement 3: 20 Terrific Part Time Jobs

You might be counting down the days to retirement.  I know I was, but I always knew that I’d want to do some kind of work when my “career” came to an end.

Work part time in retirement?

You don’t have to rush into it.  Take some time to bask in the joy of ignoring the alarm clock.  Remember when you were a kid and the early days of June heralded the long and wonderful summer ahead?  That’s how the start of retirement is.  The world opens up before you with endless possibilities.

But if you decide you want to work, how do you get started?  You might want to make a list of all the things you’ve been interested in doing over the years.  Maybe you want to remain in the field where you’ve worked, or maybe you’d like to branch out and try something completely new.

Getting Started!

You may be able to turn your current skill-set into a consulting job or a part-time teaching position, either on-line or in a classroom.  If that’s what you want to do, then finding part time work in those field might be easier while you still have your career position and contacts.  Dixie worked for several years as a marketing consultant when she retired, and I’m still teaching online.  It’s wonderful to get up and work in your pajamas.

If that isn’t feasible and you want to try something you’ve never done like flower arranging or working at the golf course, then a time lapse after retirement shouldn’t hurt your choices.  Go for it. It should be fun.

“According to US News, 60% of workers over sixty look for a job in retirement.”

Run these ideas through your brain!

Continue reading Retirement 3: 20 Terrific Part Time Jobs

Retirement 1: Creating a Retirement Life Plan

Okay, so you have this precious new gift.  40-60 hours a week that you haven’t had for the past several years.  How will you fulfill your life?… not your work life, your retired life?  How will you use these 60- minute gifts?

beach
Newly Retired? Take a couple weeks of vacation.

Take a couple of “vacation weeks” and decide.  If you want to sleep for two weeks, do it.  If you want to lay on the beach with your toes in the sand, do it. These hours are YOURS!

After decompression from a workweek filled up by others, decide how to arrange this next very important phase of your life? Your expanded life.  Your freed-up life!

Celebrate the end of ‘Ambition at Work’

Continue reading Retirement 1: Creating a Retirement Life Plan

Plan for Happy Retirement: ensure Positive Aging

Plan for Retirement to ensure Positive Aging.

Retirement financial planning is and has been available for years. We’ve all saved our pennies, moved them around, counted them repeatedly and planned for our “golden years.”

But what about the “what am I going to do all day part?  Sometimes, lack of planning results in boredom or loneliness.

What’s been missing is a planning guide for everything in retirement life but the financial information. Our “Baby Boomers Guide to Retirement…50 Tips to Freedom” workbook is not about finances or investments or savings.  Continue reading Plan for Happy Retirement: ensure Positive Aging