Choosing the ONE!
Let’s start with our primary relationship. That means your spouse or significant other…or maybe you are single again but anticipating someone filling that gap.
In the beginning of the relationship what was it that made you excited to spend time with him? You had so many things to talk about, to discover about each other; music, movies, activities, perspectives on various subjects, unconditional attention for each other and unfettered hopes and dreams.
Now fast forward, 5, 10, 30, even 50 years.
Consider that we may have spent so much time together that sometimes we don’t even really see our partners. We tend to take that person for granted. Sure you’ve changed over your history together but it’s probable that your partner has changed also.
It’s time to get to know each other all over again. Working in separate careers over a long period of time provides exclusive experiences and growth for each of you. Once retired, it’s time to reacquaint.
Even if we have an indifferent relationship, almost strangers, there was a time when our mate brought us nothing but joy – even butterflies in the stomach! Can you remember that?
Research shows that couples who do new or different things together are happier than those who fall into same-old routines.
In the beginning of a relationship, you’re going to new places, you may both have tentative feelings about how the other person feels, and all of that contributes to the above-mentioned butterflies you feel. Over time, you relax around each other and can get complacent. You don’t need to go zip lining but keeping things fun, like singing songs in the car or trying pickle ball can help keep boredom from clouding your relationship.
Recount that joy here
This exercise should remind you of why you chose this person in the first place. It does for me.
List five reasons why you committed yourself to this relationship.
Okay, I’ll start:
- He’s handsome.
- He makes me laugh several times a day and is really funny.
- He’s my best friend and soulmate.
- He’s who I think of first when I see something I want to share.
- He gives the “gift of attention” when discussing topics (caveat, not quite as much as 33 years ago.)
- He’s a great dancer, tennis player, cook, hugger, etc.
- He loves our kids and grand-kids.
- He’s “game” for new activities.
- We have history, and history validates your life. When you have inside jokes and stories you create a bond.
Okay, I’ll stop. I know that’s more than five, but I couldn’t help myself.
Now it’s your turn. List 5 “magnetic” reasons.
Create Your Retirement Relationship together
Now that you’re in a positive frame of mind, you need to spend some time exploring the idea of retirement life together.
According to a recent Fidelity study of 500 married couples ages 33 to 70, more than a third of them gave completely different answers when asked about when they would retire and what they wanted their lives to look like in retirement.
Now is the time!
Here are some partner questions to help you get started.
- When do you want to retire? Will you do it at the same time? If not, how will that work?
- How much money will you have to live on? This isn’t the primary question, really, but it does make a difference in what you’ll do.
- The secret is in matching the plan to the amount and living happily with what we do have. There are countless ways to “live large” on a shoestring, but that’s a subject for another time.
- Make separate lists of ten things that you’d like to do in the next ten years and then compare the lists. You will probably be surprised and possibly delighted. But no matter what, you’ll have a great conversation.
- As a couple, free flow your thoughts as partners? Don’t limit yourself to listing those things that need to be done around your home. Dream big here! The sky is the limit.
“It’s simple: Whether you’ve been together a short time or a lifetime: Be conscious and intentional about making your relationship a priority or run the risk of drifting apart and becoming strangers.”
Now put on your favorite song, pour a glass of healthy antioxidant-filled red wine and sit by each other while you get busy on your “retirement relationship” lists.