Can Your Marriage Survive Retirement?
“Can your marriage survive retirement”? Are you sure? Did you plan your retirement at all?
If you did, you did a better job than I did.
The further into retirement, I get, the more I realize a healthy marriage is an important part of the retirement picture. At least for me, it is.
Research has proved that married people live longer than single retirees.
Retirees are usually healthier when living as a couple.
- They have a higher self-esteem and are more positive in their outlook for life.
- Usually, there is more money during retirement time, with a spouse.
- Then there are more social times. More going as a couple, which results in the ability to enjoy life better.
All reasons to want to keep problems out of your marriage. Do what you can to keep your marriage strong and thriving? Not just surviving?
The importance of me time for both of you
In the work world, you both had successful work relationships that provided the benefit of:
- Making you more conversational
- Giving you more versions of how life can be lived
- Made you aware of how different people go about finding happiness in their lives
- The interests others have
- Sharing problems others encounter, all the different parts of being involved, regardless of how superficially, in others lives.
When you retire, you remove yourselves from these daily encounters and exchanges.
Your conscious thought is concerned with what is going on with you and the events in your homes.
You have probably lived for years in these homes. With your spouses. There were always lots of other things going on as well.
Retirement has some cruel reality moments to adjust to. Especially after the first few months is over. The “honeymoon” of retirement ends.
All of a sudden you are together, 24/7.
Wow, who prepares for that?
Even if you have all these fantastic travel plans. You are traveling the world. New places. New experiences.
You realize you are sharing this time with the same person, day after day.
Even doing something you have always dreamed of doing, you find yourselves becoming a bit overwhelmed. The effort of being cheerful. Excited and interested in every little thing the spouse finds interesting.
You realize you have personal interests
Sometimes we prefer just looking at the sights. Not commenting on them. In detail.
In the past when traveling, you were both glad to spend more time together on your trips. You spent so much time in your separate worlds. This sets up the patterns that formed your habits for traveling.
You both know what to expect. How to act. What to talk about. What to eat. When. What to avoid.
Now, you are together. All – The – Time. There is no separate time.
What is your plan for adjusting to this? This can be hard for your marriage.
Importance Of Your Commitment To The Relationship
Maybe the first few months of retirement finds you a bit disappointed. Disappointed with some parts of your retirement. You are not sure how to get into making these years the best they can be.
For some good ideas about regrounding your marriage, read this article
Can your marriage survive retirement review
Try this simple solution. Simply take out a pen and paper.
Start by writing a list. Include how you had envisioned your retirement time spent.
The better solution would have been to have this worked out. Yes ahead of time. All too often, you just didn’t think of it.
You are advised to make some financial plans. The other parts of retirement are left to just happen. You have some time to think about it. Was this very wise?
Your spouse can’t see your thoughts. They don’t know what you envisioned yourself doing during this time.
Yes, you may have discussed some of the dreams you both had, but no real plans were made.
One advantage of writing out a list on a sheet of paper?
You can see the lack of reality. As well as possible ideas and plans. You can make them now. Review the list for a day or two. Think about it. Then revise it.
Part of planning involves learning to think differently.
Now, let the list sit another day or so. Is this is how you want to spend your retirement years? It is time to discuss plans with your spouse. it is important to give him/her some time to have input for this time for you both.
Work out a plan so that you both feel good about the future. You both know what to expect. Some things shouldn’t be left to chance.
You both should feel a commitment to seeing some of your dreams come true. This is not a one-person time if you have a spouse. It is a special time for both of you.
You don’t both have to play golf.
However, if you do, you don’t have to play together every time.
Have friends of your own to spend some time with.
You don’t have to both volunteer at the same project, or at the same time. Time spent interacting with others, or at home alone is beneficial for both of you.
One thing I had to learn was that a spouse on a shopping trip, even just groceries was not an enjoyable time. We do much better if this chore is split up and done by ourselves.
It’s to your benefit to work out a plan that allows you both to feel important. you both should be happy with the way the retirement time is going.
He thinks he is still boss
Often men are behaving in a controlling manner, without even being aware of it.
They were used to making the decisions in the workplace. It is normal and natural to continue to do so in retirement.
They really haven’t had time to decompress or adjust. This isn’t usually a trait they even realize they have adopted.
It has happened in the absence of a plan. A guideline to the next part of your life. Who knew you would need to plan to be happy and have a fun retirement?
You need a plan for a budget to operate your household. Make sure the financial side of your retirement stays as secure as possible.
Make sure you are both comfortable with plans going forward. Plan retirement fun!
After 37 years as a cosmetologist, I’ve been privy to many a complaint or frustrated rant. By a spouse who felt they had no say in the finances of their retirement.
They felt controlled! Having a voice in decisions is important. This will make the actions for that decision easier to work with. Easier to follow through on.
You and your spouse should talk about the plan. You’ve spent too many years together to allow problems.
Problems that could be resolved. Don’t let problems weaken your commitment.
- Make your list
- Talk about it
- Put some time limits on it
Agreeing to remodel the kitchen is an incomplete plan. It still is a list item.
Your marriage can and will grow stronger. It can survive and thrive in retirement. Give it a chance.
Keep Or Start Date Night
Start a date night or day. Plan to do something together on a regular basis.
Have lunch, then go to the matinee. Both are more reasonably priced than dinner and an evening movie.
Sometimes, retired people had rather not drive at night. Fine. Date days are great. Doing something together. On a regular basis. Away from the house. This can result is some good memories. You can plan retirement fun.
This also needs an assigned time. Wednesday is perfectly acceptable, as is Thursday evenings. Or anytime, remember you are retired. Just plan the event, and give yourself the fun of anticipation as well.
Movies aren’t what you want to do? A museum visit. A stroll in a park that you drive to, not right by the house. Just make it a regular occurrence even if only once a month.
This special time should be on the calendar. It will increase the commitment you have.
Hobbies You Both Enjoy
One other important thing for you to consider in retirement? Develop hobbies. Hobbies that you both enjoy. That you can spend some time together doing.
Make sure this question of “can your marriage survive retirement” doesn’t apply to you.
People need to learn to play together. Lighten up. Put on a pair of walking shoes. Grab the binoculars. Go bird watching.
Check out the local points of interest. Where you can go for the day. Spend some time with a picture puzzle. A good thing for a bad weather day. Have fun during retirement, together.
Check out local “old” cemeteries.
The local library may be offering classes for something you both would enjoy.
Get a camera. Take a class on how to use the camera. Put together your own local history.
Start a website with family tree as the basis. Learning to work online is so much fun!
Start an online business, you can each have a site. Work on building your site. Or take separate parts of one site. Share the responsibilities of growing and developing this online business.
The local Chamber of Commerce has a great list of interesting things to do locally. Check out your options.
There is a wonderful future waiting for you.
Make the time to have fun together. It is your retirement time. Both of your retirement times.
You can do this.
And do it well.