Help your marriage survive retirement
Do you know how to help your marriage survive retirement? Do you know how to make your marriage retirement proof?
How healthy is your marriage?
What are you doing to ensure that your marriage is healthy in retirement?
I know, there are so many issues in retirement. You think the marriage you have had all these years? It’s fine.
You do not have to work at maintaining the relationship. It will last forever.
How many times I have heard that groundless statement. All too often right before a divorce.
First, lets’ do a quick review of what love is. How mature love works in marriage.
(Excuse me here, a disclaimer if you please. I am not a marriage counselor. I am simply an observer of people. By simply being quiet and listening to what they have to say. See what they do. How they conduct themselves. Remember, I cut hair for many years. You have the privilege of living peoples lives when you cut their hair for years at a time. So know that the things that I write about and research, are subjects and situations that people have been living through, discussing, and dealing with for ages.)
One of the blessings of retirement time is time for reflection.
You are not living life so fast and working so hard. You have the luxury of spans of time when the mind puts together the experiences of a lifetime.
Finally, the dots get connected.
This is important!
We are creatures of habit.
Don’t be so stuck in your habits that you can’t take a few positive steps to make your relationship better.
If you take 2 or 3, and your spouse takes 2 or 3, that is 4 to 6 steps. To make that foundation for your relationship. Make a happier marriage for the both of you.
How healthy is your marriage?
How can you help your marriage survive retirement?
What are you doing to ensure that your marriage remains healthy in retirement?
First, lets’ do a quick review of what love is- and how mature love works in marriage! This is for marriage at any age!
When I saw this information from Dr. James Dobson, I found it particularly interesting.
What happens once the first full blush of romance is over?
That first strong feeling of excitement and wonder of how great our new relationship is.
This is an emotion. Not true love.
Some may say they “fell” in love. Few can remain if the other real feelings of commitment and respect are not there.
The emotional feeling of being in love is not a stable time.
Decisions made at this time come at a high price most of the time.
Love is a relationship that needs time to grow.
You need time to get acquainted. Time to get beyond the first few months of knowing someone.
Finding out about all the different personality sides. Do your personality sides work together?
Then once the “new” wears off this new relationship? How well do you get along?
How much do you enjoy spending time together? How committed are you to the relationship?
If you are always on the alert. Fear you are going to offend the new acquaintance.
Or fall short of their expectations. You will grow weary of the whole thing.
For love to develop you have to be ready to be your natural selves.
You need to be comfortable. Quit pretending to “love” country music if you prefer jazz.
A life is built on little things. When you start with the false base of pretense. You will be tired of always trying to enjoy the car radio accompanying your drive.
Relax, it is O K to have some interests that are separate.
Mature relationships need alone time!
You need to be able to spend time together but also need time to do things by yourselves.
Retirement can sometimes really be a trial for a marriage.
Part of adjusting to the new phase of life you are in ?
Usually, means a great deal more time at home for both of you.
You have had so much time spent working, that time at home seems but a dream.
However, having more time together can mean some adjustments, for both of you.
Have a plan for this time in your life? Concerning your marriage relationship?
Have you remembered to make that extra effort? To occasionally do something particularly romantic?
I thought not. Me either. This is a reminder for me as well as anyone.
How well do you still know your spouse?
I mean the one that is now home all the time since retiring.
Take the time to get to know each other again.
Talk, do things together.
Do not let hours in front of the T V be the only “together time/”
I have observed something about being single and retired!
How many people who have lost their mate. Formed a new relationship.
Just to find that the excitement of the new relationship wears off?
Then the commitment is not there.
I do think that when people meet. Find themselves attracted to another later in life, should consider the relationship. Go slowly. With caution.
This again is based on observation of the past. People need to proceed a bit slower.
Being alone is miserable for some retired senior adults. I fully understand this.
However, being married to someone is not always the answer.
You should be open to the possibility of a true love.
But aware that you may be spending this last phase of your life alone. As a single senior adult.
You need to prepare to take the responsibility for this time in your life.
You may need a plan.
Dr. James Dobson believes that we can strengthen our marriage for retirement.
He suggested remembering a few of the things you did when you first met.
When you were just getting acquainted.
When you have been married for a number of years you get a bit complacent.
You can forget to show our spouse the affection you really feel.
You can help your marriage survive retirement.
You allow yourselves to get out of the habit of being affectionate.
What a sad thing for both of you
While you did not usually have a plan when you first met your spouses, you should have.
A reasonable plan might have led you right to the spouse you have now. Helped to establish a good life.
You may have done that anyhow, just by chance.
Most of us do, thank goodness.
However, if you expect that spouse to have the answers to all your problems you are making a mistake. That is too heavy a load for any of us.
Have some ideas of what you want in a relationship.
Know when you first meet someone that the getting acquainted time has to take place.
- Spend time talking.
- Ask each other questions and pay attention to answers.
- Find out how this person thinks. Take this knowledge and give yourself time to think about it and consider how it fits in with how you think and believe.
We have all seen retired senior adults who were disillusioned with their mates.
It is easy to look at that mate and see all the things that are happening to both of you and think that you cannot stand another day with that spouse.
There seems to be no passion left, no respect. Surely no love.
This may be how it really is. The cares of life. The daily living and coping habits you develop as the years go by.
All this may well have covered a marriage where you are both miserable, and lonely.
There is nothing between you but years of toil and strife.
Divorce may seem the answer.
A closer look at how this affects your retirement financial situation is in order.
Maybe some time living apart is a good idea.
A short time of being alone, having time to pray and think. This can give you a chance to find out if living apart from the spouse is really what you want.
Why not try for some time with a counselor.
This will give you time to work through the mental and real problems if a marriage is beyond surviving.
Just look around and know that divorce is not always the answer.
Lets’ talk about how you can help your marriage survive retirement.
Now lets’ think for a moment. What are some things that a retired couple can do to help get reacquainted after retirement?
The mere time of being in the house together. For so many hours a day can be a challenge after years of time apart during your work days.
The responsibilities we had then made you know that the time you had together was important.
You usually both tried to make the most of it.
You planned your activities on the weekend.
You shared the chores.
The maintenance around the home.
You worked together.
Now that you are retired, you have all day to get the chores done.
You do not have to do all the fun things on the weekends.
You can take advantage of a matinee for a new movie release. On a Tuesday.
You can learn a new way to live your life. One that will support a happier retirement time.
The only person you can change is yourself.
If one of you have managed the finances due to time constraints or convenience, do this together.
Work together for a budget that reflects both of your interests. You shared goals.
Do the same as you are working through the plan.
Your plan for how to spend your time during retirement.
Talk about the interests you would like to explore. The ideas for retirement that are floating around in your head.
It is your retirement as well. Help your marriage survive retirement.
So do it.
One thing that my husband does every time I prepare a meal for us is to tell me that he appreciates it.
He will use different statements like “This looks good.”
Usually, when done eating he will tell me “that was good” or “that hit the spot.”
He helps with the dishes.
The end result is that I am more ready to prepare a meal for us.
He can cook, and does prepare a meal for us occasionally.
He has done more during the time I worked after his retirement.
When I have a project I want to stay with, he will do the meal for us.
Telling me he appreciated my efforts. Sharing this daily routine.
Makes me think that he cares about my efforts.
You may think that those little things will not make a difference in your marriage.
Maybe they won’t. But, did you try?
Have you suggested an outing that you both would enjoy?
If you are wanting to go to the quilt show, how about asking your spouse if they want to take in something nearby?
Sometimes there are events that he wants to check out that you are not interested in.
Maybe that would be a good time to get dropped off at the new museum and picked back up in a couple of hours.
You can share the ride to and from, with the new experiences to share for conversation.
Too often retirees think that their spouse would not be interested in an event that they are.
Ask. You might be surprised!
They may have developed a greater appreciation for quilts, as it reminds them of younger days and visits to grandparent’s homes.
When you are retired, you are older.
(I know you are thinking “duh!”) The point I would like to make here is that when you were younger, you liked events that lasted longer or all day.
Now a 2-hour limit is a good time.
That is about as long as I can have fun. At one time.
I had to think about this one.
I thought that grouping everything together. In one fatal do or die day was still the way to go.
Adjusting to scattering the shopping chores out a little. Suits me much better now.
Having a shorter time to be out and about works so much better.
Had I not made a plan, the realization of what was not working would not have happened.
Habit would have overshadowed the time.
I would not have realized that this change would be a good one.
When I planned, and it still was not as much fun as had been intended. Simply revamp the plan.
I want to be happy during retirement.
As stated before, I observe people, watch, and listen.
I have a caring, kind and considerate mate. He can’t help getting older.
You sometimes do not know when You are well off.
The winds of fate can change for a direction that will be less enjoyable than where you are now.
You need to know that you have done the very best you can. Make this time in your lives happy and enjoyable.
You need to know that you have worked to the best of our ability to be a good mate.
Staying married is so much more preferable to living alone. However, it should be done with love, respect, and appreciation.
You can’t help getting older.
You are due the respect from each other to allow you to age in your own way. It is hard enough to get older.
You do not need a lot of unreal expectations.
You need to allow each other space and dignity to age. You should not expect your mate to act like someone much younger. Or older.
You need to know that You have worked to the best of our ability to be a good mate.
Staying married is so much more preferable to living alone.
However, it should be done with love, respect, and appreciation involving both members of the relationship.
If you are seeing the signs of discontent, from you are your spouse, take action.
Make a plan. Do Mondays seem to be the day that your spouse is restless?
Plan something for the two to get out and check out.
Maybe the spouse needs to find a new hobby.
Maybe time in the library to plan the weeks reading.
Just make yourself aware of the times that nothing seems to please the spouse.
Maybe they just need to have a few hours in front of the T V. Watching what they want.
Make note, and move on with doing something you want to do.
Being responsible for someone’s happiness is too large a load.
Do not think you can solve all their problems. You may be able to help, but you are responsible for you, your mental health, and welfare.
Mondays may be a good time to spend the day with the activities of your choice. You usually have worked this out in your younger years.
And usually, these habits will follow you through to retirement.
For some, those habits are the ones that carry you through the adjustment to retirement living.
For others, the same old routine will no longer work. You are individuals!. You have different needs and ambitions.
Do you know what makes you happy?
The first step of planning is to identify the goal. Get your plan going. See what you can do to make your mature marriage stronger.
Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk.” He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family.