Let’s face it retirement is a time of great transition for spouses. Ample free time and drastic lifestyle changes can be a burden or a blessing for your marriage. Regardless of whether one or both spouses retire, the secret to a smooth transition is planning before you retire.
For example, if one or both of you have been task-driven individuals with their own careers, a 7/24 marriage may not be to your liking. Retiring couples who have lived independent and relatively separate lives may become frustrated and bored being joined at the hip.
Others may rejoice in spending more time with each other. The most important step to take prior to retiring is:
1. PLAN AHEAD. Know your personality and design your golden years accordingly. If you are a busy bee needing outside stimulation, plan ahead how you will keep yourself occupied.
Get a part-time job, volunteer, write a book, get a pup, complete home renovations, play golf, join an organization or take up a hobby.
Know what you will do with your excess time before you get on each other’s nerves. While retirement is a natural process of live, most retirees experience the same effects as with the loss of a job. No longer needed at work coupled with reduced social contacts many retirees question their identities.
Feelings of worthlessness or even depression are common and can harm the quality of your relationship. You owe it to yourself and your spouse to:
2. LIVE WITH A PURPOSE. Shift the focus from yourself to others. Contribute your knowledge and life experience to organizations. Get involved with youth groups helping young people flourish.
Socializing with your children and grandchildren will keep you young and alert. Read, cruise the Internet, exercise, learn a new language or skill. Do anything that keeps your brain working and your heart filled with passion.
If only one spouse is retiring, conflict over who does what and how time will be spent, may arise. The at-home spouse may be expected to do more chores including those they never did before. Arguments over time allottedfor chores or play may develop. To avoid conflict:
3. EXERCISE MUTUAL RESPECT. As the still-working spouse, don’t penalize your retired partner for having reached the golden years. Respect that your spouse deserves the freedom, time, enjoyment, respect and dignity of retirement.
While he or she can be expected to pitch-in more, respect that your spouse needs the freedom to find his or her purposeful life as a retiree. Again, talk about and plan ahead how time will be spent prior to retirement, it will save you many arguments.
Staying busy has proven to be beneficial for all retirees. How to keep busy may vary from one person to the next. Because of diverse expectations it is often difficult to find the right blend of shared hobbies and time alone.