Marriage and Retirement

by George

My wife and I have been married since 1965. We both grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We met in high school, George Washington High School, in Northeast Philadelphia. After graduating from Temple University in 1964, my degree was in education, I taught in the Philadelphia School District until 2006.

I taught science, biology and physics for 42 years. My wife also taught in Philadelphia for about 30 years, she took some time off to raise our three children. She retired in 2003.

We never really discussed or actively planned for retirement. We both had the philosophy that we wanted to work as long as we enjoyed doing our jobs. Money was never a driving force in our relationship.

e live a relative uncomplicated, middle class life. We enjoyed our years as teachers. We had the summers off to travel with the children. Our work schedules matched our childrens so we didn't have any significant day care issues to speak of.

We both have good pensions, about 65% of our yearly salary. In addition, we invested well and lived below our means. We didn't retire at the same time. My wife retired 3 years before I did, because she didn't like her principal.

In addition, the school conditions had deteriorated. It was becoming more dangerous for her to travel to the school. North Philadelphia schools are very crime ridden.

My wife has many friends who had retired. She filled her time well. She is never bored. She's involved in many activities, volunteer organizations and charities.

I, on the other hand, have not enjoyed retirement. I find that I associate work with usefulness. I seem to have too much time on my hands. The kids are grown and are out of state, so I don't see them as often as I would like. I don't have as many friends as my wife, nor am I interested in doing volunteer work.

I spent the first 2 years of retirement fixing up the house. Getting to projects I didn't have time to complete. I find myself easily bored, and I'm contemplating getting a part time job, just to keep busy.

Thank God, my wife and I don't need to work, but I feel that working is healthy. I just don't understand how people enjoy not working. I've been working since I was 13 and I've always enjoyed it. True, work can be annoying or difficult, but it keeps me regimented. It gives me a purpose to wake up in the morning. Having interaction with a variety of people is a joy in itself.

I have helped out my wife with the household chores in retirement. This is practically unchanged from when we were both working. It's always been 50-50 in doing household chores.

Retirement was never something I was looking forward to. It just snuck up on me. I've got way too much energy just to sit around.

I'm not old I'm just 66!

Comments for Marriage and Retirement

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Retirement a struggle
by: Green Willow

My husband and I have been married for 47 years....very happy years until this last one when he retired. For most of those years we were busy raising a family, growing a business and both of us working.

We have always done things together but at times that has made me feel like a dog on a chain pulled to follow when I wanted to wander off to do my own thing.

In hindsight I realize that my work has been the only realm where I could enjoy independence. Now my husband, who is a very caring supportive person, interjects himself everywhere!

From simple household tasks (making the bed, washing dishes) to areas that have been mine alone (a retreat group I lead) he's there and if I move ahead without him I receive if I've done something wrong just because I want to do a task by myself. He won't let me drive anywhere alone so there are no more shopping trips by myself, and there is an expectation that we will do all things together.

I'm really struggling trying to make him welcome at home, trying to give him household tasks that are his to do without me, getting up earlier to be by myself. Sexually we're struggling too. I'm just tired and suffocating so am not too interested in intimacy but I'm trying to be open to his invitations.

I think we need help! All ideas are welcome.

"Golden Years?"
by: Anonymous

I don't think so...........

I am restless, anxious, worry more....... and feel paralyzed to do anything about it!

I am just glad I am not the ONLY one who feels this way!!!!!!!

Marriage and Retirement
by: Pat in NY

Hi George,

In my case, my husband retired several years before I retired. I have now been retired for about seven months and it has been very difficult for me.

Most of my husband's good friends are work friends and live about an hour away. We moved after his retirement to be closer to family.
Most of my friends still work.

I have been doing some volunteer work but I'm still trying to find what I enjoy.

As you know the winter can be very boring here in NYS.. so it's difficult to find things to do to keep busy.

We hope to get South for a few weeks to break up the winter.

I think retirement can be good but it takes a while to get to that point.

Maybe going back to work is the answer but I'm still not sure about that?

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