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Marriage in Retirement

What does Marriage in Your Later Life Retired Years mean to you?

Have you talked to your spouse/significant other and discussed your marriage in retirement?

Have you discussed the many retirement possibilities, activities, and options all linked to retirement and being together 24/7? 

  • Do you agree on what you'll do daily?
  • Do you agree on travel?
  • Is the definition of retirement the same for both of you?
  • Where will you live?

OK, if you are like most of us married folks, you've been married for 10, 20, 30 years and you both go your own ways, daily, to work. If you are the stay at home wife, you still have all day, alone, while he is away at work. Suddenly retirement hits, and BAM, togetherness 24/7. Yikes!

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Marriage, post-retirement, isn't always easy!

Marriage in Retirement isn't always an easy road and actually needs some thought. Yes, many folks are married and happily retired, but it does take some "give and take" from both of them.

If you were happy together before retirement, you likely will remain happy together... assuming you both have the same ideas for retired life.

However, if the weekends seem rather long to you, but you are OK because there is a return to work on Mondays, just wait until you are both together 24/7!

When married and retired, normal life on a daily basis changes and you must cope with adjustment. Retirement changes life loads, and the relationship with your spouse, your daily choices are all "new", even after years of marriage.

Depending on your marriage in retirement, any or all of the following could happen (and lots more):

  • The newly retired partner could become depressed (and it take it out on their spouse).
  • A spouse who has been a manager at work for years, suddenly starts ordering their spouse about (not meaning to be authoritative, but simply following suit from years of work life).
  • He is ready to move to Florida, she wants to stay as is with grandchildren nearby. 
  • You might both disagree on daily chores, what to do daily, or where to go, or she suddenly vacuums when he is ready for his new daily nap.. Brrrrroooom! Heck, he might start to supervise your cleaning routine and grocery shopping. Yikes!

Just being aware of the life changes, when retirement happens, makes all the difference!

Even if your partner is unaware, you can be thinking about retirement options, knowing you are both evolving through a huge lifestyle change.

GRIEVE the loss of employment. Just allow yourself and your spouse some down time to think about who they'll transition into. Help them through this depressed state with support and understanding as they renew and find themselves, again.

SUPPORT each other through this time. Talk about what you'd like to do in retirement. Do you both have the same thoughts on retirement or are you different (he thinks retirement means a hammock in the back yard on hot summer days, and she thinks computer classes would be wonderful to keep the brain thinking!)

TALK about your marriage in retirement - why not? It's a huge step in your lives -- so take the time to discuss what you'd both like to do in retirement.

FRIENDS are also necessary. You might need to reconnect with old friends or find new friends. It could be a simple card game with neighbors on a regular basis. Dinner out with friends. Church events for some socializing with like souls. 

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Accept that you'll both also go your own ways sometimes. He plays cards or golfs with his buddies and she might go shopping with a friend. In retirement, just like in pre-retirement lives, you don't have to be shackled together.

Just TALK about it -- and give each other some privacy -- there is a healthy balance to the privacy vs. togetherness dance. You've just got to work a bit to find yours.

HOUSEHOLD DUTIES can be shared. Oddly enough, simple household chores can give you both satisfaction. If you have been the housekeeper for years, share some of your daily duties with him.  

Let him help -- even if it isn't quite up to your standard. This provides you with some time away from the house, time to pursue your hobbies, or simply allows you to do the chores quicker so that you both have some pleasurable time when the housework is done.

A few ideas here:

  • Talk about your marriage before retirement. It's a huge change in your lives and you need to discuss (not merely assume) what you'll do... where will you live, what will you do on a daily basis, which household chores are you both ready to do, will you vacation away for long periods of time? 
  • Consider "dating" again. It might give new spice to an old marriage... you are retired, time is on your side, consider day trips and fun things that the two of you can do together.
  • What habits do you or your partner have that you might need to think about before you retire?
  • If one of you retires first, is that person ready for the partner to join their daily activities?
  • After retirement, with more time on our hands, why not look up old disconnected friends you believe would be a good friend now -- and have dinner together. It's a great thing for both of you, get out, share some chit chat and generally socialize (the stuff you miss from work).

Help and support each other. If your partner gets depressed at retirement, help them through it.

Talk about retirement, where you plan to go in retirement, what you'd like to do, discuss your thoughts and share them with your spouse.

Some folks actually divorce this late in life... retirement doesn't help an already shaky marriage. Don't let this happen to you (unless THAT action assures your retirement is happier). You have to work through the lifestyle and relationship changes with your partner.

Retirement affects nearly every aspect of your life, either positively or negatively, and its YOU who will determine how this part of your retirement goes.

If you take the time to work your marriage relationship as part of the retirement adventure, your marriage will gain strength as you enjoy retirement life! Together...

Marriage sometimes just doesn't work out... divorce at retirement  sometimes happens... now what?