Knowing Your Spouse in Retirement

Many couples don’t prepare for retirement emotionally. They believe that it happens naturally and they will know how to do it right away.

Whenever you idealize a transition, no matter if it is a marriage, a new baby or retirement, you are sure to be disappointed. Retirement is a transition and it involves not only your lifestyle, but also your marriage style. Couples need to reacquaint themselves with their partner and revitalize their marriage. In essence, no one really knows their partner completely and when the other partner is going through a transition along with you, navigating the relationship can be tricky.

Your marriage has to transition in a way it has not done before.

Prior to retirement your outlook or vision together is always the future. During retirement, there is a heavy emphasis on the present. People become more aware of their mortality and the importance of living each day in the present.

If you are on the verge of retirement, these suggestions may help you make the emotional transition as well as the physical ones of actually ceasing your employment:

It’s Ok To Grieve

Grieving is an important part of retirement, and it does happen whether you acknowledge it or not. It usually presents as sadness, anger or irritability. The more you can journal about how you feel or have a good friend—hopefully your spouse is a good listener—the easier it will be to get through the process.

Stay Active

Physical activity has never been more important than in your retirement. No matter what happens in your life, take 30 minutes each day to be active. Marriages improve with walks; there is no healthier way to begin conversation.

Be Intimate

Keep intimacy with your partner in your retirement years. Couples who are more intimate have healthier hearts, minds, and bodies. Date nights are not exclusive for the young. Keep them in your marriage ’til death do you part.

Form Friendships

Make new friends and keep the old. The more social you are with other couples, the better your own marriage becomes. Other couples give us new thoughts, new reflections and help us think out of our own box. They also keep laughter in our life.

Try New Things

This sounds like a cliché, but try new things. It can be a new spiritual retreat, a new boating club, or a pet owners club and anything in between. When you try new things, you help the brain form new connections. If your brain ever needed new connections, it needs them in the senior years.

Separate Interests

Keep your own interests separate from your partner. This is important in all of life. The more interests you can bring to the relationship, the more the relationship is going to thrive.

Kids may help stabilize a marriage, and work gets us in our routine. When those two roles are finished, the greatest role may be freedom; re-learning who we are and who we are married to.

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