While the quality of the spousal relationship is one of the most important factors in retiree life satisfaction, recent studies conclude that divorce for couples after 50 is on the rise, and retirement may have something to do with it. According to researchers, many couples are just not prepared for the realities of being around their spouse more often. So what can they do about it to avoid conflict and keep a happy and healthy marriage?
Stay connected to the outside world. Start by taking classes, joining clubs, volunteering or being involved in your community. Stay connected to your friend or find the time to reconnect with old friends via social media networks. There is a new world out there and now if the time to explore it.
Make sure you each have enough “alone time” and respect each other’s schedules. One of the most critical elements of happiness according to positive psychology is having a solid identity. And since it’s no secret that being in a relationship blurs those lines, why not use this time to your advantage? Be upfront with each other about how much time you expect to spend apart. Being on the same page will prevent your feelings from getting hurt, while also allowing your partner enough time to recharge.
Invest in fun leisure and healthy activities “Because retirement is different,” said Michael Finke, co-author of a just-published study, Spending, Relationship Quality, and Life Satisfaction in Retirement. “Our goal isn’t to earn money, our goal is to enjoy life.”. Invest heartily in those non-physical markers of well-being as well: emotional, mental, and spiritual health —you will reap many hours of well-lived life from them
Discuss the right expectations for each other. For many unhappy-together couples, the problem starts when they don’t have the same expectations of retirement, then it gets exacerbated when they don’t talk about it. So it is very important to avoid driving each other crazy, to mutually agree on an acceptable game plan. Think and discuss how you want to spend your time, including how much time to spend together. These talks should begin long before retirement.
Understand the financial and emotional ramifications. Divorce isn’t just emotionally wrenching, it can be financially disastrous for both husband and wife. Also, the division of assets can prove to be a big problem. Getting a divorce can have an impact on relationships beyond the marriage. It can polarize friends and leave some ex-spouses feeling alone and defensive.
Pursue your own interests and friendships. Personal goals and friendships provide opportunities for personal growth and help you maintain your own identity. Along with ensuring emotional well-being, the time you spend apart gives you something to talk about when you’re together.
Evaluate and monitor the quality of your marriage. If it’s poor consider investing in counseling to help bridge the often stressful marriage transition between work and retirement. A good marriage can contribute greatly to you. When you start focusing on what isn’t so great, it’s time to shift focus. “Rather than look at the other person, you need to look at yourself and ask, ‘Why am I suddenly so unhappy and what do I need to do?