You and your partner have been married for many years, in some cases decades. With all that time together, you’ve both changed and now, entering retirement, you find yourselves together without children or jobs – in fact, this is probably the most time you’ve spent together ever. All the same, you’ve gotten comfortable, you know each other’s secret bad habits, and usually, you know what the other person’s going to do, before they even do it. Now, you’re in for the last part of life together. With such familiarity, it’s easy to let the marriage become flat and distant.
These tips will keep your hearts burning through your golden years.
Remember the Past
Retirees say the best way to keep a flame alive is to remember where you’ve been together. Embracing the good times, not the bad, strengthens the bond you and your partner have been building all along. Those with children find that when they become grandparents, they become even closer. Remember why you got married in the first place, it helps keep things in perspective.
Be Best Friends
The person you lean on first and foremost should be your partner, not your closest friend down the street. And make sure to be an approachable person for your partner, too. Being able to be honest with one another is paramount. It’s also important to love spending time with each other. That sounds obvious, but so often couples become two souls wandering around a house without interacting. Enjoy one another, and laugh.
It’s true, you’ve seen each other in your worst states. You’ve used bad language, had the stomach flu, made poor judgments, burnt Thanksgiving dinner, left dirty socks on the floor, crashed the car, and let loose unspeakable bodily noises. Despite history, it’s not good to do these things unless you’re sick or physically have problems taking care. Don’t let yourself go – you are in a romantic relationship, as comfortable as you are. And don’t be lazy, or take out your anger on the other person. Your partner is a person too, and remember, they’re your best friend. Treat them that way.
This one sounds obvious, but it’s important to tell each other about everything. The credit card bill, the traffic ticket, the phone call you forgot to make are all things that you need to communicate. If you’re feeling down in the relationship, say that, too. Nothing gets solved without finding a solution – together. And by that token, be forgiving of your spouse if they mess up. We all do it. Kindness and openness do wonders for a marriage.
Keep the Romance Alive
Some couples have weekly date nights. This is an excellent way to keep the flame bright. Dress up for your partner, go somewhere you’ve new, or someplace one of you loves. A great way to liven things up is to go on a romantic vacation together. Bring home flowers, do the other person’s laundry, small gestures go far. Make sure to say thank you. Everyone likes to be appreciated.
The biggest cause for tension in a marriage is money. It’s difficult to keep finances in line, and when you retire, you have to rethink the way money works since there’s no more inflow. Make sure you’re on the same page. Fighting about finances is terrible, and the best way not to go there is to, once again, communicate what’s happening. Keep each other in the loop and on the same page. Make plans together.
This doesn’t mean you need to spend half the day horizontal. Marriage evolves in many ways, and sex, for some but not all, sometimes becomes a byproduct. Talk about intimacy to make sure both of your needs are met. Even without sex, do remember that even touching is a way of being intimate, so no matter what, integrate physical interaction in the relationship. Simply sitting next to one another on the couch, holding hands, kissing, are all ways of expressing intimacy. It’s important to keep affection alive as it’s part of the original foundation of your marriage.
No one ever said marriage is easy, but most would agree it’s worth the trouble. Adjusting with age, communicating, and staying respectful to one another are critical as you and your spouse get older. Follow these tips, and you’re in for the happiest phase of your marriage, yet.