You’re retiring – excellent! Gone are the long hours at the office, the drudge of pre-dawn commutes, days full of directionless meetings, conference calls, and stress.
Now, your days are blissfully free, it’s just you and your spouse in your house. All day. Together. While you love each other, it may be a lot of well, each other. Retirement is an adjustment in all kinds of ways, but your marriage is one of the biggest areas that really needs to be rethought out.
Not by divorce, but by relearning how to live with one another after all these years. Here are some ways to keep the flame alive, without setting each other on fire.
Keep Her Out of Your Epiphanies
Men, this one’s for you. I know, you have an excellent idea about how to make the computer go faster, you just need to dismantle the motherboard. Or your grocery store is much better than hers because it carries beef jerky. You’ve discovered that if you microwave the sponge, it won’t smell anymore, saving lots of money on future sponge purchases. Listen, she doesn’t want to be involved. It’s amazing but somehow the computer works just fine when she surfs the internet, she manages to get all the food in the entire house from her grocery store, and the sponge, it costs two dollars, which is less than a pack of beef jerky. If you want to maintain a level of sanity in the house, fix your own stuff, and buy your own jerky. Keep her out of your agenda.
Do What You Love, Apart
Yes, you love one another, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend every blessed hour of the day together. Get your own life. Time apart is great, because women don’t usually care all that much about the NFL draft and men are not interested in the cute dress that Kate Middleton just wore. Save those conversations for your friends.
Which is to say – have your own friends, and do your own thing. During working years, you did this very thing, actually, so there’s no reason it has to change in retirement. Men, go to the baseball game with a buddy, and women, take that knitting class. You can also find activities you both love, like cards, and play with a group of friends, which keeps you together, but around other people.
It’s Two, Not You
Now, just because you’re running off to the zoo with your best friend doesn’t mean everything is all about you. Make sure both of you are on the same page about how your days are scheduled, and what life looks like in general. In other words, if he wants to do dinner in tonight, and she wants to go to a party, there needs to be a compromise, and it might not be what you want to hear. Yes, you worked hard for years, and while you deserve to do the things you love, even if that’s frankly nothing at all, but it’s still a two-person situation. It’s life, not a vacation.
Watch Your Intake
As we age, we still want to look good for our spouse. That means watching weight gain. Many recent retirees gain as much as 15 pounds, just like a college freshman. It’s the new freedom, the lack of schedule, and the unrealized good intension to work out. This one’s important not just for vanity, but for your health. Your body’s wearing down, so you need to keep it a well-oiled machine. That means eating healthy food, no snacking, and creating a meal schedule with your spouse. This also helps you work with that social calendar you’re loading up! Keep good sleep patterns and make sure you go for walks, and you’ll keep the pounds up and the marriage sound.