Is your relationship with your spouse in good shape? Can it survive your retirement and that of your spouse? Many people are retiring and they are suddenly finding that they have lots of time on their hands. Time with their spouse which they may have not had in the past. Busy schedules, children to raise etc. all take time and suddenly that is all gone. Now you have all of this time available. You may get to spend it with your spouse you thought you knew really well. Do you need a relationship playbook for couples in retirement?
Everyone has to figure out what is right for them. It is also different for each person. There can be a lot of emotion. Everything from distress at leaving friends at work to spending time with your spouse who is also dealing with the same issues. Financial affairs can add stress to the relationship. Different objectives can also be an issue. What should couples focus on as the enter their retirement years?
While you may think you know your spouse really well after all of the years together it is still important to communicate well. There are a lot of things changing in both of your lives. Making assumptions about what the other is thinking is just asking for trouble. Take the time to discuss everything even if it is to just confirm what you believe your spouse is thinking.
Set objectives for yourself and with your spouse together. Discuss them and adjust them as needed based on input from your spouse. Joint objectives can be powerful especially when you are both committed. Your objectives can also impact your financial affairs significantly which brings us to the next section.
Create a budget together and ensure that you are both committed and supportive. Can you accommodate each others objectives or do you need to adjust your plans? Downsizing, travel, going back to work are just a few of the assumptions that should be discussed. What about home renovations and maintenance issues that may have to be dealt with?
Cultivate new hobbies, pick up on old hobbies, build new friendships together and separately. These all provide something to discuss with your spouse at the end of the day. It also fills your time as well which can be stressing for one of both of you.
Many people look forward to spending more time with their spouse. Others are worried because they may not have that much in common other than the kids. Some will schedule time during the day separately from nine to five so that they can meet up later in the day and discuss their days activities. Figure out what works for each other and discuss it with your spouse. Be prepared to make changes and adjustments as time goes on.
The challenges can be different for men and women for many reasons. From the type of job they had to how much time they spent at home looking after the kids. Many couples find that if they divide up the house hold chores more evenly, pursuing new hobbies and activities etc. can make a difference.
It could take a few months or even as long as a year to adjust to your new lifestyle. Be prepared to be patient. Focus on communication and making changes to adapt to being retired especially where your spouse comes in. Remember that both of you are adjusting to having more time off work and spending more time with each other. Your spouse could need more time to adjust than you do.