Are you worried that too much contact with your significant other might breed contempt instead of contentment? Surprise. According to a 2013 survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, prospects of a happier marriage in retirement are high.

An article in After Fifty Living, states that 48 percent of respondents, age 50 plus, identified more fulfilling relationships after retirement. 45 percent also said it was more loving, and one third stated that the relationship with their partner was more fun then ever.

Are you worried that your relationship will be boring in retirement…or that life in general would be boring? Surprise again! 99 percent of these same respondents said that a life is anything but boring.

All of this sounds like good news for any one approaching or thinking about retirement. In my  workshops with soon-to-be retirees, I often meet people who are gravely concerned about what retirement life will be like…especially women who fear that it will be difficult having their partner at home 24/7. It seems that the above survey is good news.

There is no doubt about it that every person and every couple is different as is their relationship. However, one of the interesting things I have discovered in my many conversations with retirees is that those who realize that preparing for retirement means more than a good financial plan or picking a place to live. Although these are important considerations, planning how you will spend your time-– as a couple and individually –- is every bit––and possibly more––important to the quality of your retirement years.

Couples who developed strong interests or hobbies prior to retirement – together and separately – generally enjoy the freedom retirement brings more than those who have thought they would simply spend each day just relaxing. Having interests that matter to you, and that keep you inspired and feeling useful is a major contributor to one’s level of contentment, and energy.

An effective tool to achieve this level of contentment is a “bucket list.” While this might sound trite or old hat to some, the process of creating the list enables people to truly consider what is important to them, and it helps couples discover and reflect on what is important to each of you in a non-judgmental way.

There are no rules for creating a bucket list. However, I have learned a a number of questions that lead to a successful list for each person and will share them with you in the next blog on this site.

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