Communicting in retirement makes for a great ski vacation.

A skier’s haven

Are You Communicating in Retirement?

Having trouble communicating in retirement? It could be the way you or your spouse are listening to one another. It could also be the way your partner believes you are listening. Truly, that sounds confusing, but please hear me out since I have seen great benefit in coming to this realization.

First Some Background

Along with two other couples, my husband and I had the astounding experience of skiing in Austria.  The vast expanse and beauty of the snow covered Alps offered a scene I never would have thought possible.

This winter wonderland, however, provided one drawback I had not considered. I have long known that I am directionally challenged and would be permanently lost without a GPS. My companions’ ability to identify mountain peaks and lifts that would take us higher and higher left me in awe.  Although exhilarated in the joy of skiing, I realized how easily I could get lost among all this white stuff. My defense became listening to my husband Art and following his directions—something he might say was a rarity. 

Communicating in retirement often presents several styles

On the positive side, Art picked trails he could see were within my range of skiing ability and that would take us to even more beautiful vistas. However, this is when I realized how differently I listen to what he believes he is saying. 

Prime example: When choosing a destination, he pointed to a trail and said go left at the split—which I obediently did. Eventually I saw that continuing to go left, would have me in the unfortunate situation of hiking up hill on downhill skis. It was then that I realized how literally I listen, especially to directions. Art, on the other hand, had seen the trail diversion on the map and assumed I would make a wise decision to veer right at the appropriate point. My wise decision became waiting for the next instruction!

Later that day, I attempted to confirm another direction he suggested “I go left down there, ”I said in an effort to confirm that I had heard him  correctly. He replied, “right.” Puzzled, I said, “you just said left. Why are you saying right now?” “Because it’s right,” he replied, then realized that it might have been more effective to have said correct. 

How does this relate to communicating in retirement?

Why do these situations matter beyond the fact that we had a good laugh over potential calamities? My theory is far from a scientific explanation of any difficulties couples may face when communicating in retirement. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered that, because retired couples generally spend more time together, it’s possible to create troublesome communication habits.  If you feel as if your partner isn’t listening or misinterprets what you say, it might be time to evaluate your joint communication skills. At the very least, you could have a good laugh over some linguistic misunderstandings. 

How do you feel about communicating in retirement? 

Let’s give one another some good laughs. Won’t you share your miscommunication stories?