Think again if you feel that you won’t need to make changes in retirement. The adjustments may be terrific or you may find a few struggles in this new togetherness. Either way, the right attitude and mutual agreements help balance those changes. Perhaps a few suggestions from retirees I have interviewed over the years will be helpful for you.
Honest conversation about making changes in retirement
How would you respond if your retired husband tried to tell you how to tie your shoes? It astounded me when my friend told me this. I wondered if It surprised more that he thought he she needed that help or that she could laugh about it. It probably turned out OK because she responded to the challenge immediately with humor.
“Wait,” she said. “You aren’t going to tell me how to tie my shoes––are you?”
Caught in the act, he had to admit that had been his intent, and that she probably knew how to tie them. Such quick interaction saved the day as they went off on their planned bike ride free of any hidden aggravation.
Retirement brings couples together for longer periods of time each day. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize the need to be open about our feelings in this new life style. It can also be equally as hard to be sensitive to how our actions affect our spouse. The shoe tying event is one example of how relationships may need to be managed in retirement.
Humor in Retirement
I laughed when a friend said, “His retirement went fine once he learned to duct tape his mouth.” Although I could not imagine him saying anything wrong, his wife apparently didn’t agree. Imagine the threat of duct tape on a beard. OUCH! That alone should prompt the struggling retiree to look inward for other things to do instead of critiquing a spouse’s actions. Perhaps, if your partner forgets that you have been successfully doing daily tasks for years, you can apply humor as your remedy
Other thoughts on changes in retirement.
Give your partner a hug for no reason. It could make you both laugh––and even dance. It helps release whatever unspoken tension exists, and will make you feel vibrant. What’s there to lose?
Plan a surprise for your partner. It need not be expensive or elaborate. Just make it say “you’re special to me”.
Find a way to laugh when you are disappointed or annoyed. Clearly each relationship is different, but you know what makes you and your partner laugh. Make that happen when in a situation where laughter instead of anger will help.
If you are an “experienced:” retiree, please add you advice below for new life partners in retirement. We all have ideas that would benefit others. How have you adjusted as life partners in retirement?