November is like a Retirement Marriage. This probably sounds weird, but unseasonably warm weather this year prompts me think of what I miss in the Fall season. Though I often complain (bitterly) about being cold, New England’s typically crisp air this time of the year provides comfort. It brings thoughts of settling in with familiar surroundings and reasons to enjoy our home. For me, November prompts pleasant thoughts of family as we begin to prepare for the Holiday Season. The heat comes on, we light a fire and we sense a different kind of contentment from summer. Most of all, normal Novembers make me feel that there is a comfortable rhythm to the world.
A good retirement marriage also has its rhythm. Yes, when you or your life partner first retired it probably seemed as if there was no rhyme or reason to this life stage. You may have felt, as my husband and I did, that chaos had entered your lives. Routines and schedules were thrown to the wind. The “rules of engagement” and expectations changed with more time together. Still a sense of comfort seeps into retirement marriage when we give it time and make necessary adjustments.
Just as we give up our shorts and bathing suits, we can learn to give up old routines as we delve into retirement marriage. Recently, I gave a workshop on Finding Humor in Retirement. During the discussion one couple mentioned that the most important aspect off their retirement marriage is valuing one another. What an inspiring thought!
Sharing life with a person we value becomes easier and more comfortable. When we value someone we love, we strive to do nothing to harm that relationship. Valuing someone makes it easier to overlook his or her faults and grow deeper in the relationship. These sentiments enable us to create a new rhythm in the relationship and a comfortable retirement marriage.
We’ve often heard that we make our own happiness. Valuing our partner is a perfect way to strengthen that happiness. Identify what you value in your life partner and how it makes you feel about retired life? Armed with those sentiments, the dirt he brought in from the garage or having to wait 15 minutes while she finishes a conversation becomes less significant. It helps you turn your thoughts to what really matters.
What’s important to you in your retirement marriage? How do you and your partner create joy in your relationship? Your comments below could help many retirees create a stronger, more loving relationship.
Do you belong to a church or organization that wants to help its members find greater joy and meaning in retirement? Perhpas, you’d like to suggest they sponsor a workshop that for helping retirees find retirement joy.