Recently I’ve received comments from women who tell me I make retirement sound too easy––that the changes in their relationship have been dramatic and quite painful since their husbands retired. The intent of this blog is not to make light of those painful changes but to start the conversation on making a marriage work after retirement. While I confess to stressing that a positive attitude can help make things better, there are times when this simply isn’t enough.
For the next few weeks I’d like to raise issues around anger and frustration that can surface when a husband retires. In the process, I’d like to ask you, faithful readers, to add your ideas, knowledge and suggestions to help the women with retired husbands who are struggling in this new relationship.
One reader recently wrote, “in the 2 years since his retirement my world has become a living hell!!! He has become a horrid monster…from his first disdainful words in the morning…to the constant all day yelling…he has become a tyrant…I often long for the day this monster will return my loving husband.”
This woman obviously has quite a challenge. How does one go from being a loving husband to being a monster? Anger may not be the only reason, but it could be a cause of some of this terrible behavior. In the book, Shift, Let Go of Fear and Get Your Life in Gear, Jeffrey Hull states, “the tendency to anger is often deep seated and, to manage it, we must first understand what the anger really is about and see where it comes from.”
Since the reader’s husband had been loving and kind before retirement, he probably is feeling some remorse about his current belligerence––at least I hope so. However, he may not know how to work himself out of it and may need some help. As his wife, she has a right to make him see that they are in this life together and that his unkindness is unjust and unfair. Helping him uncover the reason behind such misbehavior could help them discover some solutions as a couple.
If he’s angry because he’s no longer working it could be helpful for this couple to discuss what he misses about working––is it the loss of income; does he feel thrown into the trash heap, does he miss the responsibility or power that went with the job? He might also feel perplexed because he doesn’t know what to do with himself or because he now feels like a non-entity.
Women with retired husbands, what words of advice and support do you have for this wife? How would you help her feel again that she has the right to happiness and peace and that there are ways to accomplish that goal? Your comments and suggestions are needed.
Let’s get the conversation going by sharing this blog with others who might have some answers. Forward it to a friend or LIKE us on Facebook.