Ways To Bond With 2 Mont Old Baby After Work I Married You For Better Or Worse But Not For Lunch

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I Married You For Better Or Worse But Not For Lunch

It’s complicated enough to think about retirement for ourselves, but it’s even more difficult for couples to plan this transition. What defines your ideal retirement may not be the same for your spouse or partner. To have a successful retirement lifestyle, each person in the relationship needs to communicate, compromise and cooperate. This requires a lot of understanding and empathy for each other’s situation and acknowledgment of the fact that this major life change affects not only us individually, but also those around us.

How much togetherness is too much?

Often retirement brings together two people who previously had little interaction during the workday. Suddenly, workdays can change from time focused on individual schedules to 24/7 marathons of togetherness. And, as they say, there can be too much of a good thing!

More typically, it is the husband who retires from a structured 40-hour-a-week schedule, and without proper planning for life after retirement, he may turn to his wife to fill the void. Consider this from the wife’s perspective. She was independent during the work week, with her own schedule, perhaps for years or even decades. Suddenly, her husband is also home and there is uncertainty about how they will spend their time together. Her reaction may be one of resentment, as her long-established ability to schedule her own time has disappeared. The free time that one or both of them previously looked forward to is now compromised.

I like the saying, “I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch.” This may actually be the wife’s reaction when she feels that her established schedule is affected as her husband retires. And, receiving this type of negative response, the husband may continue to feel the loss of his established work life and that he is now only a participant in his wife’s world.

It’s human nature to want some space for ourselves and that doesn’t mean we love our spouse any less. It just means you have to find that healthy balance of time together and time apart. With proper retirement planning, these retirement “diseases” can be avoided and a couple can arrive at a mutually rewarding retirement lifestyle.

Why retirement planning is so important

A Cornell study conducted at this life stage revealed that married couples tend to experience significant conflict during the first several years after one or both spouses retire. Neither is ready for this major adjustment. Instead of enjoying a happy companionship, both may struggle to understand their new lifestyle and end up feeling lost. I have heard countless stories of retirees aimlessly searching for a new order in their lives; they’re reloading the dishwasher, moving furniture and trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do because they’ve lost their old job description. Meanwhile, their spouse tries to maintain a normal schedule while worrying about their retired spouse. The burden of this responsibility can be overwhelming.

The key is in connection

So how do you make sure you don’t end up like one of these lost, frustrated couples after retirement? The key is in being able to connect with each other.

I’ve always been a fan of Barbara Streisand. I like the lyrics in her song, People: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” Going through life with someone you love and trust is so much better than going through life alone, especially in the retirement stage.

Research shows that couples who reported that they were happily married were able to balance their alone time and time together in a healthy and constructive way. They respected each other’s need for privacy and space. While a spouse is working in their career, this time is built in. In retirement, it must be created by the couple. Be aware of how you currently use your time and who is responsible for planning your time. Try not to rely on your spouse to plan your social life and take equal responsibility for some of those activities. Make sure you develop your own activities now that you will enjoy separately as well as those you will enjoy together. What have you always wanted to do and never had time to do? Make a list of activities, hobbies and dreams and then start pursuing them.

If you are like most married couples, you have already successfully crossed various stages of your life together; dating, getting married, having children, pursuing careers, among others. Hopefully, with each transition, you found ways to learn more about each other and create a stronger bond that supported you. You have learned to be more attentive to each other, respectful of differences, and patient with each other. You have developed more independence and autonomy while protecting the bond you have. This next stage in life is just one more transition through which you can deepen that connection.

Remember the love

As couples step back and grow into the changes that are associated with this transition, they may discover renewed love and commitment.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. – Mignon McLaughlin.

Remember that Love is a verb. Loving your spouse requires much more from us than just feeling and emotion. It takes action. With Valentine’s Day this month, it’s easier for all of us to keep this in the forefront. But, we can sometimes lose it in times of challenge. In the transition to retirement, we need to keep our love strong and supportive in our relationship. It requires more words of appreciation and affirmation to be spoken, and more acts of love and kindness.

To know me is to love me. – Unknown

When two people are willing to be vulnerable, honest and open with each other, accepting the good along with the character flaws, you have achieved mature love and intimacy. Share your needs with each other during retirement. Compare what your ideal retirement looks like. Find new ways to spend time together, and respect each other’s need for time apart. And, above all, never forget love.

Love well…but eat lunch out!

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