Marital Harmony in RetirementFeb 19th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Dr Jerry Elrod's Senior Moments Blog
A wonderful Sampler hangs on one of our walls. It is picture of senior citizens in their rocking chairs, he is smoking his pipe, she is knitting. The embroidered caption reads: “Retirement, Half as Much Money, Twice as Much Husband.”
Retirees often complain that the worst part of retirement is having so much time with your spouse. Previous experience had allowed for separation, time apart, independent experiences. Retirement, for some, seems to change all that. Although when we lived in a retirement community, I knew couples who didn’t see each other all day. They found individual distractions that offered them time apart.
The secret to Martial Harmony surrounds a variety of choices and intentional decisions. If one or another of the partnership becomes co-dependent on the other too soon, in retirement, the relationship will likely undergo some serious tension.
Look at these suggestions:
*Choose intentional times to be together. Perhaps, you enjoy breakfast and maybe a walk together each morning. During this time, share your plans for the day. Indicate when you will be back together.
*Make plans to be together to run errands, shop, go to appointments. This is a particularly supportive way to share time and to be helpful to the other.
*If you do enjoy doing some things together, identify what they are and do them.
*Make dates. Choose times to go out together, alone or with friends. Make such occasions special.
*Identify projects you can do together.
*Be sure to include time to keep up with what each other is doing. Show interest in each other’s activities.
*If one spouse is continuing to work, even part time, show support for that choice.
*Keep in touch during the day. Cell phones are helpful to be sure all is well with the other. Don’t be a pest. Just check in.
*Don’t forget to express affection frequently. Growing out of that practice will spoil a good thing.
*Identify things you like to do together. Do them, but don’t exclude your own times and needs to be with others.
Allow yourself some quiet time, together. Harmony for senior citizens does not mean being in each other’s face 24/7. It does mean identifying authentic ways to share life in retirement.