Bob started his blog Satisfying Retirementin June 2010. He gives us tons of helpful advice, and whether you’re a retirement “veteran,” have newly joined the ranks of the “no longer working,” or are still a few years away but have questions, you’re in for a treat today.
One of the biggest adjustments most of us will have to make after retiring is being around another person, all day, everyday. Whether we are the one who has stopped working, or it is our spouse, it is hard to ignore the “extra” person in the room. Marriage manuals tell you that together time is great. They are right. After all those years of leaving the house each day it feels really special to be together.
However, There is a flip side. All that together time can make for a rocky journey if not handled properly. Routines and responsibilities that have been dealt with a certain way are suddenly upended. Here are 4 keys to help make your married life after retirement satisfying and fulfilling.
Spend time on shared interests. Retirement gives you and the other person a chance to spend more time doing something you both enjoy. Notice I used the word chance. This won’t happen just because you are together. It will only happen if the two of you strive to make it happen.
Here is something many of us forget about shared interests: you may have a shared interest you don’t know about yet. Try this: each of you agrees to do something the other person enjoys for a set period of time. If it doesn’t work, drop it and try something else. You just might discover something you love and don’t know how you got along without it.
Develop complementary interests. This doesn’t mean telling the other person how good he or she looks today, though that isn’t a bad idea. I’m referring to combining interests that compliment each other. For example, I like to take photographs and have a decent eye for composition. But, I do not have the patience to edit each photo for color balance, sharpness, or perspective. Luckily for us my wife loves that kind of work and is very good at it. She likes taking photos too, but secretly I think it is just so she can edit them. Our skills compliment each other and allow us to complete a project that neither one of us could tackle as well individually.
Understand the need for private time and space. Each of us must have a period when we are alone. We must be able to simply “be” without having to respond or comment or decide. We must have time to be involved with interests and activities that we don’t share with another. It is important to make it clear you are not avoiding the other person because he or she irritates you. Both of you must discuss boundaries of duties and time so each protects what is important to the other person.
Above all communication is crucial. Effective communication is hard work. It involves a type of listening called reflective listening. This is when you briefly summarize what you believe the other person has said and then respond. Reflective listening is a sign of respect because you are not formulating your answer while he or she is speaking. Trust me. Without strong communication the other three keys won’t matter.
Bob has put together a 61-page e-book, which you can download for FREE.
I have it and am sharing it with my husband. It’s great to plan ahead.