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How to make your marriage stronger after retirement

COUPLE
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It’s a new stage of life for a couple and it can be your best one yet!

To describe the experience of a retired couple is to depict a whole variety of situations. Depending on circumstances, the closeness the couple already enjoys, and their individual aspirations, this period of adaptation can go more or less smoothly. Some hold great expectations concerning this new period in their lives: the revival of their love life, few time constraints, lots of freedom and opportunity.

Many others view the arrival of this new stage with great apprehension, however. People who used to hold high professional positions fear boredom, loss of social standing, and the degradation of their image in a society where individuals are often identified with their profession. 

This anxiety can also be for their personal life. How will you now deal with being with your spouse 24-7? In such cases, every quirk of the other person, and the painful silences that descend when there’s nothing left to say, can quickly turn into torture. Fears of old age, sickness, and death also contribute to this general perception of being stifled, because whether we like it or not, this is the last phase of our life. So, what is the best possible way to live it out?

Finding new activities

First, envisage how to reorganize your life together, to really start it over on new terms. Retirement in particular requires that you seriously consider whether you should stay where you are or move elsewhere. One of you might wish to go live in the country for more peace and natural beauty, while the other may prefer to remain in the city close to children, friends, and family. It’s important to find a compromise.    

It’s also good to start your retirement with the intention to enjoy these years. It’s an opportunity to finally become your true self, to realize unfulfilled dreams such as playing music, gardening, traveling, going to concerts, volunteering, exercising. It’s a time to finally do things that you enjoy! This isn’t about killing time, but about living out your life to its fullest. It’s a great time to put your professional skills and experience in service of your community.  

Enjoying the time together

Retirement is a time when you can swing the doors of your house wide open for your children and grandchildren, and enjoy these family moments. But you also need to savor your life as a couple. You can rediscover your spouse as there is so much more to a person than what we think we know!

But keep in mind that while it is important for couples to finally enjoy some of the same activities, doing everything together is not an obligation. There is also the need for independence and it up to each couple to find the right amount of time spent away from each other, to take a breather from their life together, to alternate the moments they spent together and apart.

The time to improve your spiritual life

There is no such thing as an “ideal retirement.” There can be sickness, financial constraints, and many other issues that were not part of what we imagined. But this is the time to start learning how to be truly grateful for our lives, and to begin to detach before we must let go of everything and enter eternal life. Retirement is the time to bolster your spiritual life. As St. John Paul II said:

“Brothers and sisters of older generations, you are a treasure for the Church; you are a blessing for the world. And in you we see that the meaning of life cannot merely consist in earning and spending money, that each action should develop something deep inside us and something eternal in all temporal reality.”

Denis Sonet

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