“I married you for better or worse, but not for lunch,” Jody read in an article about retirement planning, and she could relate! This is what partners often feel after the “new normal” of retirement sets in. Jody found that her retirement honeymoon was over. Now, she and her husband, John, were often at odds with one another. It wasn’t enough to plan and have a healthy nest egg. Jody and her husband John needed to plan on setting the stage for how their relationship would be as a retired couple. Some couples don’t need help at all. Many do.
As a couple, Jody and John had overlooked this milestone in their relationship. It’s not uncommon. Just like preparing for marriage, a home, and children, post-retirement relationship planning is essential and necessary. “While you may view retirement as long-anticipated emancipation from the work world, it is also a period of considerable change and adjustment,” writes Dave Hughes, founder of the Retire Fabulously website. “If you are married, some of the most profound changes will take place within the context of your relationship with your spouse.”
Jody and John met with a Retirement Transition Coach, who explained that relationship dynamics often change when one or both people retire. To keep “like and love alive” after the office door closes, they needed to exchange ideas and visions about life as a retired couple.
Their coach took them through a series of scenarios related to how they would plan their time: both together and apart, daily schedules, activities, household chores, travel plans, family time, and possibly their parents needing assistance. The list goes on, but Jody and John left with a framework for communicating expectations regarding what will be necessary to each other, both individually and as a couple, in this bold new phase of their lives. Because we are all living longer, we need to make sure we are in sync with our partner during all phases of life. The key? Communicate and plan together before closing the office door for the last time and enjoy the “new normal”! Just like preparing for marriage, a home, and children, post-retirement relationship planning is essential and necessary.
About Sue Mintz