At sixteen I received a dozen long stem roses. It was Valentine’s Day of 1973. While sitting in class, a voice announced over the intercom to pack up my belongings and go to the office to check out. My mom had called and wanted me to go home for the rest of the day.
Although I didn’t know the reason, I had no foreboding thoughts at all. I flashed a satisfied smile to my friends, left the classroom, and headed home.
Mom looked excited when I entered the house. She pointed to the table and a long ivory-colored box with a big scarlet ribbon. At the moment I opened that box, I felt like a princess in a fairytale.
A florist had delivered elegantly wrapped roses just for me. They were the most beautiful red roses I had ever seen in my life. The card simply said, “Love, David”.
In May of 1973, Rebel Retiree and I tied the knot.
Over 46 years later, 5 children and 17 grandchildren so far, we’ve had one hell of an exciting ride.
As I enter the 4th stage of life with Rebel Retiree, I’ve accumulated a wealth of wisdom on how to survive your husband’s retirement.
Embrace change to survive your husband’s retirement.
It’s true. Your husband’s retirement can be an intrusion into your domain, especially if you’ve worked from home all of your life. It can drive you nuts having him around 24/7!
For years, you’ve run the household according to your schedule. Your routine has worked well for years – time for work, chores, errands, cooking and so on.
Suddenly, your husband expects you to be available at his convenience – for conversation, a walk, or an outing he wants to enjoy with you.
He seems incapable of occupying himself.
At the risk of sounding Marabel Morgenish, instead of demanding your life remain the same, embrace change.
This doesn’t mean that you do all of the changing. Your husband should respect your needs as well.
A win-win is the best solution.
You don’t want to get to the end of your life and regret that you placed more value on clean laundry than a walk along the beach at sunset with your husband.
Space for a happy retirement.
More often than not, Rebel Retiree and I spend time together. We grocery shop, enjoy outdoor recreation, have long conversations, and so on. This is how we’ve been since we were newlyweds.
I remember making weekly shopping trips for work snacks, when a clerk announced, “Here come the lovebirds”. Hearing that made me feel special.
Being together builds a strong, loving bond, but it’s also important to respect each other’s space.
And I need more of it than Rebel Retiree. His love language is quality time and it took a lot of talking about our expectations for each other before we reached a comfortable balance.
I appreciate his understanding when I go off to work in my office while he expands his knowledge watching videos in another room.
Patience and communication are important in surviving your husband’s retirement.
Your husband is your best friend.
Most men look forward to ending their careers and spending time with their wives.
However, sometimes wives are kinder to their friends than they are to their husbands.
It’s disappointing for men to retire and discover they’ve become a nuisance to their wives. They feel hurt and often bored.
It’s important to remember that you are friends and shared dreams as a young couple. Together, you’ve been through thick and thin.
Retirement is an ideal time to strengthen your relationship.
- Have a date night and find an activity that you both enjoy
- Discuss what each of you values for retirement
- Be a good listener
- Make time for your husband
- Involve yourself with something that your husband enjoys even if you don’t fully appreciate it.
Try to rekindle whatever brought you together in the first place.
Rest assured you are not alone if you dread being with your husband 24 hours a day.
Realistically, a husband can get on your nerves – especially, if they have unrealistic expectations of what retirement should be like.
As simplistic as this may sound, it’s essential to embrace change, be flexible, and encourage communication. Retirement should be a harmonious experience for both husband and wife.
Respect each other’s space, and remember that you started out as best friends.
If you choose to follow these suggestions, I think you’ll find you’ll have a happy retirement. You will thrive, not simply survive!
Edited for clarity 2/22/20
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