How Retirement Affects Marriage


Manage episode 247865821 series 1315615
By Caleb & Verlynda Simonyi-Gindele and Verlynda Simonyi-Gindele. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Transitioning from full-time employment into retirement is naturally going to impact both your life and your marriage. Retirement comes with lots of changes, and there are ups and downs to the process. Whether you have parents going through this, you’re coming up to retirement, or you have recently retired, there’s lots to learn about how to handle the changes that come with moving into retirement since it’s a brand-new stage of life. Research shows that there are both positives and negatives that can come as a result of retirement. Certainly, in North American culture retirement is idealized and celebrated as something to look forward to at the end of your career, but many couples also experience some disappointment when it turns out to be not as great as they had hoped. Marital Satisfaction for Couples at Different Life Stages One study looked at positive interactions between couples of different ages. The study showed that younger couples had the most positive interactions: good healthy, positive day to day moments. Middle age couples (40’s) had the least. And older couples (about 65 and over…the retirement group) had an intermediate amount of positive interactions. But the study also found that negative attitudes decreased with age. It’s normal for couples to go through tough stages of becoming parents, establishing their careers, getting mortgages paid off: this requires adjustments across the lifespan. It is reasonable to expect that going into retirement is going to require some adjustments as well.[1] According to studies from around the turn of the century and current research, the divorce rate rises within the older population compared to the divorce rate of the younger generation. This raises an important question: if retirement is pitched as such a wonderful thing, why are people struggling in their most important relationships? Retirement is a Life Transition Transitioning into retirement comes with a lot of adjustments. Going from working to not working is just one of the changes that come with retirement. Many couples find themselves facing changes in where they live, changes in their routines with their spouse, and even changes in their identity. A retiring therapist might ask himself questions such as “Am I still a therapist if I am not doing therapy? What am I now? What is my purpose? What is our purpose?”[2] When retiring from any profession, one or both spouses may find themselves facing a shift in their sense of identity as they move into a new stage of life. There are many other questions that come up for couples in retirement: How will you and your spouse decide what to do with your time? What is your retirement plan in terms of your savings: can you live without employment income for 10, 20, or 30 or more years? In addition to these questions, the couple have to adjust to changes on the relational side of things. Couples find that they’re spending a lot more time together, more than they have for many, many years. Most retired couples are not raising children, caring for parents, or heading off to work for the bulk of the day. Suddenly, whatever your marriage is like, it is all right there in front of you and it has to be faced.[3] If your marriage has been strong and healthy — you’ll see the effects of that. And that’s great! For those couples, marital satisfaction will increase because they have even more time to spend together. But if your marriage really hasn’t been great for 20 years but you’ve made it through by focusing on raising and launching your kids, or concentrating on your career or business, and now you’re past those things and you’re just left with a “not great” marriage: that’s a challenging place to be in. Those escape mechanisms of work or other things are gone and not available any longer, and there’s a lot to figure out.[4] Retirement Factors that Affect Marriage One factor that impacts couples when they retire is whether or not they retire tog...

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