Everyone has their own thoughts on what being “happily married” means. For some, it’s a peaceable co-existence with minimal strife. For others, they focus on deepening their union, creating a richer and more dynamic loving relationship.
In retirement, the majority of couples find themselves spending more time together than ever before. While this can be a good thing, it can also strain even the healthiest of relationships.
This is a unique period in life which also introduces other stressors. These can include concern over finances, health issues and even what to do each day. Our post, the 7 most common marriage problems, explores these issues in greater detail.
Ideas to rekindle a marriage in retirement focuses on revitalizing the marriage and bringing back the spark. Some ideas cost little or nothing, whereas others can be pricey.
1. Compliment Your Partner
Everyone wants to feel a little bit special and appreciated. The best part, it doesn’t cost anything. However, it needs to be sincere and genuine.
For instance, if he shaved, showered and dressed up for the evening; why not express how dashing he looks?
2. A Hug a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
As corny as it sounds, a morning hug does wonders. As human beings, we all crave physical touch and a feeling of connection. Not only will your spouse feel better, so will you.
This same power of touch applies throughout the day. A gentle caress or holding hands reinforces good feelings and you care.
3. Show Interest in Your Significant Other
One of the most common failings is becoming complacent and taking each other for granted. Showing interest means asking questions, listening and paying attention to them.
Often, I’ll go out to the garage when Shannon is working there. I ask what he’s doing. I listen to what he has to say, he shows me what he’s doing and I’m respecting him by giving him the attention he deserves.
4. Surprise Him / Her with a Small Gift
Nothing compares with showing your thoughtfulness with a small gift. It’s an excellent way to rekindle a marriage in retirement.
This could be picking up their favorite latte, chocolate or flowers. Something they enjoy and lets them know you were thinking about them.
5. Leave an Affectionate Note
Another powerful way of showing how much you care is leaving an affectionate note. This could be as simple as writing a line or two and placing it where they’ll be sure to find it.
I’ve been known to put a sticky note on his monitor with “To my gorgeous husband”.
6. Physical / Emotional Intimacy Matters
I’m not talking about sex, rather, the importance of the physical / emotional connection. Knowing your partner finds you attractive and loves you unconditionally. This is reinforced through daily interactions.
For instance, when we watch TV, I love to snuggle up next to my husband. Sometimes he stretches out with his head on my lap. I love those moments and feel completely at peace.
7. Express Your Wants and Needs
Don’t expect your partner to be a mind reader. They’re not going to know all your wants and needs. This, also, goes for what you don’t want. If it’s something specific, let them know. They’ll appreciate the openness and sharing.
8. Get Together with Other Couples
To liven things up, getting together with another couple adds variety and fun. And, I don’t mean “swinging”. This could be an evening on the town or going on vacation.
There are different things you could do together. For example, we went to dinner theater with another couple and had a great time. Food was good, the production was fantastic and loads of laughs.
9. Take Pride in Your Appearance
After retiring, no longer do we need to get dressed up each day and go to work. Unfortunately, some individuals let their physical appearance slide.
Even though you’re a couple, you want your mate to feel proud they chose you and vice versa. So, pay a little attention to yourself and how you’re presenting yourself to the world.
10. Respect Personal Space
Everyone one needs their personal space, to unwind and recharge. If you’re together all the time, it’s easy to start getting on each other’s nerves. My husband likes to putter about in his workshop and usually comes in with some new idea.
I suppose his version of the “man cave”. Yet, I also appreciate some alone time to pursue my own interests. This works for us and keeps us from going “stir crazy”.
11. Shake Up Date Night
Ever since the invention of date night, couples plan an evening out of the house. What a great idea, but what do most folks do? Mostly, it’s going out for supper and catching a movie.
After a while, even that can become stale. Live on the wild side and try something new! Maybe an escape room adventure or go to a wine tasting.
12. Visit Local Attractions
Isn’t it ironic how it seems to take out-of-town visitors to rediscover local attractions? Your local museum, art gallery or other attraction could be the perfect day out.
This is chance to share some fun together and experience all your home town has to offer.
13. Splurge with a Spa Day
Another good way to rekindle a marriage in retirement is to go on a spa day. I’m not talking the whole nine yards with pedicures, however what about going for a couple’s massage?
Not only will it relax the both of you, your skin will feel amazing!
14. Take a Class Together
The number of classes out there is truly staggering. What would be fun to do together? This could range from an exercise class, a dance class or something creative such as a pottery class.
Choose something that interests or intrigues both of you. It’ll be a wonderful shared experience together.
15. Appreciate What They Do
Over time, a lot of people tend to forget the little niceties they did when they were dating. They should definitely be brought back.
Examples are holding the door open or saying thank you to them. Acknowledging what they did shows you appreciate who they are and what they do.
16. Take a Cruise
If you’ve never been on a cruise, prepared to be pampered. The dining is amazing, loads of entertainment and a new port to explore almost every day. Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit Alaska, cruising is a wonderful way to see it.
17. Book an All-Inclusive Resort
Not quite as luxurious as a cruise, however it’s still a great way to reconnect. All you have to worry about is getting there. After that, everything’s taken care of for you. You can spend your time relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.
18. Hot Air Balloon Ride
What a great way to see the world from high above! It’s exhilarating and romantic. Floating high above the trees and seeing the people below scurrying about like ants.
Sharing an experience like this gets all those good hormones flowing, making you feel fantastic.
19. Take a Road Trip
There nothing quite like the open road and making new memories. Our post, the best retirement road trips in the US, gives an overview of some of the most epic roadways. There’s lots of windshield time to chat and revitalize your marriage.
20. Visit a National Park
There are many beautiful national parks. If you’ve never been to one, go and explore together. Take in the beauty and sheer awe of nature. This could be a day trip, a weekend getaway or even longer.
21. A Cross Country Train Trip
Nowadays, most people fly to wherever they want. It’s all about expediency.
Slowing it down and taking a cross-country train trip gives you the time to unwind and see everything. The time spent click-clacking along can be used to recharge and strengthen your marriage.
22. Attend a Theater Production
This could be something new for you as a couple or something you haven’t done in a long time. Either way, attending a theater production gives you the opportunity to share your tastes in literature and culture.
Other venues could, also, extend to the ballet, opera or symphony.
23. Join a Pickleball League
Pickleball seems to be the latest craze for the older generation. It’s a team sport, fun and a great source of exercise. Check out your area for any community programs that might include Pickleball or other activities.
24. Go For a Daily Walk or Bike Ride
Slot in some time each day to go for a walk or bike ride. Explore your neighborhood or go to a walking trail. Not only is it good exercise, it’s a great way to share time together.
Pointing out things that are interesting and discussing whatever comes to mind.
25. Be an Active Listener
A very important way to rekindle a marriage in retirement is actively listen to your spouse. Avoid getting distracted, listen with the intent to understand and don’t interrupt. This shows respect and you’re paying attention.
Most of us are guilty of formulating a response before they’re even done speaking. Which, if you think about it, is disrespectful.
26. Nurture Your Friendship
Your spouse should be your best friend. After so many years together, many couples take each other for granted. I’ve always believed I would marry my best friend and, fortunately, I found him.
Friendship is the foundation love flourishes in. So, make sure to nourish the one with your spouse.
27. Maintain Outside Interests and Friendships
As important as it is to be friends, you also need outside friendships and interests. It's a great way to revitalize a marriage in retirement. You do your own thing for a few hours and then meet back up.
Now, you have something interesting to talk about. What you did or how the class went. It keeps things fresh and exciting.
28. Volunteer Together
Do you have a charity you both feel passionate about? Maybe you could volunteer together. There are so many worthy causes where you can make a difference. Volunteering feels good when you can see how it helps others out.
29. Accept Each Other For Who You Are
You married your spouse for a reason. So, don’t try to change or fix them. Accept each other for who you are. If there are quirks that are irritating, talk about them and find a compromise.
When there is acceptance in your relationship, you’re not looking for the newer improved model. You have a sense of wholeness, love and understanding.
30. Host a Family Get Together
Sometimes it seems we only get together with extended family for weddings or funerals. Hosting a family get together is a great way to reconnect.
Shannon planned a family barbecue a few years ago, reconnecting with long lost cousins. It was fun for both of us, planning the details and coordinating everything. It was great for him and I got to meet relatives I’d never met.
All in all, a great way to spend an afternoon and we got to learn a little more about each other.
31. Experience Virtual Games
In this day and age, virtual games have become the new craze. Smart glasses and wireless technology have created amazingly realistic experiences. Way better than the arcades we used to frequent back in the day.
And, a little friendly competition can certainly liven things up.
32. Check Out an Amusement Park
There’s nothing quite like the thrills and excitement of an amusement park. Maybe you’d taken the kids years ago. Or it could be where you had your first date.
This is your time to experience all the fun.
33. Renew Your Marriage Vows
Perhaps a big anniversary is coming up. Instead of just celebrating it, why not consider renewing your wedding vows? With so many long-term unions growing stale, re-committing shows how important your marriage is.
Closing Thoughts on Ideas to Rekindle a Marriage in Retirement
After decades in the workforce, even the most happily married couples will experience some bumps in the road.
Being together, sometimes 24/7, will be a major adjustment. Many couples have become complacent and will need to work at revitalizing things.
The old saying “love conquers all” is valid, however only to a point. Relationships require nurturing and care. Both partners need to make the effort as this will be an ongoing journey.
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