A few years back before my husband retired I read Robert Gates memoirs. For those that don’t remember he was the Secretary of Defense under both George W Bush and President Obama.
Anyway towards the end of the book he talks about how once he retired his wife made him build a little house on the back of the property and leave every morning to “go to work” at the office – so it didn’t upset her schedule.
I loved the idea – but don’t have the acreage necessary to do something like that!
Because after 30 years of sending my husband out the door at 7:00 am to his teaching job it’s a bit of an interruption to have him home at strange hours – meaning all the time!
I found I had to figure out how to deal with the interruption and sudden lack of privacy that I had, and I’m sure he’s had to try to figure out how to deal with the sudden errands and “honey do’s” from me.
OK to be honest this one didn’t go really smoothly for me at first. We were out on a walk and in frustration I just told him he was driving me crazy and that I needed my space!
I told him I really wanted to create a blog about what it’s like at my age and he was cramping my style. I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t happy with the way I approached this.
But it was a start – we set up some guidelines of times when we are not to interrupt the other person.
At first I thought I’d need him to be completely out of the house, but that hasn’t been the case – I just need interruption free time.
Take the Time
A HUGE benefit to being retired and communication is there is more time to “finish the conversation.” When we were working and raising our family we had a few minutes between other stressors – not so now.
We can take the time necessary for clarification and understanding. Ya, the conversation above only took about 4 hours of “finishing the conversation.” But in the end we respected each other more. I LOVE this part.
Respect each other’s Boundaries
If you have agreed to certain things, keep to those agreements. Each one needs to trust that they have the freedom and space they need to still create the life they would like, whether it starting a new business, trying a new recipe, shopping with friends or golfing.
Keep your word when you say you will do it. If you tell your spouse you will respect their boundaries show them by how you act.
This is another thing I’ve had to relearn after 33 years of marriage – how to just enjoy being with him again. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been one of the lucky ones that has always enjoyed having my guy around.
In fact our entire life we’ve had our “decompression time” of talking every evening for 1-2 hours about what is going on in our life. But while that was important and helped us each deal with the stress in our lives it wasn’t “fun” like “fun”.
It’s time to start creating something together. You have another minimum 30 years if not more of figuring out how to have fun together. Start exploring this and figure out what your new hobbies are.
My husband likes to golf – me not so much, but I love going with him and laughing. We play best ball and I use a driver for all my shots – for those that don’t know they are the ones with the bigger heads – I use them for the simple reason of if I don’t I miss the ball more then I hit it.
And funny thing – we use my ball a good 30-50% of the time. Go figure.
Go back to dating each other and figure out what you do and don’t like to do, make a game of it. It may surprise you.
On this one there is so much to say but not quiet knowing the right words.
Be grateful for how he has provided and protected your family through the important “family” years.
Be grateful that you still have a better half to share the second half of your life with.
Be grateful that we can change. That we can start each day with an attitude of “IF I want my outside world to change, then I must change my inside world.” And start working on making ourselves better for this other person.
Just be grateful and let them know how grateful you are.