You may be able to remember that year when the last of your kids moved out. That first year that you are “empty nesters” had a lot of adjustments. But one byproduct of suddenly having the house empty for a lot of couples is what has been called the real second honeymoon. Because parents no longer have to care for their children as actively and they have the big empty house all to themselves, the opportunity is there for some real sizzle to return to the marriage.
Now fast forward to the current year and month and you are settling into your life as senior citizens and retirement. Now, just as way back then, there are some new adjustments to be gotten used to. But guess what? All of a sudden you too may see a dramatic drop off in responsibilities and worries. Perhaps you finally stepped out of the working world and you can sleep late and take naps and go to bed early if you want to. If you sold your home and moved into a senior apartment or assisted living center, all the worries about home upkeep go away too.
So this may also be a time for a real “third honeymoon” to use this new lifestyle to rediscover each other and see your marriage become fresh and new even if you have been married for decades. So how do you go about keeping your marriage fresh in retirement?
A first good step is to make it a priority. When you were first dating, being romantic and discovering each other was your reason for living. That dedication to romance often disappears as the cares of career, keeping a home, finances and raising kids push everything else off of the priority list.
Now is the time for some real romance. Forgot how to do it? Well Hollywood is more than happy to give you some suggestions. One great pastime to do with your spouse that is low cost and not stressful is to just start renting great Hollywood romantic comedies to watch together. As you watch the stars of Tinsel Town put on a display of how romantic people act and behave, you can get lots of ideas on how to keep your own marriage fresh with romantic outings and adventures.
A lot of what makes romance exciting is surprise. You may not think there is anything to surprise your spouse with but that doesn’t mean you cannot surprise him or her from time to time with a romantic and fun gift or unexpected romantic “hello”. Suppose he comes home from his volunteer work to find you have the entire apartment decked out in candles and bows and you are dressed very pretty and you want to make the evening all about him and all about you as a couple. Unless he is made of stone, he will love that surprise.
Or suppose she comes home from her bible study to find the bed covered in rose pedals, a bottle wine in ice on the table and a dozen romantic cards standing open with a sweet message from her guy. Even if it’s the middle of the afternoon, that kind of surprise is going to get her motor running.
Romance is about fun and laughter and becoming the kids you once were all over again. And in retirement, you have the time to focus on each other and become the top priority for each other. It will be a refreshing change of pace and it will bring out the kid in you to be silly, romantic and maybe even a little sexy with the one you vowed to share your life with. And if you get a little frisky, that’s ok too. You are allowed. You’re of age.