Q: My wife and I had been looking forward to retirement for many years, but it hasn't been as good for our relationship as we expected. We've been getting into a lot of fights, even though we don't have a whole lot of outside stressors, like family drama or financial woes.
We're clashing on a lot of minor issues and just don't seem to enjoy spending time together.
We're still the same people who've been married for 40 years, and I don't know why our relationship is faltering in the home stretch.
How can we adjust to retirement together?
A: Marriage problems are very common with any couple experiencing major lifestyle changes. Retirement is no exception.
Now that you have more time to spend together and no set routine, you need to rethink the basics.
Every relationship requires maintenance, and you're due for a checkup.
The best thing you can do is avoid the minor arguments. Even if they're small individually, they add up over time. It's easy for a relationship to deteriorate slowly without noticing the warning signs.
One surprisingly common issue is spending too much time together. Find other activities to fill your days, and have some independence from each other.
Maintain your connections with the outside world. As social creatures, we're best when we maintain a variety of social bonds.