Retirement often requires an adjustment for couples
By Danielle Lambrecht
Relationships continually go through changes. One major change that often requires serious adjustments is the retirement of either you or your partner.
If you plan to retire, there’s a lot of “practical” preparation work to be discussed with your spouse, such as: 1) Can you afford to retire? 2) When do you retire? 3) What’s your financial Status? and 4) What about government pensions?
Though most couples discuss these practicalities, at least in broad strokes, what I’ve seen as a clinical counsellor is that often what’s not discussed is the “emotional” side of retirement.
A 2005 study showed that the retiree’s and his/her partner’s adjustments are each based on different psychological determinants. The retiree’s determinants are finances, health, social factors and leisure. The partner’s, on the other hand, are finances, worker’s health and marital conflict. What I find very interesting about these findings is that marital conflict made it much harder for the partner to adjust to retirement than the worker. This, to me, is a clear indication of the importance of counselling as part of preparation for retirement, especially if marital conflict exists prior to retirement.
Just as important as the practical decisions surrounding retirement are the other issues that could affect marital quality after retirement. Careful consideration and counselling, will help you both enjoy retirement to its fullest.
Danielle Lambrecht is a clinical counsellor specializing in couples counselling, mental health and addictions: www.daniellelambrecht.ca.