How Can I Spice Up Life With My Newly-Retired Husband?

Filed under: Relationships, Expert Advice: Home Base

Dear AdviceMama,

Since he retired, my husband plays a lot of golf, and thinks our social life should consist of taking his mother out for dinner once a week. Any suggestions?

Signed,
Ready for Romance


Dear Ready,

Thanks for your question. In just a few words, you've beautifully summed up what many women -- and men -- long for as their marriages mature; a rekindling of connection, romance and a desire to make the "Retirement" chapter of their lives one that includes creating new, shared discoveries.

On the one hand, your husband may be living out his dream. Playing golf and having few demands on his time may be what he has fantasized about for years, as he put in long hours and "paid his dues" to support his family. You can't fault him for wanting to live the life he imagined.

At the same time, these are also your golden years, and now that your hubby is around more, it's perfectly fair for you to want to have some new experiences with him!

I am going to encourage you to lovingly speak your mind -- or more accurately, your heart. Instead of approaching your husband about how bored and unhappy you are, start by sharing the things you have done together that you enjoy.

Then, let him know what you imagined your retired life together would look like, focusing on two or three specific activities you'd love to do together. Avoid rambling; try to get to the bottom line quickly: "Sweetheart, I love that we've been talking walks in the evening. I really enjoy that time with you. I've been wondering if you'd be willing to try a couple of other new activities, like maybe taking bridge lessons together, or joining a travel club. What do you think?"

The clearer you are about what you want, and the less your words are tinged with resentment and disappointment, the greater your chances are of getting him to step out of his comfort zone so that he wants to offer you more.

In addition, you may also consider taking a stab at golf, since it's clearly something he's passionate about. The goal here is for each of you to come toward the other, exploring current interests you have while making room for things neither of you has yet explored.

By understanding that you each have valid dreams, and emphasizing the positive reasons that you want to forge new paths with your husband -- rather than complaining about how he's been disappointing you -- you may awaken something in him that gets excited about creating new adventures with his gal.

Yours in parenting support,
AdviceMama

AdviceMama, Susan Stiffelman, is a licensed and practicing psychotherapist and marriage and family therapist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in developmental psychology and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her book, Parenting Without Power Struggles, is available on Amazon. Sign up to get Susan's free parenting newsletter.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.