Retirement is a lifestyle people dream about. It is also a time of adjustment.

When we retire is influenced by many factors, and is not only by our own choice.

Sometimes, the time at which one member of a couple retires is different than the other. This can be a source of joy or jealousy, new beginnings or resentment and bickering.

Factors that could influence these feelings include:

• If the retirement was a choice.
• Acceptance that retirement is an earned time of life.
• How the retiree enjoys unstructured time.
• How much the retiree enjoys being finished with their work and work relationships.
• The acceptance level of the person retired to take on more household responsibility.
• How the one not retiring enjoys their work.
• How flexible the couple is to make a new marital deal.
• The couple’s attitude toward their retirement years.
• The attitude of the retiree toward the partner’s work.
• The way the couple handles finances.

Good marriages are built on making deals about responsibilities, keeping the deals, renegotiating the deals when events change and a couple’s ability to assist their partner when one gets overloaded. Feeling overwhelmed could be due to outside influences like extra work demands, health issues, family pressures and more.

The working spouse needs to accept their work is leading to the quality of life they will have, in the form of income, when they retire.

Problems must be identified to be solved. Too often people want a quick fix to major life changes. The better prepared for the change, the more flexible the attitudes and the willingness to work on keeping the relationship satisfactory for both partners, the higher the chance of a smooth transition into new roles and ways of relating as a couple.

Author's Bio: 

Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed., is a registered marriage and family therapist in Burlington, ON, Canada. She is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and author of Questing Marilyn: In Search of my Holy Grail, Personal Growth Through Travel.