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By Steve and Bridget Patton | Image By Getty Images/AzmanL/E+ | May 2022

She Says: I Want to Travel Now That We’re Retired

We have always planned to travel and not stay in one place

 

He says: We need to be closer to the grandchildren

Things are different now, we need to be with our grandchildren as they grow up.


 

Entering into retirement can be just as fun – and just as stressful – as entering into marriage. After years of a regular, predictable lifestyle, suddenly, in a single day, everything is different. On Retirement Day 1, a couple suddenly confronts loads of free time, and loads of it with one another. As much as they may have looked forward to this moment, it’s not uncommon for it to be accompanied by adjustment challenges.

To find a new, mutually satisfying life plan, start with a mostly forward-looking conversation. In other words, even if you two had always planned to travel in retirement, that doesn’t absolutely mean you both have to want it now, or at least not to the same degree. As the new realities of retirement unfold, be prepared for new feelings and perspectives to emerge, and adjust accordingly. And be ready to tweak your plan again and again as time goes on.

Next, be honest about what you each really “need” versus what you “want.” Both are important, but they’re vastly different. For example, to maintain that you “need” to move closer to your grandchildren probably isn’t actually true – they and you would likely do just fine if you didn’t move. But even worse, to characterize moving as a need could come across as a non-negotiable, which would burden your efforts to negotiate an agreement.

Focus more on your shared interests and less on entrenched positions. For example, consider phrasing such as: “I want us to ‘see our children’s children’ (Ps 128:6) more often,” and “I truly feel as though travel will broaden our horizons and bring us closer together.”

Whatever your respective deepest interests may be, the more you each strive to better understand, celebrate and accommodate those of the other, the more likely you will find solutions that satisfy and enrich both of you.

Here’s one idea: How about bringing your grandchildren along with you on some of your travels? Their parents would probably love you for it!


Steve and Bridget Patton hold master’s degrees in theology and counseling and serve as family life ministers in the Diocese of Sacramento.