Marriage Problems After Retirement (And How to Fix Them)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for full details.

As you enter retirement, you might expect a worry-free life filled with relaxation and leisure.

But retired life with your spouse may not be all it’s cracked up to be, putting strain on your relationship with your spouse due to:

  • Unexpected challenges this new phase of life can bring
  • Altered daily routines
  • Shifts in responsibilities
  • Financial stressors

In this article, we will discuss common marriage problems that arise after retirement and offer valuable tips to help you and your partner maintain a healthy and happy bond in your golden years.

Before you keep reading: If your goal is to enjoy your marriage in your retirement years but you’re worried you don’t have what it takes to stay strong together, we highly recommend not waiting until the bad outweighs the good in your marriage.

Find a new way to relate to each other now and learn how to focus on the “we” in your relationship like marriage coach Dr. Lee Baucom teaches in his best-selling guide, Save The Marriage.

Click the link above now, or keep reading to learn all about marriage problems after retirement, and how to fix them.

Retirement and the Gray Divorce Rate

This is sobering news for the recently retired:

You might not realize it, but the gray divorce rate has reached 36% for Americans, with an increasing divorce rate among people aged 65 and older.

For those who don’t know, “gray divorce” refers to couples who decide to split up after age 50.

As you can maybe imagine, the adjustment to retirement can bring about unforeseen tension or conflict in your marital life.

Which is why it’s essential to be aware of these potential problems and prepare for the changes that retirement can bring.

Read Next: How to Save Your Marriage

Common Marriage Problems After Retirement

Retirement is a significant life change that presents some common challenges to married couples.

The transition from your working life to retirement might complicate your marriage in various ways.

Chief among these challenges may be:

  • Adjustment to new routines: When both of you or one partner retires, daily routines and tasks may be turned upside down. This could cause friction as you both try to find a new normal.
  • Financial strain: Retirement often means adjusting to a fixed income, which can cause disagreement over finances and budgeting in your relationship.
  • Increased time together: While it might sound like a positive thing to spend time with your spouse, adjusting to seeing one other more regularly than you ever did before can lead to some level of clashing and tension in your marriage.
  • Rediscovering your relationship: Put simply, with new freedom of time and energy often comes a perspective shift. This could be regarding your personal goals, how you want to spend your golden years and even how you feel about your spouse. Often, this period involves redefining the ties that bind you.

By being mindful of the potential marriage problems you might face after retirement and proactively addressing them, you can help your relationship thrive during this new phase of life.

If you want to start solving your marriage problems right away, we recommend dedicating yourself to using the techniques in Dr. Lee Baucom’s Save The Marriage Program

Because, like marriage, solving marriage problems takes commitment.

How to Adjust to Retirement and Overcome Challenges

Communication and Assumptions

During this transition into retirement, it’s important for you and your spouse to maintain open lines of communication.

As you both adjust to this new phase in life, misunderstandings and assumptions can lead to conflicts.

Make a conscious effort to discuss your own feelings, expectations, and plans for the future so you’re on the same page.

Be patient with each other, listen actively, and avoid interrupting or jumping to conclusions.

Remember, this period of change is an opportunity for growth in your relationship.

Here are some more helpful tips for nurturing a happy marriage with positive communication techniques:

  • Set aside regular time for meaningful conversations
  • Be open to discussing your fears and concerns
  • Talk about your expectations for retirement
  • Plan activities and goals to work on together

Personal Space

Retirement often means spending time together more than you could do before.

Though this can be a wonderful opportunity to bond and enjoy shared interests, it’s also important to maintain a healthy balance.

Both personal space and the individual activities are crucial for a successful marriage during retirement.

This allows you and your spouse the chance to pursue hobbies, meet new friends, and maintain a sense of independence while living in the same house.

To be sure, you’ll want to:

  • Encourage each other in pursuing personal interests
  • Create a schedule to ensure each person has their own time
  • Develop a support network of friends and family members
  • Be supportive of each other’s pursuits and achievements

Everyday Life

As you well know, your everyday life will inevitably experience some changes post-retirement.

Adjusting may involve reevaluating your roles and responsibilities in the household.

With more time on your hands, consider splitting chores and other duties fairly to avoid resentment or tension.

Come back and review and revise your roles, as needed, to ensure a harmonious and supportive environment.

In addition, apply these tips to your everyday life and routines:

  • Be flexible and open to change
  • Communicate any concerns or frustrations in a respectful manner
  • Have a positive attitude and embrace this new phase together

Embrace these steps together, and you can not only survive but thrive in this new chapter of your lives.

Finances and Wealth

By taking the following steps, you can successfully handle financial and unemployment challenges in your retirement years, promoting harmony and resilience in your marriage.

Financial Planning

Managing money is often a challenge when both partners retire. This can especially become a challenge after early retirement.

Suddenly, you’re both on a fixed income, managing shared expenses while making your wealth last.

Naturally, this can cause a rise in disagreements about money management and make things feel more tense than usual.

To help maintain a healthy marriage, make sure to create a clear financial plan and discuss your shared financial goals.

This may include budgeting, aligning your retirement plans, and understanding each other’s expectations about spending and saving.

Consider using the following tips to manage money in retirement:

  • Be transparent: Share your financial information and establish open lines of communication regarding your finances.
  • Set mutual goals: Determine your short-term and long-term financial priorities as a couple.
  • Define roles: Divide financial tasks and responsibilities according to each partner’s strengths and preferences.

Unemployment Issues

Adjusting to unemployment after ceasing full-time work can be challenging for you and your partner.

Among the many ways in which retirement may impact your marriage is both partners potentially facing a loss of identity from the employment status change.

This transition may lead to increased tension or disagreements within your relationship.

Here are a few tips for navigating unemployment-related issues in your marriage:

  • Stay active: Engage in hobbies, volunteer work, or part-time employment to maintain a sense of purpose and structure in your daily life.
  • Build your own interests: Give each other space to pursue individual passions and forge new friendships outside of your marriage.
  • Communicate openly: Discuss your concerns and adjustments related to unemployment with your partner to foster understanding and mutual support.

Health Issues and Well-Being

Maintaining your physical, mental, and emotional health during your retirement years is vital to preventing marriage problems.

Let’s talk about navigating health and well-being issues in retirement.

Physical Health

When you retire, your daily routine changes and this could impact your physical health.

Quite possibly, you may find that you’re less active, or engaging in less productive activities than before.

To maintain good physical health in your marriage, it’s essential to create a balanced lifestyle that involves staying active, eating well, and getting regular check-ups.

Here are some ideas to consider for physical well-being:

  • Engage in physical activities together: walking, swimming, or yoga
  • Establish a workout schedule to encourage consistency
  • Share meal-preparation responsibilities, focusing on nutritious choices

Mental and Emotional Health

The challenges you face post-retirement can take a toll on your energy and mental health, leading to general feelings of unhappiness.

Focusing on each other’s mental and emotional health is crucial during this transition.

Communication is key; openly discussing your feelings with your partner can help nurture your relationship during this time.

Here are some tips for maintaining mental and emotional well-being:

  • Discuss your expectations for retirement
  • Share your feelings, both positive and negative, with one another
  • Continue nurturing your passions by participating in shared hobbies or exploring new interests

Rekindling Love and Passion

Although retirement can be a challenging time for marriages, it doesn’t have to be only that.

To rediscover the love and passion you once had, make an effort to reconnect with your spouse.

Start by focusing on the traits that attracted you to them in the first place and reminding yourself of the reasons you chose to spend your lives together.

Engage in activities both of you enjoy, and try surprising your spouse with a small gift, such as their favorite latte or flowers—this can be an excellent way to show thoughtfulness and nurture loving feelings and affection in your marriage.

As you dedicate time and energy to falling in love with your spouse again, practice patience.

It’s natural to experience emotional fluctuations during the transition into retirement, so allowing space for these changes will help your relationship flourish.

Remember, too, that rekindling love and passion in your marriage requires dedication and the willingness to explore various approaches.

Embrace this new chapter in your lives and work on strengthening your bond, knowing that it’s never too late to reignite the spark that once brought you together.

Building a New Vision Together

Creating a Team Mentality

As you both enter retirement, it’s essential to build a strong foundation together by creating a team mentality.

This mindset will help you face the challenges that come with this new phase of life.

Start by discussing your hopes, dreams, and fears for the future openly and honestly. Listen to each other’s perspectives and offer support in achieving shared goals.

Keep in mind that you’re in this together, and with effective communication and collaboration, you can strengthen your bond and successfully navigate retirement as a team.

Exploring New Skills and Hobbies

Retirement is the perfect opportunity for you and your partner to explore new skills and hobbies.

With more free time on your hands, you can finally pursue interests that you didn’t have the time or resources for in the past.

Be adventurous and try out activities together, such as cooking classes, dance lessons, or even volunteer work.

These experiences can not only enhance your own well-being but also bring new momentum to your marriage.

Additionally, consider seeking opportunities for personal growth, like joining a meditation group or trying out some journaling exercises.

Exploring new skills and interests can help you redefine your shared vision and create a stronger, more fulfilling marriage in retirement.

Relationship with Adult Children and Family Dynamics

After retirement, you may find that your relationship with your adult children changes.

This can be due to various factors such as lifestyle adjustments, altered family dynamics, and shifting priorities.

However, in your or your spouse’s efforts to maintain healthy personal relationships with your kids as they grow older, there could be some friction unintentionally created between you and your spouse.

To limit this, try:

  • Making sure you agree on how you will offer help and assistance to your adult children, whether financially or through child care for your grandchildren
  • Drawing healthy boundaries in your relationship with your children as to not overextend yourselves and protect your mental and emotional space
  • Spend quality time with family members to strengthen bonds
  • Encourage activities that involve multiple generations, such as family vacations, holiday dinners, or game nights

Baby boomers may face unique challenges when it comes to relating to adult children and grandchildren.

It’s vital to stay connected and open-minded to bridge these gaps and create a strong, supportive family dynamic post-retirement.


What are the symptoms of retired husband syndrome?

Retired husband syndrome may manifest as a variety of emotional and behavioral changes in both partners.

Some common symptoms include irritability, mood swings, lethargy, and a tendency to criticize or find faults in the daily routine.

It’s essential to be aware of these changes and address them through effective communication or seek professional help if necessary.

Is retirement hard on marriage?

Retirement can be a challenging time for married couples, as both partners adjust to new roles, routines, and expectations.

It can lead to brand new marital issues and, in some cases, even increase the possibility for divorce.

The key to overcoming these challenges is maintaining open communication and finding ways to maintain happiness and satisfaction in the relationship.

How can I make my marriage happy after retirement?

To ensure a happy marriage after retirement:

  • Maintain your individual interests and activities, while also engaging in shared hobbies and experiences.
  • Establish a fair and agreed-upon understanding of household tasks and responsibilities.
  • Prioritize kindness and respect for one another.
  • Communicate, especially when faced with challenges or conflicts.

In addition, you may consider couples therapy to help adjust to the transition and develop healthy communication habits.

What are the emotional changes after retirement?

Retirement often results in several emotional changes:

  • Loss of identity or purpose, particularly if work was a significant part of your life.
  • Feelings of isolation or loneliness as work-related social networks are reduced.
  • Increased dependency on your spouse, as you spend more time together.

Understanding the sudden change in emotions can help you and your spouse better cope with the transition.

How much time do retired couples spend together?

Retired couples typically spend more time together than they did during their working years, which can sometimes lead to conflicts or feelings of being overwhelmed.

It’s crucial to strike a balance between time spent together and allowing each other personal space.

Pursuing individual interests or hobbies can provide a healthy outlet and help maintain a sense of individuality.

Husband retired and does nothing

If your husband seems to have lost motivation and is doing nothing after retirement, encourage him to stay active by:

  • Exploring new hobbies or interests
  • Volunteering or getting involved in community activities
  • Rekindling old friendships and forging new social connections
  • Participating in regular exercise or physical activities

Remember to be patient and supportive, as this period of adjustment can be challenging for both partners.

If you want to make your marriage unbreakable, start changing how you relate to each other now with a program like Dr. Lee Baucom’s Save The Marriage.

This program is meant for couples who:

  • Want to save their marriage but don’t know where to start
  • Aren’t sure marriage counseling is for them
  • Want to change their relationship dynamics and end negative cycles
  • Have only one spouse who wants to change the marriage while the other spouse is not at invested

Click here to start changing your marriage today.

Marlene Davis is an experienced blogger with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Her dream is to help improve people's lives and relationships through sharing of practical knowledge and evidence-based practices.