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Carl and Marie have just retired after long and successful careers. But they are discovering that they have very different ideas about what retirement means.

We’re retired – it’s time to chuck it in and travel.
Carl says: We’ve finally retired and it’s time to have the adventures we didn’t have time for when we were working full-time. I want to see the country – go to New England in the fall, Arizona in the winter, maybe Alaska. I think we should sell the house, buy a really nice motor home and hit the road. But Marie doesn’t want to do a darn thing! I won’t sit home for the rest of my life – I’m going on the road with or without her.

I want to spend retirement at home with grandkids visiting
Marie says: I don’t know what has come over Carl. We never talked about doing anything like this. Our home has always been here: Our children and grandchildren all live within 25 miles of where we are. I don’t want to hit the road; I envisioned retirement as a time to spend with the grandkids, really get into some gardening. I don’t want Carl to leave, but I’m not a road warrior.

What should they do?: Jo Anne and I have had this discussion several times over the last few years as we plan for our retirement years. We are fortunate – not that we have found a solution yet, but that we started our discussion long before now. Of course, that doesn’t help Carl and Marie as they are facing the crisis of conflicting wants and desires head on. We all know that decisions made in the heat of the conflict aren’t always the best decisions, but at least the conflict can end and life can begin again. Jo Anne and I know quite a few couples who have, or are currently facing, a similar unpleasant situation.
    Carl and Marie need to modify their desires slightly, and they both can achieve their goals without driving a wedge into a relationship that has survived these many years. There really is a win-win solution here, but it takes the same flexibility and consideration that Carl and Marie have obviously experienced – or else they would not still be together.
    The key is communication. Carl could suggest a short trip (give Marie several weeks to prepare) or let Marie pick the destination. Then – together – do the research and really make this a memorable trip. You could even take a couple of grandchildren along.
    Jo Anne’s comment to Marie is, “You go, girl!” Traveling with your spouse can be a lot of fun and it can be a great time to have uninterrupted talks. If Carl and Marie treat this traveling time like a special date, where you don’t worry about the time, great memories can be created. Do something special each day for each other to let your beloved know you are happy to be in his or her presence. This is a new time in your life, enjoy the time together while you still can, because many other couples are denied this type of opportunity after retirement.
    As a married person, your focus should still be centered on your relationship with each other and not on your children or grandchildren. Yes, they are fun to be around and are often enjoyable, but the most important persons in your life should be your spouse and God. When we focus on the good of our spouses, we are doing what God has intended us to do – serving him through loving and caring for each other.

– Tom and Jo Anne Fogle

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