Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Five Things Couples Will Wish They'd Done Before Retiring

I'll never forget a wonderful pastor who Jackie and I learned so much from. He led a vibrant congregation as a teacher and leader for many years, looking forward as he said publicly to traveling a lot more with his wife after they retired around his sixty-fifth birthday. All seemed to be working according to plan as he bid farewell to his church except for one thing.

He died within a year.

All those plans to travel, spend time with each other and enjoy life were over, at least for the two of them. Sadly, many couples also put off until later opportunities, dreams and special hopes that didn't have to wait.

Let me suggest five things to try now that you would can include now in your marriage,and family life that you'll be glad you did even if you do live long beyond your retirement plans.

Travel together. Yes, like our pastor friend, travel plans don't always happen as we get older. Of course his death was the major reason he missed out but there are other inhibitors. Less money, health and other family responsibilities are three that often keep our big plans from happening in our later years.

Save more.  We live in a spend it when you have it culture. We're all about having the new, latest thing now. But someday you're going to wish you had saved some of what you spent on long-gone thrills and new technological advances to have extra resources that you can use for those days when it's time to work less and enjoy other things more.

Have more spontaneous fun. When is the last time you and your spouse or family did something unplanned just because it made you happy?  So much of family life today is scheduled, centered around the sports, school calendar or rehearsal schedule with little time to just enjoy one another. Take regular time to merely BE, to do things that make you laugh, that have no great purpose other than to re-fill your tank and take some of the stress out of life.

Share a bigger mission or purpose together. Over the years our hearts have been turned to loving, serving and helping the Russian church. Jackie and I have traveled there together, had Russian friends in our home and shared our resources. Your purpose can be local or far away, but there is something uniting and fulfilling about a bigger goal that you and your family embrace together. Don't wait.

Get to know your adult children as adults. So often we move far away (as we did for a while) and don't have the same amount of time to spend with them. If that's the case make sure you invest in ways to  help you get near them as much as you can. The computer makes connecting easier from a distance. And when you're together, make some memories.  Of course your children and their family responsibilities will place parameters on how much time you have but don't just sit back and hope you can get together. Suggest options, take time alone with grandkids if you can and plan some special things now and then.

You see, from someone who's there right now, you're going to face a day when you'll be asking this question: Did we do the things we wanted to do in life while we could still do them?  I'm thankful that we can say we did a lot of them. Thankfully, we seem to still have time and good health to do more of them. But I'm SO glad we didn't wait.

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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