How to Survive: A Semi-Retired Husband


By: Honey Good

The Rabbi asked the group of women: “Is the word retirement a positive or negative expression? Please raise your hands for positive and then for negative.”

It seemed I had no control over my hand as it flew up into the air when he called out the word negative! I actually wanted to raise both hands ‘high in the sky!’ My first thought was my ‘semi- retired husband.’ My second thought, almost simultaneously, was how I was affected by his new role.

I don’t believe in ‘packing it in’ at any age. As, a matter of fact, one of my life wishes is to go back in time because there is so much out there to learn, do and see. I never tire of what I call ‘the sizzle of life’. Life continues to dazzle me and, believe me darlings, I am so fortunate to have already seen and done more than most! I find living life, even with my OMG’s, utterly intoxicating!

So when my businessman husband decided to leave the business world I was not a happy camper. What could I to do to keep my macho, type A, personality plus guy, who I adore, ‘in the hunt of life?’ Coupled with another thought. How was I to keep my sanity in tact with this husband of mine who loves to be involved in everything I do and in everything I say? And I mean everything, darlings? And now he will have even more time to infiltrate my busy life!  

My solution for both of our survival boiled down to common sense darlings. I decided it was up to me to take the bull by the horns and involve my husband in projects! Why? If he were engrossed in enterprising venues he would stay vital, happy, busy and leave me in peace! A busy husband makes a happy wife!!!

My formula is not fool foolproof but it solved a lot of my problems. My theory: A wife must be tuned in to what is going on. She should keep her eyes and ears open for opportunities that she knows her husband will enjoy and then…give him a ‘coy’ little nudge to get involved!

For example: We live in a large condominium building. A flyer was put under our door for new board members. I knew my husband would have thrown the paper away so I stepped up to the plate and said, “You might consider running for the board! You would be an asset to with your expertise in real estate and marketing!” Of course I said it with so much enthusiasm that my wheaton terrier, Orchid’s ears perked up!

Now I waited for the push back, darlings! Remember and don’t get discouraged… there is always pushback. I promise!

“We travel so much; I would miss meetings; I would want to be a responsible member. It is not possible,” said my retired husband.

Now it is do or die, darlings!! You cannot give up!!!!! Be armed with your retort!!!

So, I continue: “Well I know a board member who travels as much as we do. He phones in for the monthly meeting when he is out of town. The building has a conference line so he is put on speakerphone and participates. You can do the same. And,I would love you to do it. You will be such an asset to the board.”

My husband was elected to the board. He is happy. I am happier!!!

When our husband’s retire they no longer bring home the bacon so they lose their desire to be ‘in the hunt.’ That is why I don’t think men should retire. So…

Now it is up to us to manage the transition into the next passage of our married lives.

You can now step in and help the little darling continue to take pleasure in all life has to offer. You know what he enjoys. He just needs you, his loving wife, to coyly nudge him; not nag him. Joining a gym, taking classes, going back to college to get a degree, cards with the guys, planning trips, going on boards, a new endeavor in the business world and on and on.

I hope this helps you. As for me: to tell you the truth, my husband is very busy but it is not the same as when I kissed him goodbye each morning as he left for the office and I greeted him each night with a kiss upon his arrival home. I have learned to deal with retirement. I have accepted it as a new passage in our lives and I am grateful (most of the time) to have a husband who asks me:

“What did you do today?

“Whom did you talk to today?

“Can you make me a bite of lunch today?” 

Do something GOOD today: Make a plan to help your guy get involved in a new endeavor!

Photography by Hallie Duesenberg

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