Most of our friends are at the age where their kids have moved out and couples are by themselves. Most couples are handling it well and some not so well. We have been “just the two of us” for some time now. We live in Santa Barbara, CA and just sold our business, which we founded and ran together. However, just recently we sold the business and truly retired. We now have the luxury of more travel, a passion we jointly share. We arrived here in Wisconsin in early July and plan on leaving in late October. That is four months living in a 850 square foot “cabin” where we see each other every day. We took a trip to Austria and the Czech Republic for three weeks with son James, which broke things up; but we were still together and saw each other every day.
I think that there are not a lot of couples who could spend the time together that we do and have their relationship survive. Some of our success is due to basic compatibility, but not all. We work at it too. We thought it might be illuminating to share how we do it.
First of all, we share the same viewpoints on almost everything. For instance we are relatively aligned when it comes to politics, religion, and money. We went into our marriage 45 years ago knowing we had common perspectives regarding politics, religion and money. In my and Laura’s opinion, if you don’t have agreement on these basic elements, you are going to have trouble in a marriage.
We share a love for the same things. We like doing things together. We love to hike, play tennis, and play golf (Jim probably more than Laura on the golf thing.) We love to cook, explore, visit new places. We also have our own separate interests. Laura is into art: painting and photography. I love to make things in my workshop, putter around the house fixing things, and do stuff on the computer.
We also feel comfortable with silence. It is not awkward nor do we feel obliged to always carry on a conversation. We can sit in the car and drive 40 or 50 miles without saying a word to each other. When you are together all day, sometimes you have just said all there is to say, and we’re OK with that.
If you are under the impression that we never argue, you would be wrong. I don’t think a day goes by without some disagreement occurring. I would like to think that when we disagree mostly we do it respectfully and try to explain our point of view logically. Not always though. Sometimes we raise our voices and yell at each other. Sometimes we agree to disagree and let it go.
I think many of our arguments stem from the difference in our personalities. Laura, by nature is very organized. She insists on everything being clean, neat and orderly. I’m less so. For example, right now we have logs from two cut-down trees scattered in our yard. I know this drives Laura crazy, she wants them picked up, split and stacked. I want this done also, but I refuse to do it when the weather is hot and buggy. Now it is getting cooler, I am running out of excuses and will probably begin doing the work today.
Just a short story to wrap this post. Early this morning I went up to the garage to bring the truck down to load up some of the junk wood to take to the town dump. I started the truck, thought gloves, I need my working gloves. Opened the truck door and went to get the gloves, came back to find my truck slipped out of gear and had backed out of the garage stopped only by the driver’s side door smashing into the garage door. Had to tell Laura I destroyed the truck door and did considerable damage to the garage door. Well, right now she’s not talking to me and it’s not because she has nothing to say.
I’d like to keeping writing on this topic from time to time. Hope it’s OK with all of you.