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4 Simple Ways Couples Can Embrace Grace in Retirement

  • Janet Thompson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
4 Simple Ways Couples Can Embrace Grace in Retirement

Focused on my grocery list and trying to decide which bag of organic coconut chips to buy, I heard behind me...

“Olga!”

“What my love?”

“Try this juice they’re sampling.” The husband reached out the little paper cup to his wife.

“No thank you,” she said turning around just in time to see her husband spill the juice all over the grocery store aisle.

“Oops” the wife calmly said, as she continued her shopping and her husband went to find someone to mop up the mess in the nuts and chips aisle.

As Olga pushed her grocery cart past me, I surprised her by saying, “I was so impressed at how you handled that. I don’t know many women, including myself, who respond to our husbands with ‘What my love?’ And you didn’t get the least bit upset when he spilled the juice?! I wish I always reacted to my husband that way.”

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Christopher Robbins

Grace keeps a sense of humor.

Grace keeps a sense of humor.

Olga smiled and then wisely said, “God’s grace. I can’t do it on my own either, but I read my Bible and pray to God every morning for his grace to show to my husband and others.”

We continued chatting as I told her I have a quiet time every morning too. Still, I’m not always that patient with my husband. I told her he was retired and we live over an hour away from town.

“Ah, you have to do everything together, I see. My husband just retired,” she said with a knowing smile.

Soon we were talking about what churches we attended, and I told her I was a Christian author and speaker. She asked about the books I’ve written. I told her she might enjoy reading Dear God, He’s Home!: A Woman’s Guide to Your Stay-at-Home ManWhen I told her it had humor, she said, “Oh, yes! You have to have that!”

I gave her a business card and she said she would be emailing me.

Definitely, one of those God moments you know wasn’t just by chance.

As I continued shopping and reflecting on our conversation, I realized my response to my hubby is usually “What?” Maybe even said in exasperation because like Olga’s husband, he’s interrupting my tenuous concentration while I shop.

I’m not sure my hubby would know what to do if I started answering, “What my love,” but I could try something like, “What’s up?” Or maybe even better, “How can I help you?”

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/bowdenimages

Grace shops in ways that suit you both.

Grace shops in ways that suit you both.

After Dave retired and we moved to a rural mountain community with few amenities and downsized to one car, it only made sense that we would go down the hill to “town” together.

But like many wives, I was used to shopping by myself, especially clothes shopping. I like to experience shopping. Like many husbands, Dave’s a hunter/gatherer who wants to know how many shopping bags I’ll need and how long it’s going to take!

I don’t think I ever noticed before how many senior couples shop together during the day. Some like Olga and her husband are speaking kindly to each other, but other couples are snarling and grumpy.

Dave and I did come up with a solution that works for us. He has his own shopping cart and takes part of the grocery list. That way we’re done faster, and he’s not hovering behind me while I read labels or compare prices or asking, “Are you sure we really need that?”

We do end up going home with more than was on my list, since he always includes extras like ice cream bars and chocolate covered almonds, but it works for us and maybe it will work for both of you too.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Wavebreakmedia

Grace reviews and redistributes household duties.

Grace reviews and redistributes household duties.

One morning while marinating lamb chops for dinner, Dave was sitting in his recliner reading, still in his PJs at 11:00 a.m. I was hurrying to get back to work on a book deadline, when it hit me: few men wake up in the morning wondering: What should we have for dinner?

When hubby is working all day, if the wife isn’t also working outside the home, it seems a fair division of efforts—she plans and makes dinner, he goes to work to pay for it. Now that he’s home, it’s time to discuss a redistribution of household tasks before the wife becomes resentful. Otherwise, when he asks, “What’s for dinner?” he won’t understand why he gets a cold shoulder.

Usually, the wife needs to open the discussion on teamwork.

As I marinated those lamb chops, I thought I’ll have him barbeque them and put some veggies and bread on the grill. I won’t have to cook and have the mess to clean up. That’s teamwork.

I love my friend Anita’s advice to her daughters: “Never figure out how to use the BBQ. That’s the only freedom you’ll ever have from cooking.” I’ve taken that advice, 

After retirement, it’s imperative to pool efforts and work together as the team you became on your wedding day. Be creative and courteous with your suggestions and be sure to leave time for fun.

Sit down and talk about how to divide the household chores. Wives, he might not do everything the way you do it, and husbands, be patient as your wife gives up some of her domain.

Dave doesn’t cook, so I do the cooking, planning, and meal shopping. But he now sets the table, empties the dishwasher, does the dishes, takes out the trash, occasionally stirs a pot on the stove, and is great at barbequing—especially at Thanksgiving when Dave BBQs the turkey—what a blessing for us both!

His real forte is helping me in my ministry with his computer and technical skills to make business cards, create PowerPoints and more—he’s really good at it, and he enjoys these creative ventures. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/JonRiley

Grace prays together.

Grace prays together.

Submit every day to the Lord, and like Olga, pray for patience and grace. Pray together about your schedule and your plans and embrace each day as an opportunity to strengthen your relationships and communication with each other.

Even if you have similar personalities, God created men and women to be completely different creatures in communication styles and thought processes—and get this, wives—neither one is right or wrong. You don’t really want your husband to be exactly like you, do you? That would be terribly boring!

God wired us differently on purpose—not to frustrate us—but to help us complete each other. I love this quote from Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby in their book How to Get Your Husband to Listen to You: “Being wired differently from you doesn’t make your husband weird. It’s what makes him a man.”

Dave and I committed to putting Jesus Christ at the center of our marriage. When our differences are showing and we find ourselves at opposite poles on a topic, the only way we reach an agreement is to stop, pray, and ask Jesus to show us His way.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21


Some excerpts from Dear God, He’s Home!: A Woman’s Guide to Your Stay-at-Home Man used by permission from Leafwood Publishers

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books.Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness, which is the subtitle of her latest release, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness.

Everyday Brave: Living Courageously as a Woman of Faith is due out September, 2019. She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?Dear God They Say It’s Cancer;Dear God, He’s Home!;Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry ResourcesJanet isthe founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com.

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