Ways for retired spouses to deal with different personality traits

IRON MOUNTAIN — Last week, we discussed how once retirement begins, you are with your spouse 24/7 and how effective communication about a variety of topics could ease the transition into so much time together. This week we will take a closer look at specific personality traits that may become more noticeable, and possibly more irritating, now that you are together more. And, I would argue that one of the most interesting personality traits to understand is the difference between being an introvert or an extrovert. For my husband and I, understanding — and appreciating — which of us was that made a tremendous difference in our expectations of each other.

It is important to clarify right off the bat that neither trait is better or worse than the other, nor should they be viewed as extreme opposites; most people fall somewhere on a sliding scale in between them. It is true that extroverts significantly outnumber introverts and, because of their very outgoing natures, extroverts tend to be more valued by society in general than introverts. Extroverts are easier to understand — because they will definitely tell you what you need to know — and are highly relatable, while introverts tend to be quiet and, consequently, harder to get to know. But, let there be no mistake — introverts are not shy, nor are they socially anxious people; they simply prefer quiet.

It is interesting to note that there are actually genetically determined, physiological reasons for these traits. Put as simply as possible, there is a network of neurons located in our brainstems that is responsible for determining how each of us responds to external stimuli and how much information our mind takes in while awake. The introvert has a very high arousal level, so seeks environments in which they can escape overstimulation. Extroverts have a low arousal level and can tolerate much more sensory input.

So, how does this affect the retired couple seeking recreation together? For example, I absolutely cannot tolerate loud, action-packed movies. I have tried to accompany my husband to the many Marvel comic book-based movies that he enjoys so much, but it was so overwhelming that I needed to take several bathroom breaks and a lengthy tour around the lobby to find some much needed quiet. And I managed to watch exactly one episode of “Game of Thrones” — after that, he watched the show in a different room. Together we enjoy movies that are much less violent and do not feature car chases and explosions; he now resists calling them “chick flicks,” and the urge to count females versus males in attendance at the theater disappeared after I objected to the habit. We try to see all of the Academy Award-nominated films each year, and really enjoy discussing them.

So, if you and your spouse are like my husband and I — where one of you is the introvert (me) and the other is the extrovert (him) — how do you fully enjoy your retirement together? Understand your differences, find ways to appreciate them, and approach your time together with a healthy dose of humor. After all, you have made it this far through all of the challenges of jobs and kids and building a life. Instead of letting the differences annoy you, appreciate how you have helped each other become less extreme — meet each other in the middle more often. Here are a few areas that deserve attention.

1. The need for quiet alone time is very necessary to the introvert, while the extrovert feels too isolated when home alone. Thankfully, my husband understands this and leaves me to myself when I am working in our home office. We accept the fact that we cannot work in the same room because I need library quiet in order to think, and he needs the radio on or music playing to keep his sanity. When he is upstairs working in the office, I take advantage of that time to spend on the deck, just listening to the wind in the trees with Mother Nature as my only companion.

2. We both love our friends and enjoy spending time with them. The difference is that my husband becomes energized in social situations that involve a room full of people. He circulates and talks with everyone he knows, easily introducing himself to those he has not yet met. And, as the event continues, his energy increases. I enjoy a close circle of friends. I meet for one-on-one lunches and greatly enjoy the interaction with my eight-member book club every month. If I accompany my husband to a large event, I will find the few people I know really well, sit myself down and spend a perfectly enjoyable evening with just a few folks. However, I wear down as he winds up. So, we have agreed that he drives to the event and I drive home, and I start giving him the “high sign” about 30 minutes before departure time.

3. Introverts are in their heads more often than speaking their minds. They are inward-turning and internally review their life experiences and events of the day, sorting things out and drawing conclusions that keep them learning. Always thinking, they embody the old expression “still waters run deep.” Extroverts think out loud; if it is in their heads, it is out their mouths. They love to talk, and are genuinely entertaining. I completely enjoy my husband’s gift of gab; it is what attracted me to him in the first place. But in retirement, I had to draw the line at mindless sound effects. We had finished breakfast one morning, and he was busy starting the dishes while I was trying to finish my word search. He knew he could not talk to me yet, but he absolutely needed to break the silence. So, he started to simply babble wordless sounds. I gave him my best over-the glasses “librarian look,” and he stopped immediately. I mean, seriously!? Then we both had a good laugh.

4. Because they are quiet, introverts too often are unfairly perceived as aloof, snobbish and hard to get to know. We aren’t. We simply enjoy meeting and getting to know people one at a time or after we have already determined we will have something in common. It is hard for introverts to make small talk because they value meaningful conversations with people they know well. Extroverts are highly sociable people and are perceived as approachable and friendly. They make friends easily and can “work a room” at a social event. Their motto is “the more, the merrier.” Actually, this difference works well for my husband and me. He is the ice breaker, and I have met some really nice people I would not have gotten to know on my own. But he knows when I am getting tired and lets me retreat to my comfort zone when I need to.

If this brief explanation has made you curious for more information, there is a wealth of it out there. The internet, of course, has a very good web site from which I gleaned the information for this column. Kendra Cherry wrote the articles on the web site www.verywellmind.com. If you enjoy a good book and really want to delve deeper into this topic, pick up a copy of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” written by Susan Cain. It is out in paperback now, so is very affordable. She not only delves deep into the introverted personality and how much value introverts bring to society, but she also explores the rise of the extrovert ideal throughout the 20th century; “Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.” Trust me, it is a real eye opener.

The human personality, of course, is more complex than a simple review of the introvert/extrovert perspective discussed this week. Next week we will take a look at the “Big Five” personality traits. The more we know about what makes each other “tick,” the easier and more enjoyable all that “retirement togetherness” will be.






Scenes and sounds, 11:30 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Sunday: Ring toss, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; brouhaha, 11 a.m.; library cart, 1:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts and gardening, 10:30 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.; evening visitor, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 10:30 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy,11 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; pokereno, 2:30 p.m.; cool treats, 3:30 p.m.; “Lawrence Welk,” 5 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking? 11 a.m.; Pictionary, 1:15 p.m.; sing along, 2:30 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; daily newspaper, 11 a.m.; oldies but goodies, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Iron County 

Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30 to 11 a.m.; Pictionary, 10 a.m.; afternoon matinee with popcorn, 2 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Memory books, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; resident council, 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Book Club, 10 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; musical movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social/puzzle time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; Garden Club, 1 p.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; name that word, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m..; travel film, 1 p.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; spelling bee, bball, 2 p.m.; activity council, 3 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Room-to-room bingo/how do you feel? 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.



Wet your whistle: 9:30 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Exercise: 10 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Movie: 10:45 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Popcorn Day: every Friday.

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; company’s coming room visits, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Who, what, where 10:15 am.; bingo, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Who am I? 10:15 a.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.; movie and manicure, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; ice cream social on the patio (weather permitting), 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Fourth of July parade, 9 a.m.; patriotic bingo, 2 p.m.

Friday: All about July, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; chips and chatter, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9:30 on Friday.

Sunday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; help your neighbor, 10:15 a.m.; bingo and root beer floats, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.; Christian fellowship, 5:30 p.m.

Monday: Joke time, 10:15 a.m.; nickel jokereno, 2 p.m.; Baptist service, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Yard Yahtzee, 10:15 a.m.: jokereno, 2 p.m.; bible stories, 3 p.m.; camp fire/music by Ray and Mindy, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Fourth of July trivia, 10:15 a.m.; sing along, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass and adoration, 10 a.m.; exercise, 10:15 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour with Denise S.., 2 p.m.

Saturday: “Family Feud,” 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; bingo, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Juice time, 10 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and Friday and Saturday.

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday.

Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.

Sunday: Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Music with Chris and Larry, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Golden Throats, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m. 

Thursday: Independence Day.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m. p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Morning news, 6 a.m. daily.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; yard games, 2 p.m.; reminisce, 6 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; bowling dice, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Fourth of July craft, 10 a.m.; getting to know you, 2 p.m.; reminisce, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Music with Larry J., 2 p.m.; social hour, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; yard games and treats, 2 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.; apple turnover party, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; king’s corners, 2 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Sunday: Grace church, 10:15 a.m.; manicures, 10:30 a.m.; life stories, 2 p.m.; beauty shop, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Gardening, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; song service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; “Family Feud,” 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Employee-of-the-month meeting, 10 a.m.; resident council, 10:30 a.m.; life stories, 2 p.m., beauty shop, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Shopping, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; Steve Vivio, SCU, 1:30 p.m.; Steve Vivio second DR, 2:15 p.m.; rummy, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Parade in Powers, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 a.m.; outside social, 2 p.m.; Trouble, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Parade in Hermansville, 10 a.m.; social circle, 2 p.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. If you have meals delivered and will not be home, notify the Center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal at noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Breen Center


Meals Monday through Friday.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month — except on holidays.  

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m. 

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.   

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Lucy Korhonen


Suggested meal donations: $5 older than 60; $6 younger than 60; $1 extra for take-out.

Call Center by 1 p.m. with name and number of people to reserve meals.

Open: Monday through Wednesday, 4:30 p.m., soup and salad Bar; 5 p.m., dinner.

Menu for the week of July 1 was unavailable:

Mondays: Basket weaving after dinner – all are welcome for dinner and/or class. Beginners can make their first basket with materials provided.

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; Mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Thursdays: Two-person team cribbage from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., crafters, scrapbookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Friday: Smear, 12:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of the month: Music jam starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free. 

Dances take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Admission is $6; coffee is free. 

The Photo Club meets 1 to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.  

The kitchen is currently closed due to plumbing issues, and meals are being served at the Breen Center. Christine McMahon has information for all meals and can be reached at 906-774-2256, ext. 235. For transportation, call Buzzin’ Around Town at 906-282-0492. Rides are $3 for age 60 and older, and $3.50 for younger than 60. 

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Felch Center


Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County, Wis.


Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations needed 48-hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

Fence Center/Town Hall


Meal at noon Wednesdays only. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall


Home-delivered meals are available as always. Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. at the center on Friday only. 

The meal site is temporarily closed Monday through Thursday due to a staffing shortage. 

Tipler Town Hall


Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Transportation arrangements can be made to and from the meal site.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60. Morning coffee is available daily.

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50-50 drawing.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Enjoy friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60. Thursday meal, 3:30 p.m. soup, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Home-delivered meals are available — call 906-774-2256 and speak to Christine Tramontine at ext. 235 or Stephen Hodgins at ext. 230.

Menu for the week of July 1 follows:

Monday: Sausage gravy over biscuit, peas, cranberry sauce, fruit and milk.

Tuesday: Beef stroganoff, noodles, California blend vegetables , roll, fruit and milk.

Wednesday: Barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli/cheese, fruit and milk.

Thursday: CLOSED! Happy July 4!

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Meal site manager: Corrie Maule, 715-251-1603

Senior center director: Jill Anderson, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday. Transportation is available to the meal site for those living in the Niagara, Wis., area. We welcome any senior groups who would like to use the meal site as a meeting place — join us for lunch and then stay for a meeting or social time. Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play. 

Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome. 

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two special-themed meals take place each month on Tuesday, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Menu for the week of July 1:

Monday: Noon meal: Sloppy joes, potato wedges, mixed vegetables, salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert; 5 p.m. meal: Chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, soup and salad bar, dessert. Sign up early.

Tuesday: Fourth of July dinner: Cheeseburger, fries, baked beans, fresh fruit, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, ice cream. Bingo and 50-50.

Wednesday: Beef and refried beans enchilada with tomato and lettuce, rice, salad bar, fruit, juice, and muffin.

Thursday: Closed. Happy Fourth of July.

Wednesday, July 3: Blood pressure clinic, 11 a.m. to noon,

If Norway-Vulcan area schools are closed due to bad weather, so is the senior center. If the schools are on a two-hour delay, the center remains open.  

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Note: File of Life packets available at the center.

Sagola Center


Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m. Cards: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months. A puzzle table is available to enjoy. Volunteers are always welcome. 


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