Ah, retirement. You've dreamed of this day for a long time—bidding goodbye to the work force and settling into what you assume will be the relaxing, fulfilling golden years.

Suddenly, there's no pressing reason to get up in the morning, you're not "needed" by anyone, and the days can stretch ahead endlessly. Things get even more complicated when you and your partner retire at the same time. Like it or not, you're suddenly together a lot more than you used to be, and you may be sharing a home office. And you may wonder what in the world you will talk about.

The first two years are generally the toughest—as couples adjust to each other and their new lives. But once you and your spouse negotiate a few new rules and establish some boundaries, marital satisfaction usually rebounds.

Here are some tips for how to live happily ever after:

Structure is important for both of you, says Reef Karim, MD, co-author of Why Does He Do That? Why Does She Do That? When your days are suddenly not as jam-packed as they used to be, it's easy to slip into a pattern of doing very little and that complacency can get depressing, he says. So make plans for various activities, taking care to include your partner. "Walk around the park together, see a movie that interests both or you," Karim advises. "Have shared experiences on a regular basis with your partner."

What if you fear you no longer have anything in common? "Sit down together and make separate lists of five things that interest you, then compare the lists," Karim recommends. Chances are that you will have two or three common interests. "And those are the ones you will work on enjoying together," the author says.

Retirement can be the best time in your marriage, says Candice Bolbach, LCSW. "Your kids are settled and more than likely aren't around. It can be the ideal time to rekindle your romance with your partner," she says. "Think back to when you first fell in love and remember what you liked doing then." Don't be surprised if you both still enjoy the same past times you did back when you were dating. In retirement there's finally time to pursue these interests and activities again.

Lost that loving feeling? Have a discussion about what would bring romance and excitement back into your relationship, Bolbach advises. "Maybe it's as predictable as wearing a slinky nightgown to bed," she says. "Or having a conversation over coffee that isn't about children, grandchildren, or gossip." An affectionate touch—that isn't sexual—can go a long way toward enhancing the closeness and emotional intimacy between partners. Don't wait until bedtime to get romantic. Try stroking your spouse's hair or putting your arms around her shoulders.

If your sex life is so-so, retirement can rev it up. Sit down with your partner and brainstorm three romantic things you can do together this week. It doesn't have to be a candlelight dinner, per say. Giving each other a head rub—or back scratch—while watching a favorite show can be romantic, too.

Retain your own identity. If you don't have interests of your own, the danger is that you may lose yourself in your partner's identity. "And then the other person may take you for granted," Karim says. "You may feel underappreciated or not respected." Get involved in your community or church. Pursue that hobby you never had a chance to when you were in the midst of child rearing or take a class at a local community college. Having some individuality—and balancing it with togetherness—is important to maintaining marital satisfaction in retirement.