Legally married persons cohabiting since and /or after July 2019 would require filing status of MFJ or MFS. Generally it is rare for there to be any advantage to filing Married Filing Separate.
IRA disbursement's in addition to annual Social Security amounts must also be reported
Married Joint or Married Separate are your choices....Married Joint is generally a better bet.
The retired spouse has pension and SS, so they probably need to file a return.
You overlooked that the IRA distributions, from a traditional IRA account, is nearly always Taxable. That's why "retired" has nothing to do with anything, and "earned wages" isn't the only source of Taxable income in the US.
"Level Up" is a gaming function, not a real life function.