Do you have achievable dreams for your life that are unfulfilled? Do you know your spouse’s dreams that are yet to be realized? If you want your marriage to grow in love, connection and partnership, this post is vital for you and your spouse to read!
Dr. John Gottman, famed marriage specialist and author, says that acknowledging and respecting your spouse’s dreams is a key to enriching your marriage. Taking the simple points outlined below and using them as a framework for you and your spouse can provide the framework needed to intentionally build your marriage.
Here are four steps to get you started:
1) Describe the dream
Choose time when you can talk—a date night, a drive in the car, a walk in the neighborhood—and initiate the conversation. Ask your spouse questions like:
- When you were younger, what were your dreams that you wanted to accomplish?
- What’s on your bucket list?
- If you could do something and know it had a good probability of working out, what would it be?
We are in the process of a shared dream to strengthen marriages around the world through the ministry God has given us through Build Your Marriage. In addition, we have dreams to visit every presidential museum (we’ve been to nine so far!), take an around the world trip, own a Harley and learn to scuba dive (those last two are Brad’s!).
Maybe your spouse wants to: finish their degree, write a book, start a business, run a marathon, record music, parachute, start a non-profit. Find out what it is and then:
2) Affirm the dream
Your spouse needs to hear you value what matters to them. Repeat back what you heard them say and why it is important to them. “So your dream is to someday __________ and this matters to you because _____________.”
As you are able to articulate their dream, you communicate that you are listening and actually hearing the intimate desires of their heart. Let them know that you love them and that what is important to them is important to you.
3) Support the dream
It’s easy to be negative and shut a dream down. Breathe the prayer of Psalm 141:3 quietly “ Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” and keep negativity to yourself.
While not all dreams are achievable (i.e. “I’ve always wanted to walk on the moon!”), most are pursuable. Your first sign of support is to speak positively and hopefully about your spouse’s dream. Let them know that you want them to live life to the fullest of their ability and potential.
4) Partner in the dream
While this is your spouse’s dream, they need to know that they have your support to see it realized. Let them know that you are willing to sacrifice to see their dream realized.
Being realistic, break down the next steps into manageable increments that the two of you can take together. What can you accomplish in the next 30-60 days? Write it down. “By ___________ we will ___________ toward the goal (save X dollars, research, look into, begin, etc).
Experience the fullness of your marriage partnership as you dream—and pursue dreams—as you build your marriage!