To marry someone is to also marry their innermost dreams. Our dreams are a big part of who we are. But pursuing your dreams takes a lot of time and energy, and so does your marriage. How can you do both? Is it possible to keep your marriage strong while pursuing your dreams?
The answer is a big yes! The trick is to make sure to spend the right amount of time and energy so both can thrive. This means not leaving anything to chance. You must plan your dreams and your marriage out in detail.
So sit down with your spouse, a notebook, and a calendar. It’s time to talk about your big dream and how you will reach it; at the same time you will outline your goals as a couple and talk about how you can stay connected throughout this process.
Here are 5 keys to keeping your marriage strong while pursuing your dreams:
1. Involve Your Spouse in Your Dream
Don’t run off and pursue your dream alone. Involve your spouse! We all have unique skills. Chances are, your spouse may even have a skill set that can help launch your dream. Many people dream of being an entrepreneur. If you have a million ideas for your new business, maybe your spouse can be the one to help you filter. Or perhaps you have started a band with your buddies, and your spouse has a gift for booking locations for you. Involve your spouse in your dream! The collaborative effort will ignite something in your marriage you may not have even felt before. You’ll see each other in a new light and appreciate what the other one brings to the table. In the processes, you can spend more time together and your marriage will grow.
2. Outline the Ground Rules
As you both go forward on this dream, it’s important to talk and plan in the beginning, and also as you keep going. Make sure to set some ground rules, and revisit them as needed. Talk about finances and how much you can devote to your dream, and then stay within that budget. Talk about how much time you are both willing to spend on this dream on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Allow it some time to grow and see what happens. If it’s a new business, give it ample time, but also talk about a possible time limit as well, if XYZ doesn’t happen by then. Dreams are wonderful and deserve our attention, but not if they are fizzling out or draining other areas of our lives. Also, setting ground rules helps everyone to be more balanced and allow room for other things in their lives. If your spouse feels like they have some choice in the matter, then resentment will be less likely to build.
3. Do the Same for Your Spouse
What is your spouse’s dream? Have you even asked yet? It could be that your honey doesn’t know what their dream is quite yet. And that’s ok. But the fact that you want to know and will be fully supportive is the key. Once the dream is revealed—be it their dream of hiking the tallest peak, writing a novel, or going back to school—give your spouse all the support they need. Be their sounding board, cheerleader, reality check, and definitely help make it all possible. Give them the time they need to take practice hikes, watch the kids while your spouse goes to a writers’ group, or help your spouse sign up for classes. Definitely offer to pursue that dream with them! Many spouses simply lack confidence in getting started. Your encouragement will mean so much and strengthen your bond in the process.
4. Celebrate Successes!
When your spouse succeeds in pursuing their dream, celebrate with them! Make sure to note the small and big milestones. Offer encouragement as needed. Sometimes along the way, there will be two steps back before there is a step forward. Be there to catch them as they fall, and then be there to celebrate when things go their way. Your spouse should do the same for you as well. Be sure to communicate that need to your spouse.
5. Spend Time Together Away From Your Dreams
Weekly date night is non-negotiable in keeping your marriage( http://www.marriage.com/ ) strong, and it’s even more essential when you are following a big dream. Here is a big ground rule for date night—dream talk is off limits. You and your spouse already do plenty of it during the week. This date night is about you two and your relationship. Set aside the dream for a few hours while you enjoy and focus on just each other. Date night could be as simple as going to dinner and a movie, or ice cream and a walk. Get a little more creative and do something you both like to do. It’s a great chance to unwind and remember how you feel about each other. It’ll renew your love for each other. Love takes time, so put it on the calendar and stick to it.
Your dreams are important, and your marriage is important. With some love, understanding, and a lot of planning, you can pursue and have success with both. Make sure you are both on the same team, and together you can do anything.
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