Help Your Spouse Achieve Lifelong Dreams

I have a few close friends and family members who are all about their “bucket lists,” the lists of things they want to experience or accomplish during their lives. For instance, my brother’s list inspired him to climb Mount Rainier and to go deep-sea diving in remote locations.  This week, I was reading the uplifting blog The Generous Wife. She suggested as couples we talk regularly about our bucket lists and look for ways to help our spouses achieve their wishes. It’s a fantastic suggestion.

I like this idea for multiple reasons. First, discussing your dreams with your spouse increases intimacy and keeps you focused on positive aspects of your life. Second, participating in activities outside of your norm builds excitement and passion for yourself and for your marriage. And third, helping your spouse achieve his or her dreams often causes your spouse to have increased gratitude toward you. And gratitude has been shown to increase connection and bonds.

I must admit I’m not much of a true adventurer. I’d much rather sit on a beach than climb a treacherous mountain. However, I have spectacular memories of traveling to Hawaii, Bermuda, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Monaco, Mexico—and yes, even a memorable trip to Canada during one of their worst snowstorms—with my husband. All that travel came to a screeching halt when our two children were welcomed into our lives. I have more destinations in mind when our kids are a bit older. But travel isn’t required; many adventures can be found without leaving your hometown.

I have a great friend who encouraged her husband to fulfill his dream of running a hot-air balloon business, while maintaining his full-time job as a pilot. I’ve never heard her complain of the time it takes away from their large family. I have other friends who have supported their spouse’s dreams to become an entrepreneur or a full-time parent. Two married friends have decided to visit every national park in the country. Perhaps you have always wanted to take music or dance lessons, fly an airplane, learn a new language or write a book. Share your goals with your spouse, and discuss how your dreams could become a reality.

Believing in one another and in a positive vision for your union is part of the magic of marriage. How many divorces could be prevented if spouses felt their partner cared as much about their dreams and goals as they do?

What fun things are on your bucket list? What obstacles stand in your way—time, money, self-doubt, an aging body? Do you know what’s on your partner’s list?

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please spend one minute to take this survey  answering five quick questions. Your confidential responses will help me immensely. Thanks!

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9 responses to “Help Your Spouse Achieve Lifelong Dreams

  1. Oh man, this post has convicted me. I have been terrible at helping my husband achieve his big goals. He always wanted to own his own business, and I was always full of doubt and hesitation. I was too worried that it wouldn’t take off. It upset him a lot. Well, he went and started his own business anyway (about two months ago) and so far it has been a huge success! I feel terrible for not having been more supportive.

    He, on the other hand, has always been totally supportive of me and my dreams to be a writer. I could take a lesson from him.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I have learned from experience how important it is to support your spouse’s dreams. Thanks for writing about it!

    • Thanks for sharing your lesson learned. It’s tough to take financial risks when you’re young. But I can tell by your gratitude toward him that you’ve learned the importance of believing in him in the future.

  2. I’ve filled out the survey…. :)

    The top of my bucket list is traveling! And thankfully, its on the top of my husbands as well. So we have been diligent in our planning and budgeting to make 3 trips a year happen. We have no kids yet, so we’re pretty free with that.

    The only thing is, I hope I don’t become so addicted that I keep putting off having kids!

    • Thanks for taking the survey! My husband and I were like that early in our marriage, but then one year it became clear that our desire for children far outweighed the desire for travel. Now our kids enjoy travel as well, but we haven’t taken them on any far-flung trips just yet.

  3. My husband is living his bucket list. He has his dream job. It means a lot of sacrifice because he’s gone 90% of the time and we have young kids. Also, my big bucket item is to live by my family in the mountains which isn’t possible. We can’t leave this area (which I hate) because his job is here. It’s tough. I’m happy for him, but really sad for me.

    • Lisa, you sound a little frustrated. It can be difficult when one spouse has to sacrifice for another’s job. Can you at least plan a trip to the mountains to see family? Are there other things you can experience closer to home to give you more of a feeling of being fulfilled? Sharing your heart is part of experiencing intimacy in marriage.

  4. Over the past year my husband and I have been very focused on helping each other achieve our dreams. Some of the dreams aren’t that big, like him supporting my running 2-3 times per week. Others are bigger and joint, like starting our website devoted to couples who work together.

    From our experience helping your spouse achieve their dreams becomes fulfilling for yourself and them. It is not something that can be done overnight because you both have to do some self examination to determine what you each have as goals for yourself and for your family. And it is also helpful if each spouse is supportive of each other’s goals, so one person isn’t doing all of the supporting.

    • Julie, you make a good point that seeing your spouse become fulfilled is also a gift for you; after all, you are unified in marriage. Give and take is needed, but I’m glad you and your hubby have been so supportive of each other’s dreams, big and small. Bravo.

  5. Pingback: It’s Now or Never—Make Your Dreams a Reality | Marriage Gems

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