A friend called the other day to tell me about a dream for the future. When he uttered the location my stomach turned a bit. Like Jonah, we all have a Nineveh we pray to God that he won't send us there. Before I could catch it from coming out of my mouth I said, "Why would you ever want to go there?" His enthusiasm, our connection and the conversation vanished. Ugh.
I can be a dream destroyer. I pulled out my giant hat pin and popped the air right out of his dream balloon. Dream deflated in the moment. I called him back after a few days. We talked some more. I listened more, affirmed more and was more open. It was a much better conversation.
I believe that behind many affairs are deflated dreams. It doesn't excuse the affair, but to recapture the deep connection of a wonderful marriage hopes, desires and dreams need to have a place to be expressed that is bathed in acceptance. Acceptance doesn't mean agreement, this is feasible, or yes let's do this. It can mean all those things too. Acceptance, primarily is about affirming the value of the heart, soul, ideas and vision of your spouse. It is a time to say 'yes and' instead of 'no but'.
Here is another way of building emotional intimacy for you. List 10 things you would like to do before you die…think hopes, desires and dreams and why you would like to do them and the fears that have kept you from doing them. Share them with your spouse. What are your dreams? Dreams of money and power? Dreams of growing old and gray together, sacrificing for the sake of being One? Are they for no laundry ever again? Are they dreams of retiring at age 40? Traveling? Living life to the fullest? Dig deep…what are they? Be sure and include why they are important to you. This reveals much to your spouse about who you are.
Next take a different slant on your dreams. Write below your dreams (notice this is plural!) for yourself and for your marriage. They don’t have to be practical. Share with one another. Listening spouse – no “buts” allowed.