What to do when your partner has a different dream

Couples do not just want a dream wedding, they also want a dream marriage – a happy ever after ending. But this dream can very soon be shattered when the couple realizes that each of them has a different vision of what that dream marriage is. Places where the dreams can differ are many. One dreams of having a big family while the partner is content with just one (or two). One sees themselves jet-setting around the world. What would that mean for the partner’s career ambitions?

Your dream will influence your actions and choices in life. The more dominant partner in the relationship (there is usually one) can, consciously or unconsciously, impose that vision on the marriage, forcing the submissive partner to give up his or her dream. This will lead to an unsatisfying marriage.

In this age where equality is valued more than it was in the past, couples need to put everything on the table and talk about it. Every dream is important no matter how far-fetched or impractical it might sound to someone else. There is usually a story behind each dream.

A couple I know of were engaged to be married. In the midst of discussing about where they will live after the wedding, the guy mentions that he would like his mother to move in with them. “I don’t want her to be alone,” he reasons. Innocent as it sounds, it created a very strong reaction in his fiancee. “Over my dead body,” she exclaimed.

The story behind her reaction was a dream she has about married life.

You see, she grew up with a mother who loves to clean. On many occasions, she would come home from school or work and find her room rearranged and personal stuff missing. She would later learn that her mother had entered her room, cleaned it, and thrown things out that she thought was no longer needed. This infuriated her and in one of these times, she told herself that she would not let this happen to her when she is married. Having her future mother-in-law move into their matrimonial home would shatter her dream, and she was not prepared to let that happen. Hence, her strong reaction.

This issue became a perpetual problem for this couple and there seemed to be no solution to it. It put such as strain on their relationship that they had to call off their engagement.

Perpetual problems might seem unsolvable, but they are solvable if you use the right approach. The first is to discover your partner’s dream. Sometimes, it might not be quite obvious. The girl in the story above reacted emotionally without knowing why. The dream she had was formed a long time ago and was somewhere in the back of her mind. The suggestion of her mother-in-law living with them triggered an emotional response. In such cases, the partner has to become a ‘dream detective.’

Once you have identified each other’s dreams, the next step is not to blend them together into one but for each to do their best to fulfil each other’s dream. It might require the dreams to be revised to make this work.

A couple might have the same or very similar dream but a different timeline. This too can be problematic.

Feel free to contact me if you need help in this area.

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