A few weeks ago I sat down on the couch with my wife. There really isn’t anything unusual in that action. It seems we do this every night. But this night was a bit different. Neither of us turned on the TV. I actually asked her to sit next to me. I wanted to share my dream with her.
That action and request by me was the unusual part.
We’ve been married for 20 years.
I don’t ever remember sitting down together to share our dreams.
I had written my BIG DREAM down on paper a couple of weeks earlier. I had even gone to the trouble of planning out a time-line for achieving my dream. I have, on paper, a rough sketch of the next 3 years and what actions I would like to take in order to achieve my BIG DREAM. I won’t bore you with the details, but it begins with a few small steps this year. Next year a few more steps, larger steps, are planned. The final year leading up to the BIG DREAM, includes a few ginormous steps.
How in the world have my wife and I been married for over 20 years and never intentionally taken the time to discuss and write down our BIG DREAMS? Some of you may think this inconceivable! I’m suddenly in agreement. Now I have a desire to share more often. If my wife and I are truly on the same team (#TeamTheule), we should have full knowledge of each other’s dreams, goals, and desires.
My wife had an idea of what my BIG DREAM looks like. She knows I want to write and speak. But we have never talked about it on purpose. As I look back over our 20+ years of marriage, I can’t help but wonder how many times we missed out on something incredible because we didn’t share our thoughts with each other. We’ll both tell you we were too busy to think about BIG DREAMS. For a majority of our marriage we have lived in survival mode.
When we were first married, I was still in college. My wife began working full-time as a Registered Nurse three months after our wedding. I was struggling through another semester of college. I can remember dropping her off at the hospital for her night shift. In the morning I would pick her up and we’d make our way to the college campus where I would spend my day while she went home to sleep. Later in the day she would pick me up. We would have a couple of hours together, and then I’d bring her to work. Let me say this as politely as possible: Third shift sucks when you are a newlywed. (My wife would probably tell you it sucks no matter what the situation.)
So, we didn’t spend very much time together. This wasn’t the best situation for our new marriage, but how were we to know any better? I needed to finish school, and she had a full-time job. Perfect right? No. Not perfect. Not perfect for most marriages, but particularly bad for our new marriage. We needed to spend time together. We hadn’t been in close proximity to each other for the two and a half years leading up to our wedding in December of 1993. After graduating from college in 1991, my wife went home. 2,400 miles away. Yep. We survived a long distance relationship. Within about a month of her leaving I knew I had to go after her. I called and asked if I could hop a plane to visit her. Thankfully she said yes. That was the first of many planes I hopped to go visit her. But a few in-person visits, many phone calls, and quite few letters, cannot replace proximity when you are trying to learn everything about your future spouse. (I wonder how different it would be now with texting and Facetime and Google Hangouts available.)
Every time we saw each other in person we had to become acquainted again. The experience is somewhat similar to being involved in a great online community, say through a closed Facebook Group, and then suddenly meeting some of your great online friends in person.
In a sense, the cards were stacked against us. We never learned how to properly communicate face to face. We got married, life together began, two incredible boys came along, and we continued to live in the craziness of life. In the blink of an eye, 20 years went by.
Last spring life came to a momentary halt. I lost my job of 16 years. I was suddenly given more time than I ever imagined. Time to think and reflect on my life. Now what? Over the last 10 months I believe I’ve figured it out. I figured out what the BIG DREAM is for me. I went back to work two short months after losing my job. I’m doing essentially the same thing I was for the 16 previous years. But now I have an idea of where I’m called to go. I have an idea of the BIG DREAM for my future. I’m not quitting my current job anytime soon because as I once heard a very wise woman say, “Income helps.”
I’m looking forward to more time sitting on the couch with my incredibly patient and understanding wife. She has dreams too. I think. Maybe we should sit on the couch tonight.
Do you communicate well with your spouse? Do you share your BIG DREAM?
If you’re not married, do you have someone with whom you share your BIG DREAM?