We all begin our married life with a spark. There’s so much hope for the future, so much promise and excitement for the life you’re building together. You’ve been dreaming as a couple for a while, and now that you’re married, it’s finally happening!
People call it the honeymoon phase, which makes sense, and it usually lasts about a year. But what happens when that shine starts to wear off? You start to maybe feel a little bit like you’re stuck in a rut. Maybe you’re in the trenches of caring for the kids that have come along when you realize you’re going through the motions, feeling directionless and lacking a luster for your life.
It’s a tough place to be but you don’t have to stay. You prayed and hoped for this life!
Something that we talk about in our Family Board Meeting course, right at the beginning, is the idea of dreaming with your spouse. This is different from fantasizing, which we tend to do during the mundane tasks of our lives, because dreams are things that we actually can realize!
And pursuing those dreams is how we pull ourselves out of the rut and make every action have purpose. So let’s dive in!
Dreaming doesn’t come naturally to everyone. You might notice this in yourself – you might be better at the details rather than the ideas. For people who struggle with this, a blank canvas or completely undecorated room might be very intimidating.
Or maybe you are a dreamer! Ideas may come quickly while you pace back and forth excitedly thinking about all the things you and your family could do one day. And usually for the dreamer, the execution of the ideas is the struggle. You might readily come up with an idea but stumble when you get to the second or third step of your plan to make it happen.
Whether you’re naturally disposed to dreaming or not, dreaming is absolutely essential!
So before you and your spouse sit down to dream about your lives together over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, figure out which you are. Both are extremely valuable and it’s very rare to be gifted in both dreaming and executing ideas.
It sounds silly, but when you begin to look at making changes to your life, it helps to know what a good dream actually looks like.
St. Augustine once said that dreams are very much like hope and that hope has 2 daughters: anger and courage. The anger (or frustration) at what is currently happening and the courage to make a change!
So a dream is the hope in an idea that could, one day, become a reality.
The key to a dream that sets it apart from a fantasy is reality. If an idea you have is something that will never happen, like becoming an astronaut at age 50, then it is a fantasy. It might be fun to think about, but for our purposes, isn’t helpful.
Finally, when you begin to dream, don’t put limits on yourself! All changes and innovation begin with an idea. The idea might seem small (or maybe at first glance, might be like a fantasy) but bring it up with your spouse and explore it! In the end, you might be surprised.
Okay, so we’ve finally arrived at the practical application of this. You (and your spouse/family) are feeling stuck or directionless, you might be making big decisions on a whim, without looking at the big picture of your family’s mission. Or maybe you’re really struggling with how to give the seemingly mundane tasks in your life purpose.
First of all, as a married Catholic Christian, it’s necessary to recognize that our highest priority (or dream you could say) is to become a saint with your spouse and children. So all other dreams need to fit under the umbrella of this mission.
Next, share your ideas with each other and write them down! If you’re stuck, think about how old you and your children will be in 10 years. What do you want to have achieved by then? What goals do you have for yourself and your family?
You can think about goals in the areas of marriage, family relationships and operations (home, schooling, finances, etc.), your personal development, growth in virtue and your spiritual life.
Once you have all those things written down, talk about your favorites together. Do they make sense for your family now or does an idea need to be tabled for a while? What are the most important things to you both for your family right now?
Finally, take your ideas to prayer. Pray for wisdom and guidance in deciding which things to pursue. When you have a clear idea, make a plan to begin working toward those goals. Check in with your spouse in progress regularly. Work toward these goals daily, even if that means all you can do is pray for wisdom as you fold laundry.
Over time, you’ll look back and see not only the personal growth that occurred during the pursuit of your family’s goals, but also that the goals change or are achieved over time!
Dreaming as a couple isn’t just an exercise we urge you to undertake for the betterment of your marriage (though that might be a side effect!).
We want you to dream and make goals because your mission as a family is to become a saint. God has a unique path for everyone. That path doesn’t lie in mediocrity, but in pursuing the ideas that God puts on your heart, which ultimately will glorify Him.
If you’d like to walk with us in brainstorming these goals, making a plan and following through, join us for our Family Board Meeting course this April 13-16th. You can register here.