07 Mar Supporting your partner’s life dreams and purpose
Great marriages are about supporting your partner’s life dreams and purpose.
We meet. We fall in love. Everything about him/her is wonderful. We hold hands and look at the stars and believe that together, we can be absolutely anything that we dream to be. We decide to walk the path of life together.
Then, sooner or later, we wake up.
OK, I’m just kidding. I’m personally not at all cynical about love that lasts: together with my guy I’m living proof that great marriages happen.
But I’m a marriage therapist too, so I have plenty of opportunity to observe how this isn’t always the way things happen.
There are so many ways that once loved-up couples find themselves in relationships that don’t bring joy.
But after such a promising start, how do they get there?
How does “We are meant to be together” turn into “We just don’t fit well together anymore?”
One of the things that takes couples off track is so common I see it in relationships and marriages at all ages and stages, often:
Unhappy couples forget what it was about their partners that they fell in love with in the first place, and they forget to support what makes their partner really come “alive”.
For couples wanting love that lasts it’s crucial that they each support their partner’s own unique life dreams and purpose. Always.
What is your partner into? Really into? Social justice? Adventure? Community? Travel? Intellectual pursuits? Spiritual awakening? Home life and family? Career? Using a unique talent towards making the world a better place?
Happy marriages are those where partners understand (and actively support) each other’s life dreams and purpose.
It’s amazing how often something so simple gets overlooked, and how often partners grow to resent (and even actively sabotage) their partner’s deeper life goals, dreams, and aspirations. But if it’s love that lasts we’re after, it’s important to “keep the dreams alive”.
When I work with couples who are forgetting to support each other, they’ve usually also forgotten what really makes them (and/or their partner really “tick”). And when they’ve forgotten this, they’re at risk of forgetting why they fell in love in the first place.
To start the process of reconnecting, it’s usually helpful to ask a few questions, like:
Can you name your partner’s life goals, dreams, and purpose?
What is most important to him or her for a fulfilling life?
In what ways do you support him/her in the pursuit of these?
What could you do (or not do) more of, to help him/her even further?
Are you respecting and supporting your partner’s dreams, even if they don’t match your own?
Great relationships and marriages happen when we feel supported, nourished, and encouraged to be the very best version of ourselves possible. Knowing how to do this for your partner, (and to expect the same back for yourself), is crucial for a relationship or marriage that truly thrives.
Start a conversation about what matters. Listen to your partner, and find ways to show that you’ve really heard. Then watch your marriage grow and change as you do.