What if you had dreams of moving to Hawaii when you retire, but 10 years into your marriage, you found out that your spouse wanted to move back to his hometown in Kansas for his golden years? That could be a huge problem, right?! Thankfully you can take action now to ensure both of you are on the same page about your future plans.
Let’s face it – not everyone has the same goals, desires, or aspirations. And that’s actually good. The world would be pretty boring if everyone was the same. While you and your spouse don’t need to be near-twins (gross), you do need to make sure that you are mostly in agreement with your hopes for the future.
Ideally, this kind of talking should be done when you’re in the dating phase.
That might seem a little early if you don’t want to scare your significant other off by talking about sharing a future together. But how are you going to know if you want a future with him if you don’t even know where he wants your lives to go?
Maybe you don’t even know how to start the conversation. Well, you can start by asking each other to share your individual dreams. Ask each other questions like the following:
- What are your passions?
- What brings you peace and happiness?
- What are your career goals?
- What are your financial goals?
- What are your dreams for our family? Number of kids? Childcare arrangements?
- If money were no object, where would you want to live (and retire)?
- What do you want your life to look like in 5, 10, 20, or 50 years?
Then, after you have that nailed down, take the conversation in the direction where you find a way to merge your dreams. This identity as a couple will not only act like glue that keeps you working toward your goals together, but it will bond you as a married couple.
As you know, some people are all talk and no action, so it’s not enough to just talk about your dreams. You actually have to write them down. Act like you’re making a business plan or drawing up a contract. When you see your dreams down on paper, it makes them more real.
You can’t stop there. Once they’re written down, you can’t just forget about them. You have to revisit them often, review your progress, and give focused attention to your dreams.
While it’s important to work on your joint dreams together, don’t forget about your individual ones. Yes you’re married, but you’re still individuals. You most likely have different careers and different interests. So don’t neglect your own dreams just for the sake of your spouse.
Dreaming together and accomplishing those goals are one of the key components to a happy marriage. Unfortunately, many people don’t do this at all. How can you expect to live happily (enough) ever after if you don’t even talk about these life-altering decisions? Start talking and planning now. It’s never too soon.
Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. She also tries to imitate Oprah during her regular appearances on the TV show Living Dayton. Although not a world-famous author or speaker yet, she’s working on it. She’s also a single mom of two boys who think she’s a horrible cook. Follow her here on Twitter and Facebook.