I can’t tell you how many times we get asked for advice about how to make your relationship a success. Questions like: “If you could only identify one thing that makes relationships work, what would that be?” Of course, this is a trap, as there is simply not one strategy alone to make a relationship successful. Relationships need to work on multiple levels simultaneously. Couples need to continuously work on their friendship system building a strong sense of really being known by each other, being there for each other in small and significant times. Couples need to manage conflict with a sense of curiosity, that conflict is an opportunity to learn about each other. Conflict that is done with gentleness and respect is critical to a successful relationship. Relationships need to have meaningful rituals of connection and a mission for the future where dreams and goals are understood, shared and supported. However, if I was pushed to answer the question above, I would probably say that a critical aspect of relationship success is to know, understand and honour your partners dreams. To be in sync with your partners life long journey and to support their dreams and aspirations, journeying through life, sharing and supporting each other’s dreams is a wonderful gift.
Relationships can be a place of great discovery, a journey of building emotional connection and attachment with your partner over years, really getting to know one another and understand the fabric of each other personalities, values and philosophy. Creating this shared meaning about what the relationship holds as important, what it honours and dreams about is the basis of a meaningful relationship. People in good relationships understand the individual dreams and goals of their partner, the individual pursuits and ambitions their partners hold. Masters of relationships honour their partners dreams; they view the relationship as a supportive platform to encourage, nurture and action individual dreams and goals. Knowing and honouring your partners dreams is critical; it may be golf, live music, theatre, cooking, bush walking, reading, travel, volunteer work. No one wants to be in a relationship where your passions and life dreams go unrecognised or unsupported.
The following are some useful suggestions of being able to be better understand, explore, support and honour your partners life dreams.
Ask open questions with interest and curiosity to your partner about their individual dreams and goals like:
Is there a story behind this dream for you?
What would it mean having this dream honoured?
Tell me why this is so important to you?
Is there a disaster scenario in not having this dream met?
What do you need from me right now?
Offer empathy and validation for example saying something like, “I understand why that is important to you.”
Offer emotional support and validation. Even if you can’t directly help them to achieve their dreams, communicate: “I am behind you 100%”
Give support to make the dream come true, for example helping out with logistics, childcare, whatever you feel you can offer.
Understanding the heart of each other’s life dreams, and the hopes and aspirations that reside with the dream, builds emotional connection, it deepens the trust and commitment one has in the relationship. Honouring each other’s life dreams is a clear demonstration of respect that you have for each other, is says to your partner, ‘I have your back’. Couple is relationships that prioritise making life dreams come true build strong friendships, develop close emotional connection and intimacy and create a strong, positive perspective for the future.
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