One of the most fun aspects of marriage is waking up every day knowing that someone else wants you to succeed. This should be a characteristic of every marriage. If you aren’t your spouse’s biggest supporter and cheerleader, something is significantly wrong with the relationship.
In a healthy marriage, each person is doing everything in their power to make the other person’s dreams come true. (See: The Method of Marriage)
Each year, Jenny and I take a vacation without the kids. Half the fun is choosing where to go. I love to play golf and she loves to hike so we generally look for places with a national park and a good golf course. One night we were on the couch, each searching on our laptops for a place to go. She asked, “What are you looking at?” I said, “I’m looking for national parks, I figure I can find a golf course near one.” I asked her what she was looking at and she said, “I’m looking at good golf courses, I assume I can find a park nearby.”
When we are at our best, that is who we are. We are looking out for the interests of the other more than ourselves. We are submitting our hopes and dreams to the hopes and dreams of the other. When two people consistently, not perfectly, but consistently do that, marriage can flourish. (See: The Number One Cause of Divorce)
It’s the moment when we begin to put ourselves above our spouse or our family where marriages become destructive. When my spouse is nothing but a tool to make my dreams come true instead of a true partner, the relationship is no longer equal. When my hopes trump her hopes, our marriage is out of balance.
I hear this many times from pastors. They will move from town to town as their ministry takes them from church to church. There is nothing wrong with this process, unless it is crushing their wives’ dreams in the process. If your wife is on board, move all you want. But far too often, the wife feels pressured to submit to her husband’s career, especially since it is in ministry.
Notice the irony. Pastors who preach the power of vocation, who encourage their church members to remember that every job is important and can bring glory to God, then elevate their ministry above their spouses’ dreams. It’s an instance of not practicing what you preach.
Prior to my wife starting her own company, my family would have been just as likely to move for my wife’s job as my own. The last time we moved, we did not do so until she had multiple job offers on the table. If God wanted us somewhere, he was just as likely to move through her job as my own.
Of course the key to helping your spouse’s dreams come true is knowing what they are. We have to ask and they need to tell. (See: It’s Not My Job to Read Your Mind)
- What do they want to accomplish?
- What is a secret desire which they have never revealed to anyone else?
- Where do they want to travel?
- What hobby do they want to start?
How will you encourage and assist them in making some of these things come true?
On a personal note, few people illustrate this as much as my wife. Last year I started this blog with the desire of learning how to write. Not only did she encourage me to continue writing, she has now edited over 250,000 words. Every Sunday through Thursday she edits this blog, and in so doing, is helping me do what I love. (See: Happy Valentine’s Day, You’re Not My Soul Mate)
What does your spouse want to do?
How can you help them make it happen?