If you haven’t set a vision for your dream marriage (or haven’t for a long time), you’re in for a real treat.
Humor me for a minute.
Close your eyes and pretend you’re back in those early years of your relationship. Try to picture what a “dream marriage” looks like to your former self.
Paint a picture of what it was like when you were the most happy and enthusiastic about the future.
Maybe it was when you were still dating, or during the first few years of your marriage.
Forget all about the current work or problems you’re dealing with and go back to that time.
Tap into that memory so you can imagine some of those feelings and the outcomes that you wanted so much before life got in the way (or maybe before you became a little jaded).
If you had asked your former selves during that time to set a vision for your dream marriage, what would you have said? What did it mean to you?
What would be ideal – your own personal dream marriage? Why did you choose to get married, and with the person you did?
Whatever you want to call it – your ideal marriage, your dream marriage – what it would look like at the very end of a scale going from 1 to 10.
Although this vision may change over time, it’s something worth getting clear on at every stage of your relationship.
There’s a really simple exercise that will bring some clarity to you on what your ideal marriage looks like that will also unlock some really productive conversations with your spouse.
I call it “Your Dream Marriage What-If.”
Here’s how to do it…
Each of you write out and describe an ideal day in your marriage. Do this separately at first, and then both spouses should come together to compare notes.
Imagine and visualize it as you answer these questions:
Each of you think about what an ideal day would look like if you could live it, and then compare what you wrote with the other.
This is something that Bethany and I did once at a retreat, at a point in time when we weren’t that great at communicating. We really weren’t that open with each other.
When we did it, we didn’t know we had to share notes, so we wrote them out separately. Then, we had to sit down knee-to-knee while I read my ideal day to her, and she read hers to me.
It ended up being a life-changing experience.
At the time of this retreat, I was working from home already on my business. She had become a Special Ed teacher and was fantastic at it, and was still paying off her student loans.
Years ago, we had both thought it would be great if she could be a stay-at-home mom. It’s something we had talked about even during our dating years.
It was part of our vision then, but life got busy and we forgot about it. Maybe you know the feeling.
So as I read my notes to her, I said, “It would be so great if you could be home, too. But I know you love your job.”
“You love what you do, you’re excellent at it, and you’ve got great friends at school. So I would never expect you to give that up.”
She was crying.
I thought “Uh-oh…what did I do wrong?”
Then she started to read what she had written. Among a lot of other things, she said, “In an ideal day, I’d be a stay-at-home mom for our kids.”
“But,” she continued, “I know it’s not a financially smart move. We’re trying to get out of debt. And I do love working. I want to be a hard worker, and I want to be a contributor to the finances in our home.”
Wow. I had said it would be ideal, but qualified it in a way. And she had done the same.
We had both realized in that moment this was something we wanted very much, but we hadn’t talked about it over the years.
The idea that we should discuss our ideal marriage had quietly fallen back into the shadows, and we had both assumed that the other wanted something different.
This may be the same reason you have not set a vision for your dream marriage.
This was something we wouldn’t have talked about if we hadn’t taken a little time to go through this exercise. It would have stayed as a forgotten dream that we never brought up again.
So, long story short…it took us three and a half years to pay off all of our debts.
When we were pregnant with our third child, we decided that it was time to start. She began to stay at home and raise our children during the day.
This simple exercise quite literally changed the course of our lives!
And, it’s absolutely something you can do to set a vision for your marriage, which will supercharge your communication and fuel your motivation to achieve big goals together.
You’ll find that you both agree on some things that you expected to agree on, and you may disagree on a few things that you didn’t expect.
And that’s healthy, too, because it’s not good to keep it all inside.
Doing this truly helps to discover different aspects of what your ideal marriage looks like, to get these things out, and start talking about them.
Then, you’ll have a shared understanding. And with that, you can begin to set some goals and make progress together from where you are now to where you truly want to be.
So give it a try. Set a time, do it together, and let me know how it goes!
Setting a shared vision is a critical first step, and we guide you to exactly how to do it with our Dream Marriage Planner inside of our flagship program Total Marriage Makeover.
If you are looking for a proven way to reconnect, deepen your intimacy and start living YOUR dream marriage, you should definitely check it out. You’ll be amazed at the transformation you can enjoy in just 28 days.
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.