Living with a Dreamer: How to Live in Reality without Smashing a Dream

From starting to buying that dream house in Hawaii – how can you support
your spouse’s hopes, dreams and ambitions, while still keeping a grip on

Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend shares five simple steps to help
you be supportive, but still practical.

Dreams come and go in many shapes and sizes. For some it might be
starting a business venture, completing an advanced degree, working in
community theatre or writing a book. Whatever your partner’s dream may
be, however, if it’s not shared, that dream will end up tearing you apart
instead of bringing you together. Below are 5 simple steps to make sure that
your partner’s dreams can become a reality instead of a bust.

1. Catch Their Vision

Nothing makes living with a dreamer easier than when you and your partner
are on the same page, with the same dreams. So how do you get on the
same page with them? Communication, Communication, Communication!
When talking with your partner about their dream, try to understand what the
real drivers are that make his or her goals so important to them. What are
the motivators, what are the deeper needs that are going to be met by
making this dream a reality? By spending the time to understand their goals,
you can actually get to know your partner better, creating a greater sense of
closeness and understanding. By taking the time to understand the “Deeper
yes” behind your partner’s dream, you may actually begin to buy into that
deeper yes and believe in the dream as much as they do. By having a shared
passion for the goals, you inevitably increase the likelihood of having less
interference in your quest for the dream. If you just can’t catch the dream,
simply try to remember that loving what your partner loves is one of the best
ways to show them that you care.

2. Set Minimum Requirements

Just like dentists have a minimum set of requirements for how many times a
day a person should brush their teeth, Dreamers need to know that there are
certain minimum requirements that must be met if they want to keep the
dream alive. The rule of thumb is “No Margin, No Mission,” meaning if there
isn’t enough money or margin in the dream to actually pay the bills and feed
the family, then the mission may need to be adjusted. Usually those
minimum requirements should be communicated early on in the dream and
they must be shared and mutually beneficial. Try to agree ahead of time as
to what your win, and their win would look like. Discuss what to do if your
partner’s dream just isn’t producing what the family needs to make ends
meet. Then agree ahead of time what those numbers need to look like. That
way if there are problems or hiccups, the strategy for when we will shelf the
dream has already been established. In my experience, most spouses can be
fairly supportive of even their partner’s most extreme dreams if their
minimum requirements are being met.

3. Invite Third-Party Opinions

Many times dreams just aren’t very realistic, and usually the last person to
recognize that is the dreamer themselves. One way to mitigate chasing a
losing dream is to bring in outsiders that you trust to discuss the dream.
Find people that are in your circle of influence who have accomplished
similar dreams that your partner is proposing to undertake. Together, run
your dreams by this independent expert on the subject and see what they
have to say. Let them ask the tough questions and agree to listen intently to
what they see going on. Ask them to outline both the strengths and the
weaknesses of the dream and agree to revisit the entire undertaking before
moving forward. All too often when someone is chasing a dream, there are
usually other people who will end up profiting from the work or the money
that your partner will be investing in the dream. Make sure that you are
gaining independent insight outside of influence of those who are going to
profit. The biggest benefit of inviting outsiders into the discussion is that
you don’t have to be the one to shoot holes in your partner’s dreams. Let
the experts do that and you just love your partner’s passion.

4. Demand Character and Competency

The two biggest flaws that I’ve seen tear dreams apart is a lack of character
to do what really needs to be done, and a lack of competency to actually get
the job done. If you are going to risk embarking on a dream together, you
must demand that your partner demonstrate both the character and
competence. It is not enough to have a very honest partner who can never
get his business off the ground, or to have a great business minded partner
who doesn’t tell you the truth of what is really going on with the dream.
Violations of the Character/competency clause can be demonstrated in the
following ways: keeping secrets from one other, lying about the progress,
embellishing stories, seeing persistent problems happening over and over
again, a continuous rotation of people, deals and opportunities that don’t
come through. As both partners are continuously checking for both the
character of the dream and competency of the players, you will tend to see
both principles improve. In the end, we tend to trust those who demonstrate
both character and competency, and trusting in a dream may be the biggest
key to creating lasting results.

5. Review Results Regularly

A pretty safe rule of thumb to ensure growth and prosperity is to review
results regularly. Usually those things that we check consistently improve
over time, simply by the fact that we are following up and accountability is
present. By reviewing results regularly, we are shining a light on the fact that
results matter. One reason that major corporations are able to take their
dreams and make them a reality is that they are continually reviewing the
results of their employees. Agree with your partner that there will be regular
accountability sessions, board meetings or follow up to see how the dream is
affecting not only the marriage, but the family, finances and future. In those
meetings, create plans to tighten up the character and competency of the
dream and to make sure that the Minimum requirements are being met.
Those are also the meetings when you can celebrate the victories and
successes, and recommit as a couple to keep the dream alive, grow it or toss
it out.

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