Take Flight With Me

Love is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Author of The Little Prince

As kids, it was easy for us to dream big beautiful dreams. For some of us, we envisioned being renowned scientists, world-famous artists, or chart-topping singers. But as we got older, those dreams likely faded and gave way to life’s routines and responsibilities that reality brought. Throw work, marriage and child-rearing into the mix and we have a myriad other challenges to face. Suddenly, it just doesn’t seem possible to dream beautiful dreams anymore when we’re stuck in survival mode.

But here’s the deal: dreaming - and especially dreaming together, as a couple - can greatly enhance your marital intimacy. There is something beautiful about two souls imagining a future together and then working every day toward that distant vision or goal. Dreaming implies that you and your spouse anticipate a hopeful future together. And it deepens your level of intimacy and connection because it allows you to look into your mate’s heart. This is the essence of “two becoming one” in marriage! Instead of two people going in different directions and pursuing their own goals, a merging occurs.

Eager to experience the beauty of dreaming together in your marriage? Here are some things you might like to introduce to your marriage for a great start to a brand new year!

Start the year off right
Begin the year with your spouse by going on an intimate retreat together. Use this special time-off as a couple to give each other undivided attention as you re-evaluate priorities and dream together about what the plan for your lives in the year ahead is.

Consider enjoying a staycation at a local resort or a short weekend getaway to a nearby country. If not, enlist the help of a trusted relative or friend to help babysit and go for coffee with your spouse for several hours. The important thing is getting uninterrupted time - as a couple - to focus on shared expectations and priorities for the year.

Partnership and priorities
It is very easy to get carried away making long lists of resolutions and plans that prove tough to keep and carry out. When it comes to prioritizing, C.S. Lewis has given incredible insight when he shared that there are only three things to be done:

  1. the ought-to-dos,
  2. the have-to-dos and
  3. the like-to-dos.

If you use Lewis’ categories to guide your priorities, for ought-to-dos, you and your spouse can ask “What should we be doing to enhance our marriage and family life?” Answers can include “Loving each other more, nurturing our kids, volunteering, eating less and exercising more.” Plan a couple of activities under each priority to help you and your spouse achieve your goals for your ought-to-dos. For example, activities that help you and your spouse love each other more could include scheduling regular date nights or starting a daily habit of sending each other a short text message or handwritten note.

When you consider have-to-dos – everything from organizing paperwork for taxes, debt-repayment to scheduling house and car maintenance could make up this list. Write them down to ensure they get done so that payments and appointments don’t get missed and there will be one less source of tension and stress in your marriage. If you and your spouse both agree that you need to work on conflict resolution skills, then one have-to-do activity would possibly be signing up for a marriage enrichment workshop or reading a marriage resource that helps both of you deal with marital conflict in a healthy way.

The joy is moving on to like-to-dos. You can ask, “What do we love to do together?” It could consist of picking up a hobby together, having friends over for dinner and going to the movies – activities that help both of you enjoy more of each other’s company. You can also consider how you spend your family time. For example, going on hikes at any of the off-shore islands or nature reserves, playing sports together, visiting amusement parks, bicycling – basically any fun-filled activities that help you and your family members bond with each other.

Once you make your own list of things you should do, have to do and like to do, then guard them. Put them on your to-do list and calendar first, before less important things crowd them out.

The power of routine
For all the power of partnership and priorities, your efforts to dream up a new year together will be short-lived if they don’t become part of your routine. This goes for date nights, family dinners, personal time, exercise time, car and house maintenance, everything.

Everyone has the same amount of time - 24 hours a day, so be careful to not be sloppy with yours. Manufacturing more time isn't possible, but you can make excellent use of what you have by allocating time to do things that you and your spouse have planned to. If you carve out the time and stick with it, your priorities will become habits and your goals will become reality.

Next year, that power of routine may motivate you to head off again to review the past year - and dream up another beautiful year together.

Adapted from Back to the Future by Focus on the Family and Dreaming Together For the New Year by Steve and Candice Watters . Copyright ©2014 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

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