A few weeks ago Kristen and I both woke up in the middle of the night. Apparently 2 AM is the only time parents of 3 young kids can have a long talk without interruptions to ask us if it’s OK to watch TV or a dirty diaper or someone getting hungry.
We talked for about 2 hours. After 15 years of marriage we know that there are times when marriage kind of gets lonely. We were in that space… doing everything together but never really being together. We recognized that most of our communication throughout the day was logistical. We talked a ton, but more about who was doing what or when we were going to do stuff than we were really talking and listening to one another. It wasn’t that anything was wrong it was just that we had fallen into a military mindset where we talked plans of attack more than we really talked.
I don’t know why we each woke up in the middle of the night. (Um, equally small bladders I guess?) But I think God was in this conversation.
We started talking about some of the dreams we are chasing. Big stuff like raising our kids a certain way. Smaller stuff like dreams of connecting deeper with our neighborhood and our vacation to Yosemite and Paul’s birthday party.
Here’s the kicker. And this was the thing that has really shaped my actions in the past few weeks since this conversation happened:
I don’t ever want to chase my own dreams so hard that Kristen pays the price. I don’t want “Adam chasing his dreams” to mean that Kristen loses the opportunity to chase her own dreams. It’s no fun to succeed at stuff if we aren’t both excited about it and both winning. And, more importantly, I want Kristen and I to chase our dreams together. I don’t ever want to give up our dreams that we shared as 19 year olds walking along Lake Michigan or when I worked so that she could finish her degree, on and on. I’m willing to give up some of my dreams for that…
Dreaming with Kristen is what I want. Two people chasing their own dreams but kind of coexisting? I’ll leave that to the Clinton’s.
That perspective has changed things. I think it means I do less stuff on my own somehow. And I think it re-orientates how we dream about actually accomplishing stuff.
There’s no denying it. Launching 2 businesses over the past year has taxed us all as a family. It is beautiful to see this dream become a reality and we are reaping the rewards and Lord willing we’ll reap the rewards of this past 12 months for many years to come. But there has been a very real cost for everyone to pay, as well. (This is a cost hundreds of thousands of small business owners pay. I’m not alone in this!)
At the same time, Kristen and I need to consistently check-in with one another. (Even if it’s at 2 AM!) Are we chasing our own dreams alone? Or are we intentionally, self-sacrificingly, chasing a better dream together?
Fellow dreamers: What about you? How do make sure that you dream together instead of chasing individual dreams in your marriage?