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When “Our Dream” is Better Chased than “My Dream”

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?

7 Responses to When “Our Dream” is Better Chased than “My Dream”

  1. Marvin Nelson July 12, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    This is a conversation Hilary and I have been having a lot. In the past three years with the addition of two kids, she’s felt like her sole purpose is the kids and she can’t think of dreams. I realized in the past year I am called to help her find them, and support them when they come. for so long our examples of men, even great men like A.W. Tozer have shown us to pursue the man’s dream and have the wife’s purpose be inside the home and the kids. I don’t believe that and I will continue to pray purpose and dreams into my wife. Great post, great reminder and men: take heed and help cultivate your wife’s dreams…even if she doesn’t know what they are yet!

  2. Lars July 12, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Great reminder Adam. And also know that I was texted a link to your blog by my wife today. A great reminder to both of us.

    • Adam McLane July 12, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      That’s awesome. Happy to partner with Danielle on this one. :)

  3. Paul July 12, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Nice, Adam. Thanks for this reminder.

  4. Ray Hausler July 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    This comes up a ton in our marriage. Michelle is going back to school this fall to get her teaching license. She’s helped me get my degree, finish a marathon, coach at the high school and so on. It is so easy to get caught up in chasing our own dreams and sacrificing for the other so that those dreams can happen. But, with that, it is also easy to lose sight of the shared dreams we had when we got married. And those conversations usually happen after midnight and the children are in bed.

    Thanks for this reminder Adam.

  5. Brandon July 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    I am not even gonna lie, where you were is where I feel in my life/marriage. We takled a lot at NYWC and on a marriage retreat once about 5 years ago. It was great.

  6. Joshua Rhone July 12, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Adam,

    Great post. Couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m the sort of peron who always has multiple irons in the fire. My wife and kids have been and continue to be incredibly supportive. Yet, I find myself constantly wondering whether it is my dream(s) we are pursuing or our dream(s). Thankfully, my wife let’s me know when I teeter on the verge of caving to my dreams. Like you, I want to see the dreams of my wife and kids realized. However, it is that desire that often drives me to work so hard now.

    So much to process and think about. Thank you!

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