By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
The Bible says when two marry, they become one flesh (Mark 10:8). Though that reference is often interpreted to be speaking of sex, it is talking about so much more. Marriage is the joining of two lives, of soul and of flesh. It is committing “until death do us part” to each other’s thoughts and dreams, joys and sufferings, hopes and fears. It is a forever support system, and if you commit to staying married, an ever-evolving life.
One of the greatest gifts that God can give us is the opportunity to chase our dreams. If you’re married to a dreamer–and even more so, a doer–you may know full well what it looks like to manage and support the dreams of your spouse. Or perhaps both of you are dreamers and doers. Regardless, there is something special about seeing a couple support each other in their dreams. You may be in this place now, and wondering how to do that yourself.
Here are 5 ways you can support your spouse’s dreams.
This one should almost go without saying; yet, though we know in our minds the importance of prayer, it is one of the things we ignore in the midst of life. Prayer is an essential lifeline for our marriages. It take the focus off of our striving, wisdom and strength and casts our cares upon the Lord. It can soften our hearts and give us a vision for God’s purpose in our lives.
When it comes to supporting your spouse’s dreams, prayer is essential. It can be difficult in the flesh to get on the same page. Hours may be long. Sacrifices may have to be made. When your spouse has a dream that is being fulfilled, you may not be on the same page or even in full support of their dream. Pray. Pray early and often. It will be the difference maker and will set a solid foundation for the days ahead.
2. SPEAK POSITIVE AND REINFORCING WORDS
If you are familiar with the book “The 5 Love Languages,” you will know that one of the five love languages is words of affirmation. For many, this is their top hit. Simply speaking words that are positive and encouraging can set the tone for a day, week, or even month for your spouse.
This is especially true in vulnerable times, and when you or your spouse are taking big risks to follow your dreams. There is so much power in phrases like, “I believe in you,” “You can do this,” “This is what you were made for,” or, “I love you.” It can be so easy to forget the power of words. Life and death are on the tip of our tongues.
Fight the urge to be negative. Your spouse needs to know you believe in them. What may seem insignificant to you could make a world of difference to them. Not good with verbal expression? Leave notes, write cards, and send texts or emails instead. Unity is a beautiful thing in marriage. Your words matter.
3. ASK HOW YOU CAN HELP
The longer you are married, the more likely your roles are to shift throughout your marriage. There may be times when you take the lead in certain areas, and yet others where you play a more behind-the-scenes role. In a perfect world, you and your spouse will compliment each other in your gifts, as it often happens.
Though some giftings may be more easily noticeable, all are important. Very few significant things have ever been accomplished without the work of a team, and there is no more powerful team than a husband and wife on a mission.
If you find yourself in a behind-the-scenes, supportive role, don’t diminish the importance of your position. Ask your spouse how you can help. It could be by stepping up in an area you haven’t before, or maybe taking specific tasks off of their plate for a period of time. It could be scheduling activities differently. To offer help is to strengthen the team, and that’s ultimately better for your marriage and your family. Two is always better than one!
4. BE WILLING TO SACRIFICE
This one is key. More than likely, you and your spouse both carry different dreams and passions. Your marriage will go through seasons. Depending on the season, your level of sacrifice for your spouse will vary.
One of you may be pursuing the dream of a new business. Perhaps going back to school and earning a degree is something one (or both) of you dreams of doing. Maybe your are facing relocation to follow a dream. All of these scenarios involve sacrifice. Marriage is a daily dying to your own desires for the betterment of the two of you. It may not always be easy or natural, but make no mistake–it will be required in some form or fashion as you move through marriage.
Being willing to sacrifice for your spouse sets a tone in your marriage that will strengthen you. If it’s your turn to lay down your own desires for a period of time, do so with joy. Sacrificial love is often the difference between a good marriage and a great one.
5. PURSUE YOUR OWN PASSION
It can be easy to completely lose yourself in your spouse. Even during times of major sacrifice, hold fast to the things that make you come alive. It may be a hobby, a craft, or treating yourself to something you enjoy.
You don’t have to completely lose your identity when it is your turn to sacrifice or take on a different role in marriage. Be honest with your spouse when you are feeling unseen. Stay true to your passions, and know that though they may not be given the time you may like, they are allowing room for you to grow as an individual. Don’t be afraid pursue your own passions in the midst of supporting your spouse’s dreams!
Whatever role you find yourself in currently, take a step back and consider what you can do to support your spouse better. Seeing two operate as one in the context of marriage sets a beautiful example in a world where marriages too easily crumble. Remember, everything is for a season. Consider it a joy to support one another. Your marriage will flourish as you see dreams come to pass alongside each other.