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Counselor's Notebook

Sharing dreams and goals

The problem:
Discouragement over drifting apart.

The goal:
To dream together about the future and then make the dreams come true.

The assignment:
Don't settle for the same old thing.

Instead, make new plans. When you dream together, you start to value each other, and thus feel more connected. Dreams give you shared goals that shift your focus to the future rather than on current problems. Here's a simple method:

  1. Listen to each other carefully as you describe what you'd like to be doing in five years. Consider the areas of marriage, family life, personal growth and career.
  2. Look for at least one area in which your goals overlap, then merge your dreams into one.
  3. Identify any obstacles that could prevent you from realizing your shared dream, and devise ways to deal with each challenge.

The example:
Rob and Sue had hoped to have more time for each other as their toddlers grew into school-aged children, but they became discouraged when time for closeness still seemed out of reach.

They were worried that they had no dreams in common until they realized they both wanted to spend more time camping and backpacking as they had early in their marriage. They turned camping and hiking into a family tradition by saving Sue's vacation days for a two-week summer trip and planning three weekends at a local mountain park. After just one summer, Rob and Sue were convinced their camping trips had created a new bond between them.

Everett L. Worthington, Jr., is professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University and is the author of numerous books and articles on marriage, family and counseling.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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Goals; Marriage; Marriage Struggles
Today's Christian Woman, Fall, 1997
Posted September 12, 2008

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