By: Logan Everett, MA, LMFTA
Read Part 1 & Part 2 of this three part series before continuing below. The two previous articles give us a foundation for relationships and marriages as we move to our final steps to having a deeper, more intimate connection and marriage with the person that we love the most.
Over this past weekend I was asked to be apart of the 2016 FCF Marriage Retreat hosted by Franklin Christian Fellowship Church. When I was initially asked, I thought, “Sure! I would love to speak for one session or two.” However, the more information I received, I realized that I would be the only person to speak. I soon began to think – what should I talk about?
I began thinking of the theme for the retreat and eventually landed on this: “Making Life Dreams Come True.”
At the beginning on the weekend I posed two questions to the 16 couples in attendance:
- What are my dreams?
- How do we achieve those dreams?
A common phrase I say to my wife is “just dream with me.”
Regardless of how illogical or how crazy the dream may be, my wife will listen and she will smile at me and tell me how adventurous I am or simply say, “Wow! That is a great goal!” But what happens when my goal or dream isn’t the same or even goes against my wife’s dream? We now look to our last steps towards a better marriage:
Making Life Dreams Come True & Creating Shared Meaning
Most of our dreams and meaning comes from our childhood experiences. For example, eating dinner as a family was your way of connecting with your mother and father bringing the family closer together every night at the table. Another example could be the symbolism of a tulip. For you it may represent the days after losing a parent and the tulip represents new life and rebirth – a way to honor your loved one and a source of comfort through grief and pain.
When couples build shared meaning and respect and honor dreams – they enrich their relationship and family life.
This is not a common occurrence in the modern family. Many couples live life on autopilot. They work, eat, drink, raise children, make money, go on vacation, and maybe have small moments of connection and deep intimacy as husbands and wives. Hidden dreams or dreams or dreams not honored can become a source of negativity and tension in your relationship. The beauty of these 7 Steps is that they form a loop that ensures that as you work on each step, it becomes easier (and more natural) to work and live the others.
4 Pillars of Shared Meaning
- Create Rituals of Connection
- Establish a structured event or routine (such as eating dinner together without the television) that you both enjoy and depend on that both reflects and reinforces your sense of togetherness.
- Support for Each Other’s Roles
- Our sense of our place in the world is based largely on the roles we play. We are husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, colleagues and friends. When we have similar views on what our roles are in the family – our marriage will feel more profound and significant.
- Shared Goals
- The first step is asking ourselves what our goals are. As I mentioned, many individuals do not think about their own goals in life. When we have shared goals, not only will intimacy increase in your marriage, but you can begin to make a path toward making your bond even richer.
- Shared Values and Symbols
- These are those philosophical positions that guide how you wish to conduct your lives. Faith may be the foundation for some, but for those who are not religious may have a belief and value system created by a specific culture or perspectives that informs their decisions they make. Symbols may be actual items or items that are intangible.
To read Part 1 and Part 2 of this 3 part series, please begin here. My work and practice is dedicated to helping couples in their relationships. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a session, please email me or call (317) 572-7411.