It’s impossible to chase a dream without fellow “believers.” When our friends and family believe in us, they propel us forward. They give us the strength we need to push through the self-doubt and fatigue.
This is true for getting started with writing, launching a business, or pursuing any passion.
For those of us who are married, we depend on our spouses more than anyone else. Without their support, we make little progress toward our goals. We don't become all we can be without their assistance.
So how do we enlist our spouses in our life's work — especially when they're hesitant to help or slow to understand?
Share your needs
Unless your spouse is a fellow writer or artist or architect (fill in the blank with your vocation), she isn't going to understand your needs. So help her out:
- Be honest and realistic about your schedule.
- Share the details of when and where you work best.
- Set reasonable expectations, and ask for support in reaching your goals.
When your spouse knows what you need, he is more able to help you make your dream a reality.
I found myself regularly getting frustrated when my husband Erv would interrupt me or ask questions while I was writing. The break in concentration often derailed me and I’d get angry.
In return, he felt unappreciated and ignored. This did not help our marriage or my writing — which is about marriage, ironically.
Once I shared how I work best when I have large chunks of uninterrupted time, Erv was able to provide it for me. We created specific windows of time for my writing and he planned his own work and other activities during that time.
The change in expectations made a huge difference in our relationship.
Stick to your limits
Once you express your needs and establish a schedule that works for you both, stick to your word. It’s easy to push the envelope and go beyond the time-frame you agreed to. This is a daily temptation for me.
When I’m writing, I can take up to an hour to simply focus. Once I get rolling, I don’t want to stop.
I’m obsessive about finishing and thrive on goals and deadlines. Whatever target I’ve set for the day, I’m determined to reach it before my time runs out.
If you don’t have a family or other commitments, this works out fine. But when you have a spouse and three kids waiting for you to re-engage, you need to stop.
It’s tough to put on the breaks once the creative juices are flowing, but sticking to the limits you agreed on is essential to a healthy relationship.
You honor your spouse and your marriage by keeping your word.
Stay humble and serve
When your spouse supports your needs and gives you room to write or make crafts or become an entrepreneur, you'll start to experience some success.
This is wonderful and worth celebrating (every milestone reached deserves a good dance party). But don’t forget how you arrived at this achievement.
Without the sacrifices of your spouse, success would not be possible. Her belief in you when you felt like you were failing is indispensable. Recognize the critical role she plays in your progress.
Every moment our spouses free us up to pursue our dreams, they are serving us. Let's be quick to serve them in return:
- What are their dreams and goals?
- How can you support those dreams and help make them happen?
- Do they know how much we believe in them?
Without my husband Erv, all my success wouldn't have been possible. I’m thankful to have someone who supports my passion and makes this incredible adventure possible.
How have you enlisted the support of a spouse? Has his/her belief in you enabled you to succeed? Share in the comments.
*Photo credit: ComeliMare (Creative Commons)