Most of us grew up with a fantasy dream relationship, of finding the “perfect person” and living “happily ever after.” But sometimes, real life is somewhat of a letdown. Life gets busy. The relationship feels stale or becomes highly conflicted. There are bills to pay, diapers to change, meals to cook and projects to complete. Before long, we lament that we don’t have anything in common anymore. We feel empty, unfulfilled and disconnected. We begin to travel solitary, parallel paths.
This is an all too common experience with couples: The bliss of romance is followed by the drudgery of parallel lives. But having a fairy tale marriage doesn’t happen automatically. Without a map in hand, your relationship can become aimless and chaotic, and you will engage in random, stopgap behaviors to cope with your problems and conflicts. Most likely, the relationship you now have is a creation of your separate desires and needs. You and your partner are trying to bring your individual dreams into reality, to your mutual frustration. You have no common, expressed relationship dream.
But working together intentionally on a relationship vision turns your energy away from past and present disappointments toward a more hopeful future, the future you want to create. A shared vision synthesizes separate dreams, desires, values and needs. This joint creation becomes your conscious dream and your new reality. You may not be able to have the relationship of your private dreams, but you can co-create a new ideal relationship.
The first step is to separately define what you want your relationship to look like. How would you feel? What would you be doing? Ask yourself questions such as:
- How do you feel toward each other?
- What do you do together?
- What is your sex life like?
- How do you relate to each other around money?
- What does co-parenting look like?
Separately, write down a series of statements that help define your relationship dream. And write them in the present tense – as if they are happening now. For example, “We cook dinners together frequently.” “We trust each other.” “We laugh together every day.”
The second step is to carve out some uninterrupted time with your partner and share these dream statements. Find the statements you have in common and/or agree with and put a check mark next to them. (It’s okay if you don’t agree on all the statements. Put those aside for now.) Combine together the checked statements and write, on a separate piece of paper, a joint “Our Relationship Vision.” Read them out loud to each other every day for 30 days.
This is the first two steps in creating a Relationship Vision. Take these steps this week and begin to create the relationship of your dreams.