Do you dream and set goals? What are the details…

I’m behind the 8-ball right now and playing catch-up with work and home stuff. It’s like 2020’s drunk cousin, 2021 entered the room and said, “You think 2020 was bad, hold my beer”.

With that said, evaluating last year and setting directions and goals for this year has been a slow and late process personally, at work, and as a couple. Yesterday, DW & I finally got away for about three hrs to a place to just evaluate, talk, and dream about this coming year and a little beyond.

How many of you sit down with your spouse at the end of the year, beginning of the year, or just some time during the year and talk, evaluate, even set goals about your marriage, finances, dreams, calendar, sexuality, romance, communication, issues, etc.? If you do, what do you do? When? Do you get away? Use a list questions, topics, etc?

OR do you have a specific time of the week or month where you sit down as a couple and bring anything to the table? Tony Evans talks about something like that in his marriage. They know that every week problems and issues can get discussed at this meeting so if there’s not time during the week, they have a date breakfast to do so. By doing that, it increases emotional intimacy and doesn’t allow things to grow and fester until someone explodes on the other.

If you do nothing like either of those things, why not? Have you considered it as a way to move the needle of dreaming, emotional connecting, and growing as a couple?

 

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10 Answer(s)

    My husband sets goals and often preaches on it, but we don’t do it together and it’s not my thing personally. I can’t tell you why for sure, but I have a negative reaction towards it. I have become more of a one day at a time person and a “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble of its own.”…. I would guess it has to do with freeing myself from anxiety, and learning to be present in the moment.

    Just the other day, while my husband and I were in the car, he asked, “Is there anything you want to do this year?” It was a quick answer of “nope”. What I WANT to do, and what must be, are two different things…..because I honestly want to pull an Elijah (running and hiding in a cave somewhere 😉 )

    I have done some introspection on “dreaming” in the past, when I thought I didn’t really have dreams and a friend challenged me on it. I came to a couple of conclusions, 1) I did have some dreams, and 2) I didn’t share them much because “Why? They didn’t really matter.” They didn’t either match my husband’s idea of a dream and/or he often dismissed them with practicality of “we don’t have the money.” And it could be a very simple dream of wanting a new bedset or a diamond anniversary band, or something much bigger for retirement years, but he had his list of why that “dream” wouldn’t work. When I did finally recognize what was going on, I did call him on what he was doing to me, and he changed. And I realize now, literally right now, he was confirming the message I got growing up, my thoughts and what I wanted really didn’t matter, I got what I got, so I learned to just adapt with what I had and take care of myself.

    Under the stars Answered on January 9, 2021.

    SC said, ” I got what I got, so I learned to just adapt with what I had and take care of myself.”

    You know, for those of us in totally committed marriages who are raising children and working to support them this is not a bad way to think at times.

    on January 9, 2021.

    It’s learning contentment, which I believe can be done without totally dismissing another’s dreams.

    on January 9, 2021.

    Yes, SC. It’s a real problem sometimes. Yesterday, I found myself starting to downplay DW’s dream about a bigger cost house project and caught myself. I was wrong and had to apologize.  I always want her to feel heard, understood and keep our communication open.  I’ll share more in my post later.

    Dreams are just that and while I/we may have legitimate reasons why we shouldn’t, I don’t have the right to squash her dream in the dream discussion phase. She has a voice and I asked her for her opinion & ideas so I had no right to tell her the reasons we can’t or shouldn’t. I had to stop a couple times and apologize for doing that. Yes, mine reasons were legit BUT one of the goals in creative brainstorming is to keep the ideas coming and not stop them with reasons why. Allow them to come in the creative phase until you are in the get real phase. Even then, a creative and sometimes better solution can appear when forced to find work-arounds for supposedly impossible or improbable goals.

    And yes, BOTH of us are having to learn contentment and sacrifice in order to accomplish the goal of getting her through school and maintaining some of our house, ministry and financial goals all while I’m the only breadwinner for the next two years. 

    on January 9, 2021.

    SC, it seems like one of your “dreams” or values is “family” with all the kids and grandkids you have around.

    One of our long term goals/dreams is to have the money to rent a place every couple yrs big enough to house our kids (five total between us) and their families when they occur (we’re not rushing them!!!!). We want to say, “you get there and we’ll pay for the housing and an experience for all of us”.

    on January 10, 2021.

    I have always been very intentional with my family and we have a family mission that I believe I wrote because of homeschooling… it’s really only pulled out to go over when we graduate a kid. 😆 I don’t live without purpose just because I don’t, and likely never will, write out or set yearly goals.

    on January 10, 2021.
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      On the road taking boy back to college so I am on  my phone and will likely edit my answer later. I am  the planner; DW is not. I do not like to use our getaways to do this. It makes them more stressful and our getaways are to connect spiritually, emotionally and physically. But, as we near retirement and all the planning that entails, we find ourselves talking all the time about plans relating to that. Just today on the six hour round trip, we talked the entire time about our future.  It made the trip go really fast.  On dreams, DW has a couple of great business ideas for herself in retirement. I really hope she can pull them off.  DW has told me a hundred times, “I will never be bored in retirement.”  And, that’s probably true, she has a lot of irons in the fire.  Sometimes, I think I’d like to be bored for a  day or two.

      Fell out of ... Answered on January 9, 2021.
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        We don’t have a specific, regular time where we discuss problems or dreams and stuff like that. We just do as necessary or when it comes up.

        I would love to, but the biggest reason we don’t is because DH lacks the ability to even pretend or let himself go and imagine anything. He does not set goals as he thinks plans change too much, so why would he waste time? Finances, we discuss whenever the need arises. Problems, same thing, although the best discussion on any marriage related problems work best during a hot soak in the tub.

        We have tried to discuss retirement dreams and goals, but right now they are so vastly different. I have such stress right now that it’s all I can do to just survive. One of DH’s retirement dreams is travelling and I HATE travelling, so it’s better that we don’t discuss that right now. It’s a tasshopper on my back that adds to the load. I did tell him we would have to figure something out so that we would both be happy. I don’t want to be like some older couples who can’t have pets or houseplants because they are always gone.

        Under the stars Answered on January 9, 2021.

        Sorry, lol, a grasshopper on my back. Not sure how that other got in there. On phone so I can’t edit.

        on January 9, 2021.

        I would love to, but the biggest reason we don’t is because DH lacks the ability to even pretend or let himself go and imagine anything. 

        Brynna, I have come to the conclusion that our DHs are twins separated at birth! 😆

        One of DH’s retirement dreams is travelling and I HATE travelling

        We are the reverse of this, and I had a thought just this morning that if we can’t travel, maybe we could get creative and take pretend trips. Like, there’s a new wings place opening up with a tropical theme and I thought we could spend a weekend thinking tropical with a visit to the restaurant, coconut scented candles or wax warmers, a beach movie, and sex on a thick blanket on the floor or outside in the sun. I assume if I give it more thought I could come up with more, although on the other hand a lot of it involves the combination of a restaurant with a theme, a movie or movies that match, scents and decorations and soundtracks that add to it and sex on unusual surfaces. It’s not the same, but it could be a satisfying fill-in, if we work at it. (I’d rather do that than travel without him, which is what he always offers.)

        on January 9, 2021.

        I only know two people right now who travel without their spouses. One does because the spouse has run his own business and won’t stop even after the adult sons took over. He’ll die working there and the other’s husband doesn’t like to leave his lazy boy. Both individuals came to their own conclusion that they wanted to go places and if he wasn’t going to go, they would do it in their own.

        Duchess, I can’t imagine what that feels like after so many years of marriage but I pray you’ll find something that’ll work.

        on January 10, 2021.

        I really haven’t been fair to him; he has forced himself to go on trips with me throughout our marriage. I guess the part I am really missing is the joint dreaming and planning about it. I dream and plan, he endures.  :/  BUT: he does do that much, so he deserves credit for that.

        on January 10, 2021.

        My husband has some travel dreams (Israel, Africa, etc)  that I give him my blessing to go and enjoy without me.  There are some places and things I have ZERO desire to go and do.  But one man who has a mission over in Africa, whose wife felt the same way, asked me, “If your kids went, would it change your mind?”, because that’s what got his wife over there the first few times, and then she loved it.  The answer was, “yes”, because the mama bear comes out and someone needs to watch out for them…. and as my mom used to tell me on what motivated her to do certain things was, “If you kids are going to die, we’ll all die together.”  😯  😆  ….. and I wonder why I had such anxiety issues!  😉  I’m not sure if that can be a motivator for any of your spouses, or maybe they feel as I do, and would be totally fine having you go, or going, without you.

        on January 10, 2021.

        I have to laugh: the prospect of his kid going won’t sway my DH. She briefly considered going to college in Europe. His response was, “See you in 4 years.” ROFLOL!!

        on January 13, 2021.
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          Personally, I like to use natural breaks of seasons and life to use for evaluation and planning. While DW & I have regular rhythms of life and communication about our dreams and goals, I thought we’d take some time so I arranged for us to head to an empty ministry place and sit with some warm drinks and work through something from FamilyLife (30 questions on body image, sex, faith & upbringing) and then just talk about the next year, parenting, financial stuff, vacation plans, work and family calendars, etc.

          I believe dreaming and setting goals help couples increase communication. It helps people talk about vision and values which increasing intimacy. I’ve seen a couple on the brink of divorce go through Financial Peace University and talk about money, fears, values, dreams, etc. They ended up putting their marriage back together and credited going through FPU and talking about those things saved their marriage.

          As I shared above with SC, I squelched a couple of DW’s home project ideas during the dreaming phase and had to apologize because I was wrong to do so, During the dreaming phase, the ideas are supposed to flow because it’s more important to hear her and for us to dialogue about the reason and why about their importance to each other. I’ll learn….some day. =/

          The following links are some ideas to consider doing yourself and with your spouse. The one word goals I’ve heard on SEXY MARRIAGE RADIO and some other places.  Could be a noun, adjective or verb. My phrase is  “baby steps” for 2021. I shared it with my teams and challenged them to make 1-3 words or simple phrases that are memorable, actionable and even measureable.

           

           

          SETTING GOALS TOGETHER (Focus on the Family)

          https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/setting-goals-together-for-the-new-year/

          ONE WORD GOALS (Mark Merrill)

          http://www.markmerrill.com/forget-new-resolutions-remember-one-word

           

           

          Under the stars Answered on January 9, 2021.
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            I’ve tried many times to get him to do this. I read long ago about the importance of setting goals and working toward them together, and more recently about the concept of having a family ministry–something we all care deeply about and pour our energy and creativity into together in the name of Jesus. It’s supposed to bond the whole family together, teach our daughter about service, and ideally fulfill a purpose God has for us. I envision us choosing a charity that we throw our whole-hearted support to and volunteer regularly, or identifying some need that we can fulfill from our own resources while inspiring others to join us.  At one point I was certain a fabulous family ministry for us would be to become a foster family and welcome a child who could really use a Dad, a Mom, a Sister, and Jesus. Hubby never felt that call, though, so we didn’t do that. As a matter of fact, DH doesn’t seem to feel called or drawn to any cause or need. I sometimes feel drawn to something, suggest it to him, he prays about it, and…nothing. He never hears anything. So nothing ever happens.

            One reason is he is just not a long-term planner. He takes life as it comes, fulfills his responsibilities, handles problems as they arise, serves the Lord by doing whatever needs doing. For a while there was one dream he mentioned with half-hearted enthusiasm, but now is so convinced he is not up to the challenge he doesn’t even want to consider it anymore. (I have never, to my knowledge, discouraged him about it; just the opposite!) He always seems perfectly happy to let me make out my list and agree with everything I say, except when I talk about another bathroom and he says we can never do that because the property only perked for what we have. (Don’t perk tests change sometimes? Isn’t it worth at least checking instead of just assuming we can never add another bathroom??)

            Oh sure, he’ll say he’d like to get healthier, get the yard in better shape, have more sex. He will sketch plans for amazing additions to the house that we won’t be able to afford for years and years (if ever), but I can’t remember him EVER saying any variation of, “I’d really like to do this Big Thing. Let’s see how we can make that happen!”

            It’s true that some of the big things other people plan are simply irrelevant for us: we don’t need or want a new house, he has no desire for a different job, travel plans are a matter of me coming up with something I think he might be able to stand and then talking him into it, and we don’t buy new cars or have expensive hobbies. But that just means we ought to have room in our life for a Thing of Importance that leaves a mark and helps people. I so wish something would grab him by the heart and fuel his passion!

            It’s a little bit of a tangent to the original question, but to me, a family Purpose would be a great anchor point for all our goals and plans. Otherwise, the things I’m putting on the lists he always agrees with are just temporary things.

            Under the stars Answered on January 9, 2021.

            Yes, a family purpose is a nice set point to which you can measure your movement, direction or success towards or away from it.

            on January 10, 2021.
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              Both DH and I are big planners. Our jobs have trained us in that, as both our jobs require heavy planning and review.  On an individual level personally, we both use time management methods, and personal planning and review.  We are still working on that as a couple though. One of our financial advisors talked about setting weekly and monthly financial reviews that would involve goal planning.  I think that is a good goal for us for 2021.  In the past I just ended up emailing a weekly/monthly  financial review to him and our time together would get pushed as our weekly schedule filled up.
              DH and I both LOVE travel and have always made it a priority. We make sure to go away by ourselves at least once every year.  We do a lot of dreaming about travel together

              Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on January 9, 2021.

              Good for you guys working together.. We will have a lot of financial conversations this yr as I’m the only one working outside the home as DW’s in school and while my p/t hobby usually pays for the extras, this yr it’ll probably have to help pay for some savings goals beyond the usually HSA, car, and extra projects money.

              on January 10, 2021.
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                I think spouses can really differ here, often because of personality and background. I always have specific ideas and plans for the future, small and large, while my wife is much more day-to-day.

                One day we were having a conversation about future plans for the next few years; I intended it to be a happy conversation, but it got tense instead, which I didn’t expect. Finally she said, “Do you realize you were raised to dream? I wasn’t.” And it’s true – in my family we were always coming up with new ideas and activities, and I was encouraged to set my sights high for education and a career. Her family rarely tried new things and mostly stuck to what needed to be done.  But the difference never really occurred to me because I thought everyone thought like I did.

                Since that conversation and realization, we have gotten better at understanding our different orientations to the future and how we can adapt to this.

                King bed Answered on January 10, 2021.
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                  At the end of every year, I look back at the past year of what we got done and accomplished. I always set some goals for a new year, wife does not. She will say “ok” and that is about it. I ask her if the goals are ok and says sure. That is about it, she is not a planner for the future.

                  On the floor Answered on January 10, 2021.
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                    Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” However, a verse that means much to me in recent years, and it certain applies to 2020 and 2021 is: Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but IT is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21. So, plan as you glorify and honor the Lord.

                    Under the stars Answered on January 10, 2021.
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                      I am naturally a planner and planning was always very critical to any success in my profession (general contractor.)  What I did at work, I did at home, and planning and monitoring  progress against the plan came naturally for me but not so much for DW.   And for me, planning was always much more than simply verbalizing an objective or something I wanted to accomplish, change, do,  be, etc.  It was written down with specific metrics where our progress was measurable and there was clear understanding whether the goal had been achieved or not… at least for most things.  DW was always supportive of my goals and enjoyed the fruits of my efforts financially, materially, etc. but her nature is to focus more on the near-term and take a “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it” approach.  So, for the things that mattered to me, I planned and she followed, and for the things that were not that important to me, we took her approach.  Over time, we learned which was which and it has worked out fine for us.

                      Growing up, having enough money was always a problem in my FOO and I developed a compulsion to save as a young teenager…  determination that I/we would never be  destitute was a driver so living within our means and saving for retirement came very easily for me (us) and has, so far at least, served us well.  I am blessed that DW’s values are such that she never felt that we needed to “keep up with the Joneses” or to show off, and she is naturally very generous (sometimes to a fault in that her desire to “rescue” sometimes interfered with “life lessons” our boys and others needed to experience growing up.)  Like everyone else, over the course of our 46 yr marriage we went through some pretty tough times financially and our values and true source of security was tested.  She passed with flying colors and demonstrated that she loved ME, not the money that I was previously earning.  That meant a lot to me.   She already believed (and I learned) that Jesus’s promises in Matthew 6:25-34 are true.  Our faith is in Jesus, not our bank account, and we both strive to be worthy stewards of the material wealth and time that He’s entrusted us with.    So, 21 months into retirement, we are both enjoying the fruits of our labor and I continue to monitor our retirement plan and tweak it as we go, but only as a steward, not an owner.  Besides managing our finances and investments, another outlet for my compulsion is planning our travel in retirement… we can’t wait to go again when Europe opens back up.

                      As far as planning and setting goals for our MB, we are much more spontaneous and opportunistic now that our nest is empty.   She already knows I would like to open up the playbook a bit more, and exactly how… but I don’t dwell on it and will open up that conversation again after some health issues she’s having and which are being addressed have been resolved.

                      On the floor Answered on January 10, 2021.

                      As my wife and I have been on this journey, it’s been an interesting experience. She’s all about experiences and I’m still about saving money…especially entering the twilight of my working career and an 11 yrs difference back to her. I always feel the need to provide and protect her, even if I’m gonna be dead.

                      DW never had money in her first marriage because of her ex’s philandering and then starting a business so money was always going out for child support or to start his business. Now she knows grocery money will be in the bank every week and she’s been on more vacations and traveled to more than just family homes in four yrs vs her 15+ yrs with her ex.. We also enjoy having a budget line item for “being a blessing” to someone as a need arises or just because, which is beyond the normal tithe line.

                      on January 10, 2021.
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