The other day I was out walking and I just popped into a furniture store that was along the path that I was on. It occurred to me as I walked in how long it had been since I was in a furniture store and more importantly how much just being in a furniture store has been part of the dreaming that has been part of our life together. I told Bob when I got home that we needed to dream more. We then had a discussion about how we used to visit model homes and dream about owning one different than the one we were living in. Then we’d visit furniture stores and dream about the rooms we could furnish. We began doing this when we first began to seriously be interested in having a future together. It has had as an extra bonus that it didn’t require us to spend money. In the current housing and financial crisis model homes are rare and besides we live in what is the closest to the dream home we will ever have and it is pretty much furnished. We then lapsed into a discussion of how we might renew dreaming and how it might have a more prominent place in our lives together. It’s not that we don’t dream anymore but many of the dreams we once had have been fulfilled. We are married, we do own a beautiful home, we have had 4 children who are now adults, we had great careers that were very rewarding, we travel and continue to do so and we’ve written a book which was long on our dream list. So the question for us that day, and it continues, is where we can find ways to dream again. For me I think part of it is roaming through furniture stores and roam just as we have done through the years, not so much with interest in purchasing but to spend time together and share moments with each other. The challenge before us is to continue to explore new ways of dreaming without losing some of what we once had.
This leads to some other questions. What part should dreams play in any marriage? What are the effects of no longer dreaming or having dreams together? How many of your dreams have you let slip away? How many of your dreams have come true and have not been replaced by new ones? What effect has that had on your intimacy? For us, I’m looking forward to going away this weekend to celebrate our anniversary. We are going to a resort town and I’m looking forward to roaming through some shops with Bob and just have some time to make funny comments to each other, to bounce ideas for decorating off Bob, and to not be concerned about what needs to be done at home. All of that will help us focus a little more on dreaming again. Somehow for me going to The Home Depot to purchase electrical and plumbing parts for our bathroom remodeling project isn’t exactly dreaming although putting the plan together to get where we are has been a fun journey of dreaming.
When we were dating we had many dreams for our future. We went into furniture stores and talked about the styles we liked and didn’t like. We discussed the features of our dream home, which I hoped to design and maybe build. We dreamed of children, how many, and whether we cared how many boys and how many girls (we didn’t). We had discussions about future jobs and where we wanted to live. We anticipated travel around the U.S. and into foreign countries. We had no money and didn’t anticipate that we would ever by wealthy, so many of our dreams, especially the most expensive ones, were hopes that might be fulfilled at some time years into the future. In the early years of our marriage, some of those dreams started to come true. We started a family that grew to four children and now includes 3 in-law children and 7 grandchildren. We live that as an ongoing joy in being with them and watching them work on their dreams. After a few years we purchased a house. It wasn’t our dream house, but we had some good years there and the dream house remained a dream to be realized in the future. Eventually we bought the closest thing to our dream house that we ever expect to live in. I didn’t design it but I love living in it and working with Rita to get it furnished to our satisfaction. My job plans didn’t work out as anticipated, but the teaching job I had for most of my career was a great source of satisfaction and, looking back, had the fit for me of a dream job. I also got to teach religion for three years – something I never expected to do. For years people encouraged us to write a book and that became a dream, which we accomplished. As our family grew we managed to travel in inexpensive ways by driving and camping and around the country. As the children grew up and left home we were able to pick up on foreign travel, which has been a source of great adventure and joy for us
Now we find that many of the early dreams have been come true in our lives. The daily responsibility for children is over, we have a wonderful home and anticipate that any future move will be to downsize. We are finished with our life careers. Suddenly we find that some of the things that were part of our dreams, like touring model homes and looking at furniture have slipped away and don’t carry the same expectations for the future. As Rita pointed out to me in the last couple of days, we don’t seem to be dreaming as much as we have in the past. Since we have been telling others that it is important to dream throughout your life and that we want to always have dreams, this is a heads up for us.
As I started to think about our future and dreaming I realized that our future dreams have to be different from our dreams of the past. While we have talked about the possibility of moving and downsizing, it has been rather general and vague. Maybe it would be good for us to take a serious look at what our dream retirement home would look like and where it would be located, what climate and other considerations would we require. We certainly have dreams for travel, with a list of places we would like to see in the U.S. and around the world. We are currently planning a trip through the southwestern U.S. in the coming winter and a possible Holy Land trip next summer. We know that our future travel will eventually have to account for aging, and we have had beginning discussions about the places we might go and modes of travel we might use when that becomes necessary. We have had some discussion about future writing projects and other ways we hope to continue to help others. We will accomplish part of that dream as well as travel when we teach in Haiti this fall.
As we age the timelines for our dreams necessarily become shorter, but we need to always have a dream, something we can hope to accomplish in the days, weeks, and years that remain in our lives.
We hope that in this last month of the summer you will find a little time to dream together. Dream about some alone time together, a dream trip for the two of you or how you’d like to spend the next stage of your marriage together. I remember our dreaming about having children, dreaming what it would be like when they would sleep through the night, or when they would all be in school, when they would be done with college and a lot about what we might be able to do with some of the dreams we had together when we paid the last college tuition bill.
It is not that we haven’t been dreaming. I think it is more that we’ve taken it for granted. Like all things in our relationship, nothing should be taken for granted. In the process this week several songs came to mind and I know I’m showing my age but here they are: Dream, Dream, Dream by the Everly Brothers, Dream a Little Dream of Me by the Mamas and Papas and The Impossible Dream from The Man of La Mancha. Perhaps you could start your dream discussion by sharing your favorite “dream” song. Whatever you do we hope, like us, that you will continue to dream.
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