Be A Bucket List Spouse
As the helicopter containing my husband took off and hovered just feet off the ground – awaiting final clearance for take-off – tears stung my eyes. This day was something I had been planning for almost six months; something I never thought we could afford. But when a big-ticket item we had been budgeting for fell through, I saw the chance and I took it!
I surprised my husband with a helicopter lesson for our thirteenth wedding anniversary. And though this was over five years ago, it's still a day we both talk about so very fondly.
The tears were partly tears of joy, so excited to be a part of my husband getting to do something he’s dreamed of his whole life; part of it tears of gratitude as I came to a stark and joyful realization…
In our—then 13, now 18 years of marriage—we have made a LOT of mistakes, done a lot of things wrong. But we have done one thing consistently right:
We have been about the business of making each other’s dreams come true.
It all began on our honeymoon when he made sure we were in the right place at the right time so I could pet a bottle nose dolphin—something I’d wanted to do my whole life. It was one of my dreams; silly to some, but not to him—because it was my dream.
I have always wanted to have children, for as long as I can remember. My husband has fulfilled that dream times three!
He has always dreamed of soaring above the clouds—something which terrifies the living tar out of me! So early in our marriage when he wanted to take steps to earn his private pilot’s license, my gut reaction was to say ‘no.’ I wanted him safe with me… on the ground. However, I realized that supporting and empowering him to follow his dreams has little or nothing to do with me or my own preferences. So, with much fear and trembling, I supported him the whole way. He just glowed after each lesson, and I had a deep satisfaction and joy knowing I had a small part in that.
I love to write. It feeds my soul. Yet it is not always easy to find the time, energy, and quiet that writing good quality content needs. He sacrifices time he could be tackling projects or working, or time he could be resting, to hang out with the kiddos so I can write on a regular basis.
I couldn’t begin to list entirely the dreams we’ve helped one another achieve. Some are bigger than others—like going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Others are smaller and more ongoing—you see his amazing photos all over my blog.
You don’t always have to spend big money or big time. Sometimes its the simple whispering of, “I believe in you,” in the dark of night that empowers them to embrace their dream and the day when the sun rises. Sometimes its arranging the household schedule to support the time needed in pursuit of his dream.
When you spoke those vows and became one, this mysterious thing happened: their hopes and dreams became your hopes and dreams, and vice versa. What pains him should pain you. What brings him joy should bring you joy. When one part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts with it, right?
Alternately, when one part of the body rejoices, the whole body rejoices with it! So in a marriage, we are harming ourselves just as much as our spouse when we choose to disregard or belittle the things that are meaningful to them. We don’t have to share those same interests for ourselves (I have no interest in learning to fly a helicopter or play sports on a regular basis), but if its a dream to them, we need to do everything in our power to support that. (Of course, I’m not talking about making irresponsible financial decisions or advocating support of anything illegal/immoral/unethical.)
When was the last time you asked your husband what his dreams are? Sometimes the stress of day to day life stifles our ability to dream—logic and reason take over and we decide “that could never happen“, so we give up dreaming, wishing, hoping. Maybe ask each other, “If money and time were no object and you could do anything in the world, what would it be?” You might discover a dream that has been buried under years of responsibility, parenting, work, paying debts, infertility, etc. Causally ask him at the dinner table what is something he’s always wanted to do but just never has pursued? Communicate your dreams to one another. Perhaps even sit down and write out a bucket list together (a list of things you want to accomplish before you “kick the bucket”)! Then keep a copy of your spouse’s list so you can peek at it from time to time to see what else you can help them achieve.
So, today I ask you—What are your spouse’s dreams? What are those things still left on his bucket list? What has he always wanted to try, just once? What can you do today to support—and communicate your support—for your husband's dreams and goals?
Take the plunge and become a bucket list spouse!
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Need some help loving your spouse with kids in the house? For Better or For Kids is about remembering that even when you feel worn out, over-extended, and neglected, you promised to be a team. Marriage with kids may not always be what we expected, but it is good. Learn to build a God-centered marriage, effectively communicate in the chaos, explore ways to parent together as one team, and find balance in the busyness.
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