A few weeks ago my husband really hurt my feelings. He didn’t mean to, he even said, “I didn’t mean that the way you took it”, and he apologized. I know he meant well, but it hurt nonetheless. It hurt because I had just opened my heart to confide a tiny little dream of mine and he told me I should go a different direction.
It started after I’d spent about an hour talking with a writer friend of mine about an idea I had for a new novel. It was going to take place in 1930’s Appalachia (since I’m from West Virginia) and he shot the idea down quickly saying he didn’t think it would make a good setting and I’d be better off writing about Florida since I was mostly raised in Florida. I understood his point, but I hated living in Florida. I hate that state so much and the idea of writing anything that takes place in Florida makes me cringe. I’d rather not write anything at all.
I explained how his lack of support made me feel, he explained that he didn’t mean it the way it came out, and I understood but the damage was done. I already felt defeated about a story I hadn’t even started writing yet. It’s been a few weeks and I’m back to writing the novel but for those first few days after he wasn’t on board with my idea I lost all motivation.
If my husband didn’t believe in my idea, how could I expect anyone else to believe in it?
So, friends, encourage your spouse’s dreams! Especially if those dreams won’t harm anyone else. What harm could there possibly have been in telling me that it may be harder to set my novel in West Virginia since I spent less time there but if that’s what I wanted to write then I should go for it? That moment made me stop to think about the dreams my husband has shared with me and reevaluate how I’ve responded to him. I expect him to always be there for me, to always be my champion, to always be in my corner cheering me on, and to believe in me and my ability to conquer the world. But, am I doing the same for him?
So, how can you encourage your spouse’s dreams?
You can start by doing these few things…
Remind them of Philippians 4:13
Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” so remind your spouse to pray for their dream and ask that God be with them as they pursue this new dream and achieving success. When God is on their side, they can do anything.
Let them know that doubt is from the Devil
God designed each of us to discover our talents and use those talents for good. Some of us are artists, some are writers, some are speakers, some are builders, some are designers, some are encouragers, some are teachers, some are doctors, etc… but we are all designed for great things. When we feel called to a certain talent, that is God speaking. When we feel overwhelmed with self-doubt and fear, that is the Devil speaking and trying to lead us away from pursuing a life of fulfillment through God’s gifts.
Tell them you appreciate their passion
Any time I share my passions or dreams with my husband I’m usually just looking to hear that he appreciates my interest or passion in something. I’m not looking for him to tell me how to do it, why I should do it, or whether or not it’s a good idea; all I want to hear is that he recognizes my desire for something greater than what I’m currently doing.
If your spouse shares a dream or a goal with you, share your excitement for them. Be happy that they have discovered something they want to pursue and support their desire to make a new dream come true.
Check in with their progress
This doesn’t take much. It’s as simple as occasionally asking, “How are you doing with _______?” or “How’s your progress on ___________ coming?” or “Are you still feeling good about _________ ?” Just taking a few moments out of your day to ask about their dream and their progress toward achieving that dream means the world.
Give them time and space to work on their dream
Now that I’m back to working on my novel I obviously need the occasional time away from everything to focus on my research, my outlining, and the actual writing process. He’s on my side now and encouraging me every step of the way. Sometimes he’ll say, “Do you want to walk up to Starbucks for a bit? You can take your laptop.” He also encouraged me to buy a new desk and set up a writing station so I’ll have a place to go to focus. He also has said, “I’m thinking of watching a movie. Do you want to watch a movie with me or do you want writing time?” It’s a great way of encouraging me to chase my dream without being pushy or overly insistent, just kind gentle nudges toward that “get ‘er done” attitude.
Do you encourage your spouse’s dreams? How do you respond when your spouse’s dream isn’t exactly your thing? Have you ever felt discouraged by your husband (or wife’s) less than enthusiastic response?