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With the passing of another Independence Day, I can’t help but be reminded of something the Gottmans teach. That might seem a strange connection to you — after all, what exactly does independence have to do with healthy relationships? 

Excellent question.

Consider the two sides of the spectrum: in some relationships, it can feel like the two people are living two totally separate lives. They just bump into one another every now and then. But in some relationships, they are so intertwined you’d barely be able to tell where one person ends and the other begins! Neither of those seem like a great option — but what level of independence is healthiest?

An exact answer is going to be slightly different for everyone, but the Gottman’s have a great solution. In their ‘sound relationship house’ illustration, one of the ‘floors’ is called “Making Life Dreams Come True.” This is where we can measure independence in a relationship: It’s all about being connected enough to your partner to know and honor their dreams — and to intentionally help make those dreams come true!

Do you know your partner’s dreams? And are you investing in them? Do they believe you are their greatest cheerleader and are you making sacrifices that can bring your partner’s dreams to fruition?

When was the last time you asked your partner what their dreams were? And how can you connect to discern whether you’re both on a plan to make those dreams come true?