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If you haven’t read our recent blog post, How to Recognize a Healthy Relationship — and Improve Yours Today, now is a great time to check it out. In it, we asked five questions to help you explore and evaluate your relationship, then get to work improving it.

Here are the five questions we asked:

  1. Do you know your partner’s stressors?
  2. What are your partner’s highs and lows of this season of life?
  3. Are you able to state with confidence your partner’s dreams?
  4. Do you give your partner at least one long hug or kiss every day? 
  5. Can you list your partner’s highest core values?

In our last blog post, we talked about two components of your love maps which form the ground floor of the Gottman’s Sound Relationship House.

Today, we’re taking things all the way up to the sixth floor of the Sound Relationship House: dreams.

Make Life Dreams Come True

Do you know without a shadow of a doubt what your partner’s dreams are? And do you help those dreams come true?

The relationship “masters” do this naturally. Knowing and supporting their partner’s dreams is paramount, and it’s become second-nature. If those dreams don’t come true, they grieve with their partner over that loss. They acknowledge the pain of that loss and bring it out into the light. It’s not something that remains hidden because they understand that, for their partner, there’s a lot of meaning around those dreams.

We know that self-actualization is the very peak of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He described this level as such: “It may be loosely described as the full use and exploitation of talents, capabilities, potentialities, etc. Such people seem to be fulfilling themselves and to be doing the best that they are capable of doing. They are people who have developed or are developing to the full stature of which they are capable.”

That’s what you’re helping your partner to do in their life, as well as in your own personal life! You help your partner’s hopes come to fruition. You celebrate and champion the things that bring them joy. Together, you manage life and conflict in a way that allows you to actually achieve that highest level of self-actualization.

When Eric and I decided that I’d go back to school to get my master’s degree, he championed that with me. He helped finance it, and he got behind my dream by taking a whole bunch of things off my plate. He took over management of our family finances, handled childcare, chauffeured our kids everywhere they needed to go… he really had my back!

Recently, one of my student interns told me that because she’s so busy with clients and school, her husband has volunteered to take a load off her and cook four nights a week. “I’m excited,” she said with a laugh, also noting that he’s never cooked a meal in his life. “And I didn’t complain when he burned the rice!”

That’s what this means, to really come alongside your partner and champion their dreams.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re doing the absolute best thing for your partner by helping to make their dreams come true — who cares if the rice is burnt?