In my last post I asked you to tell me about your personal barriers to chucking it all right now and living your ultimate family lifestyle.
I want to thank all of you who responded. Your honesty and palpable emotions touched me.
Today I am posting one of those responses, and my reply to it.
Ben is a reader who is struggling with the challenges of approaching his partner with his creative lifestyle design dreams.
Let’s listen in …
I hurt every day that I go to work, leaving my wife and children (who are unschooled) to live a life that I’m not a part of. I’m ready for major change, but I’m in the netherland between desire and execution. I should say that I’m ready except for one emotional barrier.
I fear disappointing my wife. I’m no longer clinging to having a nice, big house and the trappings. I know our children would adjust too. I’m afraid my wife isn’t emotionally ready to make that change. If I carry that even farther, I’m afraid of being left for someone that will maintain for her the illusion I no longer cling to. I’m stuck between conflicting needs on Maslow’s hierarchy: love and self-actualization.
I think communication is the key, but Lack confidence in the approach.
First I want thank you for writing me. I can feel the frustration and fear in your voice, even in print! And I understand completely.
For me, the question of how to bring my wife around to my way of thinking was my number one source of stress. Yet, interestingly enough, actually working with her turned out to be fairly easy.
Whenever we dare to begin the pursuit of something very different, yet very important to us, our first fear is that we may lose what we treasure about the life we already have.
We also fear our partner’s response. What you are doing here is opening up some of your deeper desires. What if she blows them off? What if he laughs? What if she says “Forget it!” right off the bat?
Imagine how you would feel, then. I am sure you already have imagined that, and more.
Is pursuing this “dream” worth the possibility of losing the one you love most?
The good news is, you don’t have to throw out that baby with the bathwater.
What you need to do is to stop having this discussion in your head and start having it with your wife.
Unless there are serious problems in your relationship, I don’t think she will leave you simply because you confess to having dreams. In truth, she probably already knows about your dreams.
No doubt you’ve dropped thousands of hints – intentionally and unintentionally. In my case, it was all the ocean yachting and RV magazines that I started subscribing to.
Yes, I’ll bet she has concerns and doubts about this. Many partners will just wait for you to bring the issue up. They figure that, if it’s just a passing fad, there’s no sense in making a big deal out of it.
But these things are rarely passing fads. You are at a point in your life when you are ready to start living it – your way. And you want to bring your family along with you.
You also imagine that living the life of your dreams will mean that your wife will have to abandon some her own dreams. If that is really true, then you do have reason for concern.
However, Family Lifestyle Design isn’t about whose dreams are more worthy. It’s about using creativity to merge your dreams together.
I call this the creation of a composite family lifestyle.
She cannot reasonably expect you to slave away in a life that you aren’t happy with just so she can live the way she wants to. Neither can you reasonably expect her to live inside your midlife male fantasy.
You need to think outside of the box.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, here.
The first step in this process is talking to your wife as if you trust her, and you trust that her love for you isn’t so shallow as you imagine.
She has to respect your dreams and desires, and I am sure that she does, and will let you know that if you just ask her. But the best way to start that conversation is to let her know that you respect her dreams, too, and you want to make sure that both of you are living the best life possible.
I cover this issue in detail in an ebook I published titled, 18 Secrets To Persuading Your Partner to Join Your Creative Family Lifestyle Dream!. You should pick up a free copy at the above link. I go into a lot of this stuff there. (I gotta do something about that long book title! :-))
Ben, there are no guarantees. But, unless you intend to suffer in silence for the rest of your marriage, you need to open up about your dreams with your loved one.
I found that, after opening up to my wife, a greater sense of intimacy formed between us.
You’ve heard the onion analogy, I’m sure. Each of us is an onion. And every so often, we need to peel another layer, getting closer to the core of who we truly are.
It’s time for you to go a layer deeper. And, perhaps, your wife may use this as an opportunity to get a little deeper with herself, too. Who knows?
I hope that this helps! And I hope that anyone reading this will download your own copy of my Persuade Your Partner book. It’s worth the price (free!).
Best Wishes to You,