What’s the key to a great marriage?
My answer today will be: compromise. (After 30 years together, I have a list of words. You understand, right?)
Because there comes a point in every great marriage where you simply won’t agree. You want to do one thing, and your spouse wants to do something else.
Some things are easy to solve. Like where to go on vacation. I want a beach, he wants a cruise, so we compromise and settle for a beach in Mexico. Win-win, right?
But then there are the other things in life that take on more meaning. Like what to do for the rest of our lives.
When we sold off our business and set off to slow travel the rest of our lives, we suddenly had choices we’d never had before. What’s next? What do we want to do?
For me, that was easy. I want to write. I want to create books, write novels, become a best-selling author. So I write. And I publish. And I release it all to the world. I work with coaches and designers and editors, all to learn more about this crazy world I’ve entered. And I can do that from anywhere in the world.
For my husband, it was more of a struggle. He didn’t have goals and desires. He didn’t have a direction or a personal hobby or ambition itching to come to life. He didn’t want to write books, start up a band, or invent something new. He had a few things he liked: technology, designing, coding. But a direction? Nope, that wasn’t there.
So he explored. He helped me with my goals. He went to meetings and met new people. He discovered new technology and was introduced to new ideas. And eventually, he found a place he wanted to call home. A “job,” working with a startup in heavy growth mode, putting his entrepreneurial skills to a different use.
When he finally came to me and said I still want the dream of slow traveling, but I want this too, I had to reevaluate what our future looked like.
Look For What You Have In Common
That’s what attracted me to him in the first place. All of those things we had in common won out, and we decided to share the path called life from that point forward.
Ultimately, we have each other’s backs. We want the same things out of life. We have the same direction and believe the same things.
We never forget that.
When something bumps into us unexpectedly, it’s not about one of us. We’re a team. If he wants it, I want it too. We just have to figure out how to make it be.
Reassess Your Goals
When was the last time everything went your way? Never, right? But you use your desires to make a choice, commit to it, act on it, then adjust to what happens every step of the way.
Instead of moving every year, what if we change it to a five-year goal instead? What if we make shorter trips evaluating where we want to land next?
Every action moves us forward. It’s how we process it and react to it that makes all the difference.
Give Your Dreams New Deadline
Our goal originally was a year in every place. That way we could experience everything an area has to offer. We’d see all the seasons, experience all the holidays.
Great dream. And one we still will accomplish.
But sometimes personal fulfillment means you change course. It hasn’t changed our desires, only the way we’ll fulfill the dream.
Everyone has a dream. To make it real, you have to attach a deadline to it. One year or five years doesn’t matter, as long as the dream remains in your plans. As long as your “action” still exists, and you know when to move it into place.
Realize that in some cases, your goals will never cross paths. What you want is different from what your spouse wants. And the two will never meet in the middle.
That doesn’t mean it takes away from your commitment as a couple.
I have more freedom – I can travel more without him. That means conferences away, trips with the girls someplace new, or self-discovery as I explore a new area all on my own.
It also allows me to create plans for times when we’re together. If I explore and find something he’ll enjoy, it goes onto our list of things to explore together.
A Dream Leads Someplace New
I look back now on the crazy dream we had to travel the world. It gave me so many things.
The ability to determine what was truly important in my life.
The incredible feeling of simplifying my life and getting rid of things that were holding me back.
The opportunity to move to another region I’d never considered before. It’s brought us closer as a couple, given us the opportunity to look at the rest of our lives eyes-wide-open.
And even if we had no idea our original dream would have brought us to where we are today, the most important thing we did at the time is to take action. We dreamed big. We built the plan to make it happen. We did it all and released the outcome to the world.
And today, today is exactly where I’m supposed to be.