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Love The One You're With
Written By : Dee Cascio 
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You love the one you are with--your spouse, life partner or a friend you're in the process of developing a deeper relationship with-but do you love the dreams this loved one holds dear? As you transition to retirement, it is especially important to have the loving support of your significant other as you explore your dreams and turn them into goals.

Dream Away

As you begin planning the transition to retirement, numerous conversations will be necessary to create a successful, fulfilling and happy lifestyle. Sharing your hopes, dreams and aspirations for this new life stage with your partner is an extremely important aspect of achieving success. Where you will live, what you will spend money on, what kind of activities you will do separately and together and how you will take care of your health are all important topics of the conversation. Within each of these areas there are undoubtedly hopes and dreams that you may not have shared with each other.

To illustrate this point, I would like to share a famous quote from Mark Twain:

"20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the things that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Discussing your dreams is harder than you think! Before having a conversation with your partner, you need to be organized and extremely honest with yourself. What do you really want in your life? What values will guide your decisions? Do you have the skills as a couple to navigate the tough conversations where you may have disagreements about your life dreams and goals? How will you handle ideas and feelings from your partner that are different from your own?

The challenge for each of us as we face conflicting values and ideas is to arrive at an acceptable compromise. Whether your partner wants to do an archaeological dig in Egypt or start his or her own business, providing support in a nonjudgmental way is important to finding a practical compromise. I would like to offer some specific tips that may help you on this journey of discovery so that you can cooperate in a caring and loving way and avoid the possibility that you may stifle your partner's dreams.

1. Practice the art of communication. It is vital to a healthy relationship and the dreams that you and your partner aspire to. If left unspoken, these dreams will never happen. Taking the time to talk about your hopes and dreams sets the tone for the importance of these conversations. Talk clearly about your desires and ask for support as you explore what you have always dreamed of doing but were afraid to try. Ask your partner to let you know what they're hearing you say. As you have these conversations, being quiet and listening are more important than talking, as your partner shares their hopes and dreams. Ask questions. How long has that dream been there waiting to be revealed? How important is this dream and how will it change your life? Listening attentively without judgment makes it safe for your partner to share more openly. Be respectful of your partner's hopes and dreams and expect the same in return. You will be surprised at what you learn about the person that you love and be more motivated to find a way to support your loved one's dreams. You will be sharing the language of love.

2. Make a commitment to your dreams. Doing what you've always dreamed of doing will only happen if you have the courage to commit to taking the steps necessary to make it happen. Ask for your partner's understanding, cooperation and support for your dreams. It is important to have a supportive partner, along with trusted friends, to hold you accountable for your actions. Imagine how much you could learn from each other as you have conversations that are open and honest. What are the steps necessary to realize your dream? In addition to the support of your partner, will you need to save money over time, research possibilities, look for a support group or find a mentor? Help your partner acknowledge their dreams and desires. Explore how your different aspirations can be merged or compromised in a cooperative way. As they work towards their goals, ask your partner to be accountable to you in a caring and supportive way. This commitment will be experienced as loving support. You can then celebrate together.

3. Gather information as you explore your dreams and ask your partner to listen to you as you explore various possibilities out loud. Find out what others have done to realize similar dreams. Search the web. Sometimes a good friend or partner is better at research than you are. They can support you by helping you gather information. Even if the dream is beyond reach for whatever reason, having an intimate partner explore alternative ways of realizing this dream has great value. By exploring together, you will deepen your loving connection.

4. Be adventuresome as you explore your dreams. Taking risks requires that you get out of your comfort zone. Stretch. Learn new skills. Brainstorm possibilities and go for it if both of you are in agreement that this dream is feasible. If not, modify the dream, but don't give up on it. On the Civic Ventures website, I read recently about a doctor who had retired to leisure - playing golf. Unsatisfied with this lifestyle he thought he wanted, he now sets up non-profit clinics in various areas of the US to help those in need of medical services. How adventuresome and generous is that? Supporting adventure in your relationship is an act of love and generates positive energy, especially when you're doing it together.

5. Write it down to make it a viable dream. My husband often tells me that it is not a plan until you put it on paper. Without a written plan, goals are just words frozen forever in a dream state without the possibility of becoming a reality. What a loss of a great idea that could possibly change the world this would be. Don't let that happen.

Using these simple steps, you will have the opportunity to turn your dreams into achievable goals. In the process, you will be helping each other stretch, grow and find purpose in life one dream at a time. What better way is there to build intimacy all year long?

Find out more about: retirement
 
 
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