There are lots of books that have hit the shelves lately that try to inspire people to quit their day job and follow their dreams. Books such as Quitter and the 4-Hour Work Week, encourage people to stop their day job in order to do something they are really passionate about. Although this can be great advice, it can cause some serious marital problems.
Many people don’t even know what their dream in life might be. But there are those that are confident in knowing what their dream is. Sometimes people feel like they’ve known their whole lives while other people don’t come to recognize their dream until later on.
Imagine not only recognizing your dream but finally getting to the point of wanting to follow your dream. But just when you share your dream with your spouse, your spouse doesn’t share your joy and excitement. Instead your spouse says your dream is ridiculous, impractical, and financially impossible.
This sort of scenario leaves a lot of couples feeling like they are at a standstill. They may feel like it is an “either or” situation. I have to pick either my marriage or my dream. However, you don’t have to choose between one or the other. There are things you can do to make them both possible.
Assess Your Spouse’s Concerns
If your spouse seems less than thrilled about your dream, find out what your spouse’s concerns are. Talk about what makes your spouse roll her eyes or just shake her head when you tell her. Remember, to explain that you are serious and that you’ve put some thought into this. Often, a spouse may not think you are really considering making a change or doing something different and may pass it off as a “phase” or “whim.”
Try to look at things from your spouse’s point of view. If you heard about someone wanting to quit their job as an accountant at the age of forty to join a band, you might laugh too. So remember, your spouse may just think you are ridiculous when you share your dream at first.
Problem-Solve Together How to Address these Concerns
One of the biggest concerns a spouse may have to you following your dream is the income issue. Whether your dream is to backpack across Europe, quit your day job to start a business, or go back to college, it’s likely that your family will be facing a change of income.
So it’s important to talk about how you can address these concerns. Although you may be ready to take the leap in hopes that it will “work out somehow,” your spouse may not be. So is there a way to provide some financial peace while still working toward your dream?
This may mean doing something you are passionate about on a part-time basis until you can take the leap. Or it may mean saving up enough money to pay for college or buy that sailboat instead of taking out a loan. Ask your spouse, “What would make you feel more secure financially?”
The other major concern that many spouses share is the time that it will take. Will following your dream mean you have less time for your family? Let’s say you want to follow your dream to play the guitar in a band. That means you’ll be spending your evenings and weekends practicing and hopefully performing. So how can you gain support for this venture?
Talk to your spouse about how you will find a balance. How can you still spend enough quality time with your spouse and take care of your household responsibilities? Discuss what you are willing to do and what steps you will take if it starts to interfere with having enough time for your family.
Take It Slow
Don’t make any sudden changes. If you quit your job tomorrow, it will look more like a mid-life crisis rather than someone who is following their dream.
A well thought out plan is necessary. Work with your spouse on developing this plan and determining the steps needed to get there.
When your spouse supports your plan, you can work together as a team and you’ll get there twice as fast. If however, you try to do it on your own, without the support of your spouse, you’ll be fighting the entire time. Timing is very important.
Remember that it takes hard work to make a dream become reality. If you aren’t fully committed or don’t have the energy to do the work, reconsider making any major changes. Success doesn’t happen overnight and you need to be prepared for how you will handle setbacks and problems along the way.