The statement, “My spouse doesn’t support my dream” is often followed by the question, “God wants me to be happy, doesn’t He?”
The biggest, most obvious sacrifice we make to be joined in marriage is our personal freedom. When we were single, we had the freedom to pursue any dream we wanted, whenever we wanted. But that changes once we’re married. Suddenly your time is not your own, your schedule now involves another person, your daily routine changes to accommodate your spouse and often, your dreams get put on hold. But all that is okay and just as it should be.
Mark 10:8 tells us that in regards to a man and woman uniting in marriage, “the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.”
The problem is, while we know Mark 10:8 to be true, it isn’t always easy to live out, especially when it comes to following our dreams.
Because a man and woman become united through marriage, they should no longer make decisions as a single individual. Dreams should still be had and can still be pursued, but must be decided on together and only pursued with the blessing of your spouse. This begs the question then, why doesn’t my spouse give their blessing for me to pursue my dream? There could be a wide range of reasons why your spouse is resistant. Here are some questions to help you consider how your dream might impact your spouse and reason why they may not be supportive.
1. What type of dream are you wanting to pursue?
A short-term dream might be running a marathon, traveling to a desired destination, or attending a specific event. This would be something that might consume you for a time, but there is an end in sight. A long-term dream would be along the lines of going back to school to earn a new degree or entering a foreign mission field. Long-term dreams will consume you for a time, causing change and transition, but won’t necessarily be the norm for the rest of your life. A lifelong dream would be something that adds a permanent change to your life, for instance having or adopting children.
Once you’ve established the type of dream you want to pursue and it’s potential impact on your spouse, you can have a better idea of the motivation behind their resistance.
2. Is it possible your spouse is jealous?
Think back to when you were dating; there was an excitement, determination, and sense of urgency that all centered around this one person. After getting married it’s easy to fall into a comfortable routine and slowly stop “courting” your spouse. There’s still warm fuzzy feelings, but the excitement and tunnel vision subside. If you suddenly approach your spouse with excitement over a dream, it’s easy for your spouse to remember when you once had that excitement for them, causing them to feel jealous.
Another cause for jealousy could be that your spouse has a dream of their own and has been unable to pursue it due to financial, health, or other reasons. If your spouse has been forced to put their own dream on hold but you have the ability and means to pursue your own dream, be sensitive to the fact that your spouse might feel resentment or jealousy. While your spouse’s resentment or jealousy isn’t Godly, the way you respond to your spouse's feelings should be.
3. Is it possible your spouse is feeling left out?
Life is busy. We’re all running in different directions all day long and by the time we get home to our spouse, we just want to crash. It seems like free time is a luxury most of us don’t have. It’s not uncommon for one spouse to consistently ask for uninterrupted time together and for the other spouse to consistently respond with, “There’s not enough time.” If this describes your marriage and you suddenly have time to pursue a new dream, think about what this might communicate to your spouse. They might feel left out or that time spent pursuing your dream is more valuable to you than spending time with them. They might question if they’re doing enough to keep the marriage exciting and fulfilling, which can lead to deep feelings of inadequacy and insecurities.
4. Does your spouse share your dream?
Often when we picture ourselves pursuing our dreams, we picture our spouse at our side. But, it’s possible that your spouse doesn’t share this particular dream. If this is the case, explain to your spouse that you would love to pursue this dream with them by your side, but you know this isn’t as important to them. You don’t want your spouse to be involved in your dream out of guilt or fear of being left out. Reassure them of your love and commitment to your marriage and explain that you would feel deeply loved to have their support, even if they don’t want to be directly involved. But don’t forget that marriage is give and take. If your spouse offers to be directly involved in order to spend time with you and offer support, then offer to take part in a hobby or pursuing a dream of your spouse's that might not necessarily be your cup of tea.
And, remember, it’s okay to pursue separate dreams. Our spouse doesn’t have to be by our side or directly involved in everything we do. At the same time, dreams shouldn’t be pursued without our spouse’s support. Dreams pursued without the blessing of your spouse will likely lead to one of two things: a failed dream or a failed marriage.
5. Is this dream good for you?
We all like to think we know what’s best, especially for ourselves. But, the truth is, your spouse knows you better than you think, and it’s possible the lack of support for your dream is coming from a legitimate place of concern and protection. If this is the case, you owe it to yourself and your marriage to listen to their concerns and take them to heart. Not all dreams are good dreams. Even dreams that appear to be God glorifying and Kingdom building can be deceiving and cause great division in marriages. Allow your spouse to express their concerns and receive their words with an open mind. Have a grateful heart towards their concerns, as it takes great courage to steer someone you love away from their dream.
6. Have you joined your spouse in prayer?
The best place to start when pursuing a dream is on your knees. It’s vital to talk to your spouse and to God before pursuing a dream. Discuss your dream and then ask your spouse to commit to praying about if and when you should move forward. This requires sacrifice on both your parts, as you need to put aside your own agenda and your spouse needs to put aside their hesitations. You should both pray and ask for God’s wisdom and discernment on the matter. Remember, you are no longer two but one. You are one flesh. God will not divide you. A good habit to get into is asking God to make the answer clear to both of you. If after a time of prayer you are still not in agreement, then perhaps more prayer is needed, or perhaps you need to readdress the questions above.
If you’ve answered and addressed these questions again and your spouse is still not supportive of your dream, don’t be tempted to ask “God wants me to be happy, doesn’t He?” Instead, ask how you can glorify God by serving Him through loving your spouse and consider putting your dream on hold for the sake of your marriage. Husbands, don’t abuse your authority over you wife and pursue your dream without her support. Wives, don’t believe the lie that you deserve to pursue your dream with or without his blessing. You are no longer two, but one.
Beth Ann Baus is a wife and homeschooling mom of two boys. She is a writer and blogger who pulls from her own experiences of abuse, anxiety, depression and Tourettic OCD. Beth is an advocate for women struggling with sexual sin and strives to encourage young wives and mothers by pointing them to the grace offered only by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You can read more about her at www.bethannbaus.com.