Over the years, I, and many others I know, both before and after getting married, have grappled with the issue of giving up dreams. It is difficult and nuanced. And it is especially important for how we think about, and live, marriage.
My basic conviction is this: the now common assumption that we can have it all, or do it all, can undermine our marriage, as well as our deepest dreams. We become convinced we should pursue every dream, and we miss a great truth. The willingness to purify and sometimes give up our ‘dreams’ can actually lead to a deeper fulfillment. And no where can this become more clear than in marriage.
I want to share three short videos I recently recorded exploring this topic. Occasionally I must forego a more extended written reflection. In that rare occurrence, I will at least share something from my ongoing video production. The first video addresses the importance of our dreams and how sometimes revising or even giving them up is appropriate–in view of greater things. The second video takes up the challenging question of a difference between husbands and wives, and their giving up dreams. Finally, the third considers how sometimes we can come back to earlier dreams, but also how a choice not to go back might accomplish something even greater.
- Seeing Marriage as Natural
- A Man’s Fear About Being a Man
- For Sex to Be What It Should
- Coming to Yourself
- Physical Home as Common Ground
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My dream was to marry the right woman and have a bunch of kids. And that’s exactly how my life turned out. I don’t think either one of us gave up anything important, certainly when compared to all that we gained,
You are surely very blessed, Christian!
This was difficult, but necessary, for me to hear. I did see a mother who sacrificed her own dreams, resented out, and when she had the chance pursued her own dreams and what happened to her own children as a result. I grew up in a culture where motherhood was not, could not, be mentioned as a “career choice.” While my secular dreams have mostly been set aside, what surprised me most were the spiritual dreams that had to go. Daily Adoration hours, daily Mass, hours of devotions and study, all those have had to go. Instead, it’s been limited daily Mass and one Adoration hour a week. And that has been a suffering, but I think a lot of it has to do with perfectionism and thinking God is disappointed in me for not doing more, and part of it has to do with not really understanding who I am as woman and also lacking discernment regarding what is okay to pursue and what isn’t. This was very timely, because I’ve been thinking about this very thing lately.
Adrienne, I am very much in tune with what you say here. It is my sincere hope that you will continue to grow in discernment and also in discovering how your fidelity and sacrifices are having greater fruits than you realize.
Ahh. Eschatology. The revelation of a dream come true.
I come along side Adrienne as we wrestle with what is fine for us to pursue as women, and what is not, and the individuality of that too. This is timely as I am thinking more about life after turning 50 and what I might be able to return to, or what I did give up, to be a wife and mother and do this whole heartedly. I have Grandma duties and now some (hopefully temporary) care of a grown son so my being at home is still very necessary and I see that clearly. I do appreciate you making the distinction clear John as it does help me to see that those sacrifices for both my husband and I, gave us so much more than we lost.
Cate, We are at a similar point in life. And these discernments (e.g., can I still possibly return to such and such…) remain very present for me and Sofia. Perhaps it will always be so.