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MARRIAGE DONE RIGHT, A COLUMN BY JAMES E. SHERIDAN

What husbands need to hear: ‘I believe in you’

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 12:01 am

We all have dreams: perhaps of a home and family, an ideal career or a hobby goal.

For men, dreams often center around something they see as an adventure, ranging from climbing Mount Everest, building the ultimate model-train set in his basement, starting a business or restoring the '57 Chevy sitting in the garage.

Moreover, most men have a basic competitive spirit and deep down wonder if they “have what it takes” to have the adventure.

However, as Jay and Laura Laffoon explain, the pressures of the real world often limit men to unfulfilling jobs, overextended finances, unmet expectations, and a constant struggle to balance family and work.

The Laffoons explain that wives can do much to support men in their daily effort. The phrase “I believe in you” “gives her man the courage he needs to fight the fight.”

With the same phrase, “I believe in you,” wives can play a crucial role in fulfilling his dream that's being drowned out by the daily struggle and, in the process, greatly strengthen their marriage.

The Laffoons explain that fulfilling dreams is a three-step process starting with “Discover His Dream.” You may already know your husband's dream. But many men never express their dreams, afraid it may sound foolish. If you don't know your husband's dream, start by asking “dreamer questions,” for example:

If money wasn't a problem, what would be your ideal job?

If you could do something to be remembered for by future generations, what would it be?

What would you like to do that would make you feel that your life is fulfilled?

However, remember the dream he shares comes from a private place inside him. It's not information to be shared with anyone. And labeling it as “silly” will wound his soul and forever create a wall between you.

Next: “Develop His Dream.” The Laffoons suggest the starting question: “If money were not an issue what would we like our life to look like in five years?” Then “create measurable and attainable mini-goals to help you reach your vision.” Breaking the dream down into small, doable steps makes success more likely.

Then you both have to face the tough question: Is the dream worth fighting for? In many ways, this may be the hardest step. For most men the only thing worse than failing is not trying at all.

But some dreams are simply not doable. Or is it doable, but difficult, and if it's difficult, will the cost be too great?

Finally: “Defend His Dream.” The Laffoons warn that you “ready yourself for speed bumps and road blocks.” The old adage is true that “if you fail to plan, you plan for failure.” However, it is equally true that all plans need constant adjustments as you encounter unforeseen obstacles and challenges.

Potential obstacles can include friends and family challenging your judgment, current or future financial problems, or the need for further education. It's usually easier to give up than to continue pursuing the dream.

“I'm proud of you” are important words of respect. But pride is respect based on what he's done and who he is. “I believe in you” are words of respect for what you believe he's capable of in the future.

But the Laffoons note that this is not simply a catchphrase to get him off the couch and moving. It's more. It's a statement of ongoing “commitment to the direction and path that you two have chosen to walk together.”

In the process, it's also your commitment to move your marriage forward together, for a future together.

2013, All Rights Reserved. James Sheridan’s website is www.marriagedoneright.com. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.