One of the most revolutionary concepts in Wife for Life (at least that’s how many women react to it), is the idea that a woman has many life dreams, while her man (generally speaking) tends to be more linear in pursuing his life dream, or “quest”.
What seems to many to be even more unfamiliar, is the assertion that a woman doesn’t have to subvert her own goals, dreams, or passions, in order to “support” her husband in his quest. I personally feel strongly that this should not be the case, and I encourage my Wife for Life University students in particular to “live their dreams AND love their marriage”. Still, many wonder, is it really possible?
I stare with awe at the Brooklyn Bridge every time I visit New York because I know that it wouldn’t be there if it Emily and Washington Roebling hadn’t faced down every conceivable challenge during its fourteen-year construction.
Whenever I visit Boston, I wonder at the life of John and Abigail Adams, who of necessity, lived apart more than together during the tumultuous birthing of America.
And when I enter the hospital room of a loved one, I thank God for Pierre and Marie Curie, who worked side by side nearly every waking minute of their entire marriage to produce the miracle of radium.
The fact is, if we dug into the back-story of most of the world’s grand accomplishments, we would undoubtedly be impressed with how many of those accomplishments are the product of grand marriages.
The term “grand marriage” is one I coined in my work to describe the ultimate union between a man and a woman. This is a husband and wife who have, over time, with concerted effort, succeeded in either facilitating one another’s life-dreams, or in sharing a single dream to great effect. I call the process “dream weaving”, and it is possible, or might be aspired to, by any married couple that is ready to be fully equal, fully inclusive, fully vested.
The trust and respect required in a partnership of this caliber is obvious, but what might not be so discernible (and what differentiates it from other forms of partnership) is the mature, romantic love that prompts each spouse to make one another’s self-development, accomplishment, and happiness pre-eminent. When a loving couple acts on the natural desire to see each other succeed at making a difference, “dream weaving” inevitably ensues.
That’s not to say, however, that merging a woman’s dreams with a man’s quest (and visa versa) just happens. It requires three intentional acts, over and over–much like the three repetitious motions required in weaving a piece of cloth. Both cloth weaving and dream weaving artistically interlace two distinct entities at right (or correct) angles, using the following actions:
- Shedding: This is the motion in fabric production where the ends are separated by raising or lowering the heddle (loom) frames to form a clear space where the “pick” (the crossing thread) can pass. In dream weaving, this simply means a couple must make room for one another’s passions or pursuits.
Woodrow and Ellen Wilson’s private family life was gone forever when his career took unexpected leaps to the White House. Though she grieved their lost lifestyle, Ellen made the needed adjustments to accommodate her husband’s responsibilities to the greater world.
- Picking: In this motion, either the weft or the pick (one of the two threads) is advanced across the loom. So in the art of dream weaving a husband and wife must sometimes alternate which (or whose) dreams are on the front burner. Like the two threads of the loom, one is propelled forward while the other holds taut.
As the first celebrity chef in the early decades of television, “Julia Child” was in fact a brand that meant Paul and Julia Child. The two were absolute partners in the realization of Julia’s dream, but only after she had followed Paul from one state department post to the next for many years.
- Battening: The final motion required of the weaver entails pushing the weft (the longitudinal thread) up against the fell of the cloth, tightening up the irregular distances. Left too loose, there is no fabric; the threads fall apart. Just so, couples mastering dream weaving purposefully remain tight, engaged, and equally enthused in their shared undertakings.
Lillian and Frank Gilbreth shared equal parts parental and household responsibilities, which is impressive enough with twelve children, but they did it while also pioneering the fields of engineering and management.
Dream Weavers can, with patience and determination, and by consistently lending practical and emotional support to one another, end up with a tapestry so solid and stunning, the results are generational. My husband and I are both descended from grand marriages, which fact has had a direct and profound impact on our own marriage, which is impacting our children’s marriages, which is now impacting our grandchildren, and which, will, of course, affect their marriages. Our legacy romance, and that of our ancestors and descendants, will ultimately serve a far greater community than ourselves. Visionaries in love may indeed make the best partners: not just in pursuit of dreams; but in using those dreams to change the world.
What better time than the brink of spring to assess where you’re at and where you’re going!
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