It’s impossible to chase a dream when nobody believes in us. When our friends and family support us and cheer us on, they give us the strength and courage to push through the self-doubt and fatigue.

Inspirations come in different shapes and forms. Some dream to climb the highest mountain in the world, others to go deep-sea diving in remote locations, and yet others to become stay-at-home moms or dads, or learn how to play golf. Do you know what your spouse’s dreams are?

The blogger of The Generous Wife suggested that we should create our own “bucket lists”, the lists of things we want to experience or accomplish during our lives. As couples we should talk regularly about our bucket lists and look for ways to help our spouses achieve their wishes. The discussion itself brings couples closer and helps them focus on the positive aspects of our lives.

One of my aspirations was to start my own business. More than three years ago when my life was falling apart in front of my eyes, I turned to that dream that had been put on the backburner. At the time, personal ambitions were one of the few topics Joe and I could discuss without causing frictions. After some brainstorming together, I decided that I wanted to open a frozen yogurt store with free Wi-Fi, a game corner for kids and evening activities (karaoke, open mic) for teens. I spent a few weekday evenings and Sunday afternoons counting the number of customers coming out of Red Mango in downtown Naperville. Then we started looking for retail spaces. The one next to YMCA close to Neaqua Valley High School would have been ideal but the rent was too high. The agent wasn’t interested in negotiation (the space still doesn’t have a taker as of today). We had to settle for another space in close vicinity of Naperville North. While the whole experience was new and exciting, at the back of my mind, I was fully aware that retail would be a tough space to enter and it demanded very long hours. Giving up my flexible and lucrative job to run a yogurt store didn’t seem to make sense. So I thought I’d hire a store manager to take care of the daily operations although the additional salary would leave me with a very thin or no profit margin.

A few days before I was going to sign the lease, Joe voiced his concern that echoed my own doubts. I decided not to proceed with the lease. But I enormously appreciated Joe’s involvement and support for my dream. It was an interesting and worthy exercise. I don’t think I’d ever entertain the idea of opening a retail store again.

When I first started writing, Joe supported me whole-heartedly. He has also been my most valued critic. I always appreciate his honest and constructive feedback. Not every man is secure enough to have a wife who writes about their relationship and family. However in comparison to opening a yogurt store that required a hefty initial investment and having all my free time tied to it, reading and writing is a much better and financially safer hobby.

Joe wanted to shave his head bald. I was like, “No, you won’t look good bald.” He also mentioned a few times that he’d like to learn how to fly a jet. I thought that would be too dangerous. But if he puts that on his bucket list, we’ll talk about it and I’ll give it more thought. Recently he signed up for golf lessons. I hope it will turn into a hobby. We’ll see.

When the person we are married to turns out to be the biggest cheerleader of our dreams and ambitions, there arises within ourselves a feeling of hope that we are capable of far more than we realized. We feel seen, accepted and valued for who we are. On the other hand, if we are judged, criticized and discounted for our gifts and goals, we reluctantly or resentfully put our dreams along with ourselves in a box.

Perhaps you have always wanted to take music or dance lessons, enjoy the thrill of skydiving, learn a new language or write a book. Share your goals with your spouse and figure out solid steps to turn your dreams to reality.