All of us at some point in our lives have had that one dream. I’m not speaking about dreams of lust or nightmares; I’m speaking of that dream in terms of our desire to possibly do something—do something special. I’m speaking of that dream that haunts you both night and day. I’m speaking about that passion that won’t escape your heart. I’m speaking about that calling we all seek at some point in our lives (you get the point).
So, what happens when we stop dreaming? What causes us to stop? These are some of the questions that I tend to ask myself as I often hear stories of people who become frustrated with their role in this movie we call life. While there are many reasons why one may stop dreaming and succumb to the perceived realities of life, the most common themes that I tend to hear about and have experienced is—fear and support.
Fear is understandable—natural. Fear makes people uncomfortable. I was once told that when you find yourself uncomfortable, you’re at your highest level of creativity. The more I think about it—it’s true. Support on the other hand is a little tricky. For sake of this article, I will limit the definition of support to the support one may receive from their spouse (I bet I got your attention now).
Renowned writer and pioneer, Langston Hughes, once wrote, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore—And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over—like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?”
In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought it would be creative to address this subject based on this nationally recognized poem (Harlem) by Mr. Hughes. Again, these examples will all be tied to dreams in the midst of being in a relationship or marriage (even tougher).
So what happens to a dream, when your spouse doesn’t believe in it or support it? This can be crushing to some. In most cases the dream does in fact end up drying up like a raisin in the sun. We all understand the value and importance of supporting one another—especially in relationships. So why don’t we always show it?
There are many factors that contribute to this form of anxiety. Money and kids (responsibilities) tend to be at the top of such list. This is understandable. Taking risk with the fear of the unknown can be the death of many. So having that security blanket (job) is “comfortable”. Over time I’ve learned that women enjoy having a sense of security. To some it’s almost as vital as breathing. So brothers, when you decide to tell your woman/wife that you’re about to quit your nice paying job to pursue your dream—you may not get that reaction you were hoping for. I know in your mind (another form of dreaming) you see her jumping in your arms, telling you congratulations while y’all celebrate over a nice bottle of wine. However, in reality you may hear and experience something like this, “You gone do what? What about these bills? What about clothes and food for your kids? I guess they gonna just dream them a sweater and a sandwich.” And that bottle of wine that you were envisioning actually ends up going upside your head to snap you out that dream. I’m kidding, but in all seriousness in most cases you’re bound to be disappointed.
So what about the brother’s who decide to keep their nice paying job (which is responsible), to satisfy their spouse’s wishes? Will their dream dry up? Will it indeed fester like a sore? You best believe it will. To a dreamer that stops dreaming, you’ll begin to live your life with the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s. We’ve all experienced this before and it’s one of the most frustrating aspects of life (next to paying back student loans). However, unbeknownst to both parties involved, something else begins to happen with your relationship. Resentment begins to occur. Once you come to the conclusion that your spouse doesn’t believe in and/or support you—it’s hard to let that feeling go. Unfortunately in most cases, because of that feeling, the relationship will suffer.
Now, don’t get me wrong, in some cases a dream should stay just that—a dream. There are times when keeping that day job is best for your family and ultimately—you. So when Mr. Hughes says, does it stink like rotten meat? I can understand. Some people are erratic. They act without thought. Their sense of urgency overtakes them. Brothers, we can’t expect our lady/spouses’ support, if we don’t have an intact plan and have proven over the years that we can make something happen. This is where the trust is built. For example, you’ve been working in the car business all your life and one day you decide you want to be a chef (never cooked a day in your life). It doesn’t work that way. Now, if you decide to branch out and open your own car lot, that pill is a little easier to swallow for your significant other.
Brothers we also don’t want to be the brother that’s ALL TALK and No ACTION. You should treat your dream like a business. Your spouse should be able to see your mission and vision. She should be able to see this in not only your words, but your action. While money is a major factor, a lot of times women will support you, because they believe in—YOU!!! You are your personal brand. I learned a long time ago that action speaks louder than words. Now if you are doing all of this AND you still get no love…then you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m not advocating or in the business of breaking up relationships, but some relationships need to be broken in order for both of you to fly and become the best versions of yourselves.
We would like to hear from you. Are you a dreamer that chased and obtained your dream? Have you been in a situation where your chase of the dream ruined your relationship?
On the flipside, have you dated a dreamer and left a relationship because you didn’t believe in or support their vision? If so, why?
Lastly, I know there are women dreamers too; I’m just speaking from a male’s perspective.
Stay Blessed family and let’s encourage and grow together. Don’t just be a dream chaser, be a dream accomplisher—in a strategic way.
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