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Americans are buzzing about the record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot that has grown to an almost unimaginable $640 million. Though not everyone plays, most people have imagined what it would be like to win the lottery. Reality, however, can be sometimes harsh in squashing our dreams of private yachts, personal islands, and mega mansions displayed on ocean cliffs in Malibu. Instead it leaves people with thoughts of bills, groceries, and soaring gas prices. Because practicality often wins out over unrealistic fantasies, you may not know what desires or childhood dreams your partner would live out if they had no financial restraints. So while they say money can’t buy happiness, try asking your partner, what are the dreams that they would buy with $640 million dollars?
You may be surprised at what they would do with nearly unlimited resources, and you might learn something new about them that you didn’t know before. In “The Relationship Cure”, Dr. John Gottman finds that “my research also shows that people form much more positive emotional connections when they encourage one another’s dreams and aspirations." One exercise to build emotional connections with your partner is to create “Love Maps” in which you map out the important details of your partners life. Keep in mind that learning the day-to-day details of their life concerning who their best friends are and their current stresses are not the only way to map out your partner’s life. Unrealized dreams are also important to understanding their inner psychological world. Showing interest in your partner’s dreams and responding with your own dreams builds trust, intimacy, and emotional connection that help to strengthen a relationship.
Understanding the underlying values and approaches you and your partner have towards money that may appear in dream sharing can also help you to understand each other’s positions better when it comes to your real financial situation. If when it comes to money you “find yourselves having the same arguments over and over, rehashing the same tired issues without ever reaching a satisfying resolution," the solution may be in exploring the underlying dreams that create your respective positions. Progress becomes possible when you focus less on the problem, and more on “uncovering the dreams hidden within it." Negotiations can be more positive and meaningful when both partners understand the agendas and hopes of the other.
So while you may not have the Mega millions winning number, you can win the jackpot in other ways by exploring the dreams of your partner in order to build emotional connections and to build a foundation of support and understanding to encourage meaningful solutions to your financial issues.
Other Financial Love Map Questions:
- What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?
- What is your biggest financial stressor?
- What do you wish you could treat yourself to more often?
- Where do you see yourself financially in five, ten, fifteen years?
- What is one thing that you wish you had more money to spend on?
- How do you think your lifestyle reflects your financial situation, is it different from the lifestyle you would want if your financial situation was different?
- How do you think retirement will affect your lifestyle?
- What do you think are the three most important areas to spend your money on?
Have a great weekend,
Gottman, John. "The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships" . New York: Three rivers Press, 1999. 209-211. Print.