I stare with awe at the Brooklyn Bridge every time I visit New York because I know it wouldn’t be there if 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 founding of America.
And when I enter the hospital room of a loved one, I give thanks 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 dig into the backstory 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.
That 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 and 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 discernable (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 preeminent. 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 vice 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:
1) Shedding: This is the motion in fabric production where the loom frames are raised or lowered in order to clear a space for the pick (the crossing thread) to pass through. 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.
2) Picking: In this motion, either the weft or the pick (one of the two threads) is advanced across the loom. 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 a brand that actually 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.
3) Battening: The final motion required of the weaver entails pushing the weft (the longitudinal thread) up against the fell of the cloth, thereby 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 of their parental and household responsibilities, which is impressive enough with twelve children, but they did it while also pioneering the fields of engineering and management.
Becoming Dream Weavers may take years of intentional relationship education and practice, especially if you are breaking from unhealthy family patterns (which is why I started Wife for Life University). However, with patience and determination, and by learning how to consistently lend practical and emotional support to one another, any husband and wife can end up with a tapestry so solid and stunning, the results are generational.
My honey and I, for instance, though very nearly divorced in our early marriage, now enjoy a thriving, joyful partnership, which dynamic is influencing our children’s ambitions and marriages. Weaving dreams has become a family affair. We all aspire to prove, like the Roeblings, the Adams, and the Curies, that visionaries in love do make the best partners, not just in pursuit of their dreams, but in using those dreams to change the world.
QUESTION: What are your dreams? What are your husband’s dreams, and/or what is his quest? How can you better support one another and weave your dreams together?
Edited by Kimberly Price and Sarah Monson
Watch Ramona’s popular free webinar: Your Power to Succeed in Marriage and understand yourself, your husband, and the amazing potential in your partnership [affiliate link: http://smpl.ro/al/pGuedU6v9Yj9Tp9fY7EPZRUw/8460-powerofmoms]
Read Ramona’s award-winning book: Wife for Life: The Power to Succeed in Marriage (ebook, paperback, audio book on Amazon). Free accompanying study guide at: http://ramonazabriskie.com/book/