I Married a Realist

I married a realist. There, I’ve said it. I think I’ve been trying to deny it for some time, but it’s undeniable now. My husband is a realist.

I, on the other hand, prefer to dream.

I’m not sure when this realism set in for him. He used to dream. When we first began talking about marriage, he would draw out plans for a house he hoped to build for us. He’d tell me, “See, you even get your very own huge walk-in closet.” I would blush and ask for details about this dream house. He would bring it up every once in a while.

Then I guess life got in the way, and the house talk ended.

I found those plans in an old notebook a few months ago, and they brought up so many old memories.

I asked the other day why he doesn’t talk about it anymore, why he doesn’t dream about those things for us anymore. His response hurt my heart: “What’s the point?”

The point is so I know he still has dreams for us, so I know he still cares about our future. The point is so I can see his heart.

And I think I know what happened now. Life.

We had our first married fight. Then we had another. We struggled financially. We moved. We got new jobs. Neither of us felt that we were communicating well with the other, in part because we communicate differently. We had to grow up together. We had to find ourselves together.

And maybe for him the space left in his heart for dreaming was overcome with the reality of the situations we faced. And maybe he feels, just as I do sometimes, as I’m sure we all do at times, that dreaming is pointless because it will never come to pass.

I can talk about how badly I want to save up for our first house, and I get “slow down, sweetie.” I can talk about how, should we choose, our new area is a good place to raise a family, and I get “you’re getting ahead of yourself.”

Because the reality of our current situation is we can’t afford either of those two things. But I know we can eventually.

In our meeting with our pastors the other evening, we were told these two characteristics, dreamer and realist, balance each other out. And I know that. I know if we were both dreamers, we would probably never have a sense of stability. My husband and I process things through these lenses. But he pushes me to really think about what the reality tells us and to not “jump the gun.” And I would like to think that I push him to dream, even if they begin as little dreams.

I am still struggling with what marrying a realist means. I still struggle with how to communicate my hopes and dreams to someone who isn’t sure they’re feasible or if moving on is the “safe choice.” I still struggle with an aching heart when I don’t hear those dream home plans anymore. I still struggle with an aching heart when he asks me why he should dream. And I still struggle with sadness and frustration when my realist won’t automatically take a leap with me.

But I am also thankful. I am thankful to have someone to keep me grounded. I am thankful to have someone make sure my head stays in the present every once in a while. I’m thankful to have someone who isn’t constantly talking about the future (because I know that would give me anxiety). I am thankful to be married to someone who wants to give his family the best life he can.

I realized I married a realist, so now what?

To be honest, I am not sure what to do from this point. I don’t want to push him into dreaming, because he’ll be uncomfortable. But I also don’t want to be a constant realist because I think it’s healthy to dream. So I guess I have to let him grow and flourish in his own way.

All I know for certain is I can continue to encourage him and build him up. I can continue to remind him that God has amazing plans for him and for our family. I can remind him that I am always with him and for him. I can remind him that all my dreams include him, include our family.

I don’t really know what to do next, but I know God has everything under control.

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