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His Dream; My Nightmare

Updated: Feb 15, 2022


My husband, Judah, is a dreamer.


I am a planner.


In 2016, Judah declared that he wanted to go to Japan. Not just go there, but live there.


In our then twelve years of marriage, this was the first I was hearing of it.


Every time he talked about going to Japan, my body got hot and tense. My mind became an expert lawyer, developing a fool-proof case for why every idea he had was terrible.

“Why can’t you just dream with me?” he asked.


I felt like such a Debbie Downer. He was so excited, and I was so aggressively against even thinking about it.


We were on a long walk in our neighborhood when I was able to uncover the source of my resistance.


When I talk about something, it’s because I’m making plans to do it. When he talks about something, he’s just playing around with ideas. They may or may not ever happen.


Because of this fundamentally different starting point, when he talks about something, I start making plans, at least in my head. When he was talking about moving to Japan, he was dreaming about where we would go, and I was packing boxes, planning the move, finding a place to live in a country we’ve never been to, and figuring out how to safely get our cats halfway around the world. His head was in the clouds and mine was under a pile of to-dos. His heart was light and airy, and mine was weighed down and gloomy.


Once I was able to let go of a responsibility that was never mine, I could breathe more easily. I could take a small step toward imagining us going to Japan. To visit. For a month.


Maybe we will move there one day. But I don’t have to plan for a move. For now, I can dream with Judah. And we can plan a vacation.


That I can handle.


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6 Comments


Hi, another planner here. I would be emotionally coming to grips with leaving my best friends and the city I love as well. But, before I get too down on the planners, it also makes me think of this line from Modern Family (I can't believe I'm quoting Modern Family):


"There are dreamers and there are realists in this world. You'd think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists, but more often than not the opposite is true. You see, the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists, well without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground."

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Jill Anthony
Jill Anthony
Apr 07, 2021
Replying to

I love Modern Family!


An interesting thing about this quote is that after my first marriage, my mother told me her wish for me was to marry someone stable, so I could fly. In my first marriage, I definitely had to keep my feet firmly planted.

The beauty of my relationship with Judah is that we both ground each other, allowing the other to fly, but in different ways. He financially grounds me, so I can take creative risks. I emotionally/practically ground him, so he can dream. Neither of us gets stuck on the ground and neither flies too close to the sun ... at least, in theory. Nothing's perfect!! Ha!

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This is so helpful. It makes me think about how in beginning to talk about marriage, it took me awhile to identify that my anxieties were all surrounding the wedding planning to dos and not the life-long commitment. Also, I’m remembering a friend who used to express totally different ideas about a topic from one day to the next. Would drive me crazy, but I bet she was more of a dreamer/verbal processor, rather than changing fully formulated theories.

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Jill Anthony
Jill Anthony
Apr 07, 2021
Replying to

Yes! I have also had anxiety with friends who seemingly express conflicting views with the same level of conviction. I had a conversation with a friend about this once, and she said she does feel just as strongly about each view, and it can change day to day. Another friend said she has to say things out loud in order to know if it resonates or not.


I know, for myself, I need to get my thoughts/feelings out of me. They can seem intense to the person hearing them, but once they're out, I'm usually done. I don't feel that strongly anymore, but it can leave the hearer thinking I'm all riled up and holding on to something. Nope. Just…


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kathleenswhitehead
kathleenswhitehead
Apr 06, 2021

Such a great example of how understanding what's under our responses can hold great insight & freedom! Have you discovered a practice that helps you do this on a consistent basis?

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Jill Anthony
Jill Anthony
Apr 06, 2021
Replying to

I call it out every chance I get! Because Judah is also aware of this difference, sometimes he will lead with "I want you to dream with me about ...." Then I know we're not planning. But if I find myself resistant to everything he says, I try to verbally note it ASAP so we are both aware and can navigate through it. Sometimes even saying "the truth" out loud is helpful for me: "We're just throwing out ideas. We're not planning anything right now."


Along the same line of dreamer vs planner, we have discovered that I am a "now" person and Judah is a "cosmic future" person. When I talk about things, it's usually relevant to the next…

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