How can you live your life to the fullest, with your partner, with the time you have left on this planet?
It all starts with your Vision. If you can’t see or envision it, you can’t accomplish it.
What do you want out of your life?
What do you need to make that happen?
Your vision guides you in choice-making and helps you recognize available opportunities and resources.
Whether you can clearly see it or not, you have a “Vision” of what you want for your life. Like an iceberg, most of your Vision is below the surface waiting to be discovered. Your Vision is a powerful part of you that drives your energy, thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, and choices. You do not “choose” it, nor do you have control over it. Your Vision is an inseparable aspect of who you are and serves as your inner guidance system driving you towards certain choices and away from others.
To live a fulfilling and rewarding life, you first need to find and define your Vision. Knowing your Vision, what you need to achieve it, and following through on the steps to achieve it ensures you will be happy and fulfilled. However, if you are living in opposition to your vision, you will not be happy and fulfilled in either your relationship or your life.
For example, if you are unhappy with your career and decide you want to become a lawyer, start law school, and discover you really do not like law, you were not clear about your Vision and the reality did not fit for you. You can try to make yourself like law, but you really have no choice. While you liked the idea of being a lawyer, it is likely that some aspect of being a lawyer fit your Vision, such as helping people or advocating for justice, and you will need to discover another pathway to fulfilling your Vision.
So ask yourself, what do you require, need, and want to have a successful life aligned with your vision?
Ask yourself the same questions about your relationship, because your relationship also needs to be aligned with your vision for you to be happy and fulfilled. Your requirements, needs, and wants are the building blocks of your vision.
Requirements are the foundation of your vision. They are non-negotiable and the absence of a single one often results in a failed relationship. The test for a requirement is that the relationship (and your life) will not work for you if it is missing. Requirements commonly involve religion, children, money, lifestyle, values, and goals.
A need is easily identified when unmet, because of the resulting issue that is experienced. An issue is an unmet need. Address the issue successfully and your needs will be met, your life will work, and your relationship will succeed.
There are two types of needs in life and relationships: functional needs are your expectations about activities of daily living such as chores, meals, routines, parenting, how you handle money, and emotional needs are what you need to feel loved and emotionally safe. Some examples of emotional needs are needing to be greeted with a hug or your partner calling when late.
Wants are the icing on the cake, easily identified by your fantasies about your life together. They are the objects and activities that provide stimulation, fun, and pleasure in your life and relationship. Meeting your wants are not necessary for a happy life or the success of your relationship, rather having them met enhances your life and relationship and creates positive energy.
Now that we’ve covered the important role of Vision in Radical Marriage and living a radical life together, let’s address the steps needed to achieve your Vision and translate it into a successful relationship with your partner.
Four Steps to Achieving Your Vision
STEP #1: IDENTIFY YOUR INDIVIDUAL VISION
Explore the purpose of your life, your values, and the lifestyle that you want to live. Ask yourself: “What kind of work or career do you want in your life?” “What kind of family do you want?” “What role do you want to play in your family?” “What do you want to do for fun?”
STEP #2: CREATE A SHARED VISION
Get together with your partner and see how your individual visions fit together and create a shared vision. Are you in alignment? Can you support your partner’s vision and still realize your own? What would your life together be like if you both achieved your individual visions together? Put your separate visions together and create something different and unique, which is a reflection of you and your shared vision.
STEP #3: DEVELOP A PLAN
Use the Relationship Journal to identify any challenges, then determine whether each challenge is a requirement, need, or want. Focus on the requirements first and develop a goal around that challenge. Figure out the outcome that you want from your challenge and determine the steps you need to take to reach that outcome. Develop an action plan and determine whose responsibility it is to implement each item.
STEP #4: KEEP MOVING FORWARD
Make plans and agreements, implement them, and follow up by checking in with each other regularly on your progress. Develop a written Relationship Plan to help you with this step.