Dreams give us keys to better relationships. We can literally dream our way to Mr. or Ms. Right. Dreams also show us when it's time to cut our losses and move on. And dreams can suggest juicy ways to breathe life back into a relationship. Here are a few examples:
- Gabby Jung, who works in the New York fashion business, dreamed she got engaged to a very funny, attractive guy who reminded her of Bob Saget, the former host of America's Funniest Home Videos. In the dream, Gabby took him to meet her very traditional Korean family back in Seoul, and was amazed that they loved the guy, since they had always insisted that they wanted her to marry a Korean. Nine months later, in one of my workshops in Manhattan, she met a guy who, like Bob Saget, is 6'4", Jewish, and is a great performer with a marked sense of humor -- an actor and playwright named Roger Ziegler. When they started dating, Roger realized he had been dreaming of Gabby. Now they are happily married with a beautiful daughter named Jaslyn - and Gabby's Korean family is delighted,
- Schoolteacher Marybeth Gurske dreamed that her heart was opened, and she saw an "energy cord" running from her open heart to her dream partner, the ultimate "Mr. Right." She painted that beautiful image. When she dated men, she checked whether the energy in the encounter matched that of the dream, and moved on fast when it did not. Every night, she imagined herself being drawn, inexorably, by that heart-cord towards the man of her dreams. Fourteen months later, she found him and they are now married.
- a Texas woman who knew her marriage was in trouble asked for a dream of guidance. In her dream, she was in a Mexican restaurant (she loves Mexican food) waiting for takeout. The food smelled wonderful, but her meal did not come, although she waited and waited while other people came and went. A cute guy - a musician - whispered to her, as he collected his own meal, "This place sucks." When she thought about the dream, she wrote herself this one-liner: "I'm in a place where I'll never be nourished or fed, however long I wait." When she applied that to her marriage, she started divorce proceedings - and is now remarried, to a cute musician, strongly resembling the guy in her dreams.
- A 40-something woman who found that her marriage had gone flat dreamed she had an incredibly passionate romance with a poetic and sexy 19-year-old. Waking, feeling exhilarated and naughty, she began to tell herself, "Yeah, right. Me and a 19-year-old." Then she recognized her dream lover. He was a 19-year-old version of her husband. She had not known him at that age, and had never encountered the part of him that might still be a 19-year-old poet, under the carapace of the cynical businessman. She now made it her game to try to find the poetry and passion in her husband, and bring all of that into the marriage - an interesting ongoing experiment.
By learning to follow our dreams, we can move toward relationships that fulfill us physically, emotionally and spirituality - and out of the sad cafes where we are never fed. Sometimes this will involve moving on. Sometimes it involves moving up within an existing relationship, by bringing more of each other into it. Surely that's what healthy and juicy partnerships require, and dreams help because they connect us with more of ourselves and our bigger stories.