Have you noticed that you and someone close to you have different priorities or visions for the future? No need to panic. This is an opportunity to practice communicating for clarity.
Dealing with long-term projections in your relationship is like any decision in life. The first thing you need to do before broaching the subject is to spend time really thinking about what you want and to figure out how you aim to achieve it (ie. your process). If you find that you don’t agree, hear each other’s opinions or ideas out and then discuss the issue as logically as you can. The speaker-listener technique is just one way to do that.
Decide on what works best for your relationship in a number of different categories i.e., financial security, emotional fulfillment, long-term goal achievement, and what is most mutually beneficial. Talk about your goals or desires with each other as directly as possible so that you can clearly understand and feel understood. Sometimes it’s helpful to write it down.
Creating a shared picture of your hopes for the relationship is something that can be rewarding. With more knowledge of each other, we can create admiration, look at a bigger picture of the relationship than the disagreement. It is helpful to check in with yourself and your loved one about what is negotiable and nonnegotiable. You should understand their wants and needs without putting your expectations on them. And don't delay. Ignoring or putting off the conversation until those decisions become more urgent will guarantee conflict. Can you sit in the discomfort of the unknown? Can you trust that both of you are engaged in an equally helpful process? Many times we avoid “big values” discussions because we struggle to deal with how we feel. Sometimes we need an outside perspective that can aid us in managing our difficult feelings around these topics and reaching a resolution. Sometimes we approach big decisions as either/or, where one person loses what they want so the other can get what they want. The reality is that sometimes sacrifices from one partner may need to be made to help the other reach their goals first. It can be helpful to talk through this option and make plans that enable each to make a move towards personal goals, even if the timeline looks different. It is easier to put your goal on the back burner for a season when you know that your partner is going to do the same for you in the foreseeable future. You will find joy in their joy, knowing soon that it will be your turn and your partner will find joy in your success.