Do you ever have one of those dreams that you just can't stop thinking about? A dream that really affects you, and you wonder if it didn't come from a source outside your own mind?
I experienced just such a dream last night and I wanted to record it here so I would remember it.
As you may remember from THIS post, I have been trying a new tactic to improve my familiar relationships. And you may remember that I had some complaining to do about it. My new technique is to give family members their way as much as possible, and try to be completely unselfish.
I wrote the complaining post on July 10th, twelve days ago, but since then I've had the chance to reevaluate the effect this plan is having on my relationships and I have been surprised to learn that the quality of my relationships has drastically improved. Before I explain, let me tell you about my dream...
I dreamed I was in a polygamous relationship with a man who already had a wife. (Perhaps many Mormon women dream of this, as polygamy played a role in the development of our church for a short time over a hundred years ago.) We were only married in name, however, and had not consummated our marriage.
This man, my husband, was not an attractive man. He had crooked teeth, a scraggly beard, and really nothing in his countenance to be desired. In my dream, all eight of my children who lived at home and I were each sitting in our own recliners watching a movie. My husband walked into the room, as he was using it as a thoroughfare to another room, and I smiled politely at him, but said nothing to him, and neither did any of the kids. Instead of passing through, however, he stopped, and said, "Why is it that none of you can talk to me or even say hi? All you do is just sit and watch that TV."
My initial reaction would have been to defend myself and my children, to explain that I thought a smile was enough and that the kids weren't comfortable with him yet. However, I went against my instinct, got up and turned the TV off, smiled again, and said, "I'm sorry. What would you like to talk about?"
He sat down and began talking. And I talked to him. (Honestly, I don't know where the kids were at this time.) As we sat, I found myself enjoying our conversation very much, and as I studied his face, its appearance remained the same as before, but I found that I was becoming attracted to him and even falling in love with him.
As we talked, I got closer to him and stroked his arm and felt such immense love for him welling up inside of me. I found myself looking forward to spending much more time with him and an excitement about our relationship began developing in my heart.
Then the dream ended.
After I awoke with such a happy feeling, I was able to lie in bed and think about this idea of thinking of others first and not going with my first instinct of defending my actions and insisting on my own way. I thought back on my trip, and realized that although it was very stressful for me, with a little baby in tow, the memories I have of the good times with my sister, with whom I usually have at least one argument per trip, are something I will never forget. And my relationship with John, with whom I could have been offended on a few occasions, and he with me as well, was strengthened and the memories that were created with him were huge deposits to my drained psyche.
I learned that yes, not getting your way, not defending yourself, and even having to realize that people just don't understand sometimes, but that they still love you, are not easy things to do, but the payoff is huge. Had I insisted on having my way, I know that there would have been conflict and confrontation with Robyn and John, and I would have looked back on the trip as a total waste.
Now let me clarify that John gives and gives and gives as well, probably a lot more than I do, but there is conflict in our marriage at times, and it's usually because one of us is selfish. Sometimes it's him. Sometimes it's me. On this trip, with both of us working to put the other person first, we were able to create long-lasting memories and will carry through difficult times in the future.
This dream, whether it came from God or from my own imaginations, was an affirmation that I am going in the right direction, and that the more unselfish and I can be, and the harder I try to not let myself be offended, the more rewarding my relationships will become and the more love I will develop for my fellow man. And for that I am grateful.
Thanks for listening. :)