Do you have a big dream you’re chasing? Are you filled with purpose and determined to create positive change in this world? Do you ever feel tension between building that dream and creating time to connect with your family?
It happens to the best of us. We’re propelled by the excitement of these dreams and charge full speed ahead. In the process, those who are most important to us feel neglected and tension begins to build.
The good news is that no matter what your current situation is, you can build your dream and stay connected with your family too. In this post, I’ll share thirteen fun ways to stay connected.
Where the Tension Starts
The greatest challenge and reward in romantic relationships is that we tend to end up with our opposite. This is great when the extrovert gets the introvert involved in the community. Or the saver helps the spender build their nest egg.
It’s not so great when we struggle to communicate. In his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, Dr. Gary Chapman explains that we show love in five distinct languages. Some of us express love through words of affirmation, others through quality time. Some people feel most loved when receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch.
The way we show love and feel loved is the same. The challenge is when we don’t understand the language that our significant other speaks. For instance, my love language is acts of service. I feel as though I am showing my spouse that I care when I manage our finances, do the laundry, run errands, and prepare meals. I feel loved when he puts his laundry away and does the dishes after dinner.
You know where this is going, right?
My spouse speaks a different language. His love language is quality time. While I was busy doing acts of service to show him how much I care, he felt rejected when I wouldn’t stop to sit down and discuss his day. As a result, he had no interest in offering to wash the dishes.
The example I share about marriage but love languages apply to everyone in your family. If you have children, they have their own love languages. To make it more complicated, most of us don’t have just one. You can easily uncover the love languages of all your family members here.
Lost in Translation
We’ve identified the first problem. Most of us aren’t speaking the same language. But there’s more that’s making our family feel disconnected.
Accomplishing your dream requires focus, time, and effort. The time we carve out to work on these dreams often detracts from our family time. If our family already feels neglected because we’re not speaking the same language, more time away will likely mean more tension.
You might feel like you’re faced with an either-or: put your dreams or put your family on hold. What if you saw this as an opportunity to reconnect instead?
Although the last seven years of building our foundation for freedom have been busy and demanding, my spouse and I are closer than ever. Here are thirteen ways we stay connected while chasing our big bold dreams.
13 Fun Ways to Connect
1 – Hit Pause
My mind is constantly running in a dozen directions. When I wake up I’m instantly thinking about how I’ll structure my day. When working, I’m intently focused on the task at hand. And up until a few years ago, I didn’t respond well to being interrupted. Can you imagine the message this sent to my spouse who speaks the language of quality time?
After learning how important quality time is to him, I learned to hit pause. When I hear him come home in the evening, I stop what I’m doing and say, “I’m happy you’re home, how was your day?” Taking those few minutes to reconnect saves hours of tension and arguments later on.
2 – Early to Rise
Between your day job, side hustle, PTA meetings, and household chores, schedules can get tight. The truth is that we make time for what’s important to us. If your marriage and family are important to you, you’ll make time to connect. If not, you’ll find an excuse.The truth is that we make time for what’s important to us. If your marriage and family are important to you, you’ll make time to connect. If not, you’ll find an excuse. Click To Tweet
Try getting up an hour early to enjoy quality time together. You could go for a sunrise walk, read something inspirational, or enjoy a healthy breakfast. The early hours of the morning are magical. Why not enjoy them with the people most important to you?
3 – Work it Out
To be able to give our best to our families and our communities, we must serve from a full cup. For me, that means getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, daily meditation, and working out.
Since none of these are negotiable, I love to make my workouts a family affair? Whether you prefer going to the gym, afternoon bike rides, or hikes in the woods, you won’t regret doing it together. You’ll probably need to cut a less healthy habit, like television or happy hour to make it work. I guarantee that a year from now, you’ll be happy you did.
4 – Give Back
One of the greatest joys in life is serving others. Volunteering is a great way to connect and grow as a family.
A few years ago, my husband and I began teaching life skills classes through a local ministry. Our experiences have shaped our perspective and worldview. We’ve learned how to work together as a couple and use our respective strengths. Volunteering has been time well spent together.
5 – Get Cookin’
Instead of ordering pizza or hitting up the drive-through, plan to prepare dinner together as a family. Cooking meals together is a great way to connect and get healthy at the same time. There’s no better way to get your kids to try broccoli than giving them the opportunity to lend a hand in the preparation.
6 – Get off the Grid
Earlier in our careers, my husband and I had to get off the grid in order to enjoy vacations. The only way we could avoid filling out reports or going into the office was to leave the country or go deep into the wilderness. Our work lives have changed but the feeling we get when we’re off the grid has not.
We recently returned from a wilderness adventure where there was no cell coverage. It’s amazing how easy it is to connect when the only distraction was the call of the loons. You don’t need to leave the country to escape though. You could all just switch your phones to airplane mode for a weekend. It’s a great way to reset and let go of all the worries of the world.It’s amazing how easy it is to connect when the only distraction is the sound of nature. You don't need to go deep into the wilderness to escape. Just switch your phones to airplane mode for the weekend. Click To Tweet
7 – Find Peace
When you’re back in civilization and racing through life, making time for prayer and meditation will provide the energy you need to keep going. Whether it’s attending a church service or yoga classes, strengthening your spirituality will be more meaningful when you do it together.
8 – Lobby for Hobbies
For most of my life, I thought that hobbies were what you do to occupy time during retirement. Who has time for hobbies between demanding careers and family obligations? Then one day it hit me. What if I never make it to retirement and die before I try all of these things I’ve always wanted to do?
Hobbies play an important role at every age. It’s through our hobbies that we discover our passions. They connect us to others and form supportive relationships. Hobbies help us to live meaningful and joy-filled lives.
Make your hobbies a family affair. Try giving each family member the opportunity to select something they’ve always wanted to do. Then schedule a day to try it together.
9 – Change it Up
We all have our favorite restaurants, vacation spots, and grocery stores. These things are favorites for good reason, but we miss a whole world of tastes and experiences when we stay in our comfort zone.
Next time you’re planning a date, vacation, or errands, change it up. Try a new restaurant, go to a different park, or check out that new Whole Foods. Moving out of your comfort zone and embracing new experiences will connect your family on a whole new level.
10 – Project Time
Anyone who owns a home likely has a dozen projects they’ve been meaning to do. Consider teaming up to complete those projects as a family.
I confess that I prefer to work on projects alone. My husband, on the other hand, wants to do everything as a team. A few summers back, I broke down and agreed to a team effort.
You know what?
It was kind of fun. We talked, listened to podcasts, and learned new skills together. It was a great way to connect and finish the job more quickly. If there’s work to be done, find a way to do it together. I guarantee it’ll be more fun!
11 – Schedule It
Whether we’re talking about work or our personal life, the truth is that if it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t happen. Right now, take out your calendar and mark off eight hours you’ll spend with your family next week. No excuses!Right now, take out your calendar and mark off eight hours you’ll spend with your family next week. No excuses! Click To Tweet
12 – Listen Up
No matter how much time you have together, make the most of it by learning to be a better listener. Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Based on my experience, I agree.
Next time you’re enjoying a conversation with your family, try to be fully engaged while listening. Don’t think about how you’re going to respond. Don’t think about how to solve the problem. Just listen and enjoy the deeper connection that comes from truly listening.
13 – You Only Have Today
The only guarantee you have is today. Let go of past mistakes. Stop worrying about how you’ll achieve your future goals. Focus on the blessings you already have, like your amazing family.
Take time daily to tell them how much you love them. Tell them why they’re important to you. Dream about the future together. Do it today because it’s the only guarantee you have.Do it today because it’s the only guarantee you have. Click To Tweet
Big bold dreams inspire us to live life to the fullest. But don’t forget about the great things you already have in your life. Select three of these tips and implement them today. Before you know it, you’ll be watching your dreams come true with your VIPs at your side.
How do you stay connected to your family while chasing down your dreams?
Share in the comments below.