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Mike and Cyndi have been planning a vacation to Hawaii for a year. But they have very different ideas about what they want to do when they get there.

When we’re on vacation, I want to see all the sights!
Mike says: Cyndi and I have always dreamed of going to Hawaii – the warm breezes, the palm trees, the surf. And now we’re finally getting our chance. However, I guess we didn’t really talk about why it was we wanted to go. I want to hike up to the volcanoes – really experience the islands. Cyndi doesn’t want to do anything except sit on the beach!

I want to sit on the beach!
Cyndi says: When I think of Hawaii, I think of orchids and romantic walks on the beach. I want to lie in the sand all day and soak up the sun. This is the first vacation we’ve taken in years where it’s just the two of us – no kids, no pets, no responsibilities. I’m afraid that if we follow Mike’s schedule, we’re going to come back more tired than before we went. When I go on vacation, I really want to “vacate.”

What should they do?:
Jo Anne says, “This is an easy one – just tell him which beach you will be on!” I, on the other hand, believe a different approach may be needed so that both may enjoy the aloha spirit. Clearly, Mike identified the central issue when he said, “I guess we didn’t really talk about why it was we wanted to go …” This is not an unusual situation when dreams are involved. No two people are going to “dream” identically. We are unique individuals first and married couples second. Simply because we are “two becoming one” in our marriage does not mean that we see things in the same way. Our eyes are filtered by our experiences and therefore we see things mostly as unique individuals. The longer we are married, the greater chance we have of our visions merging, because we have had so many shared experiences.
Our first recommendation is for Mike and Cyndi to communicate realistically, share feelings with each other and work toward a compromise. By nature, vacations are limited by time, so you cannot expect to fulfill every wish on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The initial shared dream of going to Hawaii is now a close reality. Now what? First, sit down together and begin the planning process by making the easy decisions first: What flight? What hotel? How long are we going to stay? Where will we eat? Do we rent a car?
After answering these “easy” questions, we recommend that Mike and Cyndi ask four more questions: Why is it important for us as a couple to go to Hawaii? How does it make me feel to help you satisfy your dream? How will our marriage relationship be strengthened by going to Hawaii at this time? Is this what we believe God wants us to do?
An easy way to accomplish this is for Mike and Cyndi to use old-fashioned pencil and paper. Divide the paper into two columns labeled “Mike” and “Cyndi.” On the left side, write the question and place the answers under each person’s column. Where both answers match, an agreement is reached and the total plan is getting closer to satisfying each other’s needs, wants and desires. Where both have different ideas and answers, list the pros and cons of each answer, then discuss the results. If Mike and Cyndi focus on meeting each other’s needs and not their own, they will be surprised with the results. They will discover a little-known fact that their individual needs will be met beyond their expectations if they focus on their spouse’s wants and desires. The results become a gift and not an imposed obligation.

– Tom and Jo Anne Fogle

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