My Not-Quite-So-World-Changing Dream

In my dream, she’s my best friend, and I am hers. Whenever I get a piece of great news in my life, she’s the first person I want to tell. Whenever something stressful happens, she’s the first person I think of who can comfort me. I hope to be the same for her.

In my dream, she’s the first person I want to spend time with. And I never feel inclined to blow her off to hang out with someone else—not even a dying friend or family member. (But that’s because I’d probably want her there with me.)

In my dream, I love her, and I know without a doubt that she’s the one I want to be with. In return, she loves me back, and she knows without a doubt that I’m the one she wants to be with. Yet, we accept that life is unpredictable. So, while we may never be able to say with absolute certainty that we will always get along, or even that we will love each other perfectly and unconditionally forever, what matters is that we love each other today, we’ll love each other tomorrow, and we’re going to try our hardest to love each other for the rest of our lives.

Because true love is an ideal that we can only strive towards, not an achievable endpoint that grants us complacency once we’ve reached it.

In my dream, I can tell her anything I want, knowing that she’ll accept me for who I am and won’t judge me if I reveal myself to be less than perfect. In return, I will be open to anything she tells me, and my love for her won’t diminish if she reveals her own imperfections. We never need to hide anything from each other, and we’re comfortable sharing everything about ourselves, even the worst baggage that we carry.

Because, hey, I admit that I haven’t quite reached that pinnacle of human perfection. Then again, neither has she.

In my dream, I know that she’s not me, and she knows that I’m not her (not that I’d want to be with the female version of me, anyway). As well as we may get along, we are different people, and that means that we have to be willing to communicate—and work at it. And if we suffer the occasional lapse or breakdown, well, then we just have to keep practicing.

Then soon, we will learn to understand each other fully.

In my dream, we grow together as a couple not by ignoring our missteps and pretending that they never happened, but by accepting that we all make mistakes, and that many (if not most) are forgivable. Instead of refusing to talk about the mistakes we’ve made for fear of causing more distress, or worse, dwelling on said mistakes until they destroy us, we accept that while we can’t change the past, we can still learn from it. And we have to learn from it.

Because we will make plenty of mistakes. Both of us. We just have to vow to move past them and not make the same ones over and over.

In my dream, I’m comfortable telling her how frightening the thought of losing her is. At the same time, I don’t expect—nor do I need—her to parrot the exact same thing back to me. We can always be comfortable revealing our vulnerabilities to each other, because our relationship isn’t a power struggle, with both parties constantly worrying about who loves whom more, who says “I love you” more, or who currently has the “upper hand” in the relationship.

As it turns out, it’s a tie.

In my dream, we both accept that we’re going to have “issues” in our relationship, that it won’t always be perfect. We also acknowledge the possibility that we may encounter colossal problems that drive us to doubt that we’re right for each other. But, we also realize that we will ultimately work these problems out… if we want to.

Because what matters isn’t how big the issues are, but whether or not we’re willing to expend the effort to resolve them.

In my dream, we live happily ever after. But, we also know that we have to work pretty damned hard to achieve “happily ever after.”

There is one problem, though. I sometimes wonder if my dream is really a fantasy….

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  • I think the closest we can get to the dream is to find someone who shares it. But that doesn’t mean it’s a fantasy, rather that it’s an ideal to strive towards.

    • I couldn’t have said it better! I was struggling to come up with the words to express my reaction to this post perfectly… but you were right on the mark.

  • It can be a reality. At least, it is for me. You nailed it.

  • If only more people would try to apply this in real life, the world would be a much better place… But like Rick Allan said somewhere, no sense in playing if games; so I’m just going to email this to a few people and hope it will help make *their* world a little bit better…

  • I’d say you just very accurately described a marriage — and not a “fantasy” marriage full of nightly 2-hour intellectually stimulating conversations unquestionably followed by passionate lovemaking where no one ever has to sleep in the wet spot because the sheets are always clean — but a real one, with ups, downs, compromises, and that suddenly blinding knowledge that yes, it’s hard, but it can work.

    As long as you both want it to.

    But then, that’s always the kicker. 😉

    • I would take even once a month “2-hour intellectually stimulating conversations unquestionably followed by passionate lovemaking” over nighlty humbing a door-post.

  • Funny, the first thought I had when I started to read your last line went in the opposite direction of what you wrote. I was thinking, not only is it not a fantasy, it’s not even always a dream, it’s reality. But like Katie said, “As long as you both want it”

  • Thanks, everyone! And I’m glad for the optimism from the married people on here. 😉

  • If John Lennon were alive today and reading your blog (why wouldn’t he be?), he’d probably leave this comment: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one …”

  • Number nine… number nine… number nine… number nine…

  • Nice work Dennis!

  • That was beautiful, Dr Hong. I hope that I can feel about someone in that way, but as of now, that feeling is so unattainable and distant that I don’t even dream about it.

    In class you seem like an emotionless android incapable of understanding human emotion (sometimes I think that pic of you smiling a Photoshop). However, these articles remind me how wrong I am. Thanks for sharing, Dr Hong 🙂

  • May I make a personal addendum to the dream (which I share!)?
    “In my dream, when I finally fall off his personal pedestal and he realizes I’m human and flawed, he still thinks I’m pretty awesome. In my dream, he has patience for my flaws and doesn’t see them as the scapegoat to pin blame on…”

  • This was beautiful writing. It took me on a dream of my own and made me feel all of the things I imagine you were feeling as you wrote this. I just hope I will find a person who not only makes me dream like this, but also shares the same dream with me.

    • Thanks, Sophie!

      I think what makes it so hard to find this person is that there’s no formula that tells us exactly how hard we should have to work. So sometimes we try too hard on a relationship that we should probably let go. And other times, we don’t try hard enough on a relationship that might have been wonderful….

  • Very true. We often don’t even know what it is we really want, so much so that if the right person fell out of the sky right into our arms we might not even recognize him/her. It takes quite a bit of wisdom to recognize what’s good for us and let go of those things that aren’t

  • Beautiful….

  • the last line breaks my heart…

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