Many couples express a longing for greater closeness and intimacy in their, marriage or relationship. One very helpful way, which is unfortunately often overlooked, is to share their dreams with one another.
Dreams can be conscious and intentional goals or aspirations like getting a better job or losing weight but they can also be those bizarre and confusing things that we only have glimmers of when we awake from sleep. While the former often express our conscious desires to improve and make positive changes in our lives, the latter commonly reveal unconscious struggles and conflicts about things that bother or threaten us.
It is important to remember that intimacy in a relationship is more than desire or affection. It is also a deep knowledge and trust of the other person. True intimacy is achieved when both partners are able to feel safe enough with each other to expose and share vulnerable and unresolved anxieties. Sharing and talking about bits of mysterious dreams is a wonderful way not only to share those parts of yourself which are not fully understood but it’s also a good way for both partners to learn together and increase both self-awareness and knowledge of the other.
Although this might sound like psychotherapy, it’s important to know that you don’t need a psychiatrist to learn from your dreams. All you need is a curiosity about yourself and your partner and a willingness to talk and see where your conversations take you. It is amazing what connections from your past and present life that you can make. The remnant images and feelings of dreams, no matter how bizarre or nonsensical can provide openings for dialog and personal discovery on many levels.
Personally, I believe that dreams are like postcards from our unconscious, that is that part of our awareness which is beyond our conscious or intentional perception, i.e. the stuff our brain knows but is just outside our immediate awareness.Talking about the bits sometimes opens up our vision and creates a new perspective. It allows us to connect the heretofore unconnected dots and see important patterns of meaning.
The content of the postcards often express different and sometimes conflicted parts of our experience and convey worry and anger as well as excitement and joy. They are, in other words, another path to discover our what is ultimately important to use – our fears and hopes and joys, the very stuff intimate sharing is made of.
Seeing the patterns and becoming more aware of our unfinished issues, whether they are from old emotional wounds or from present challenges is not only important for our own emotional health but also for the health of our relationships. Being able to mutually talk about and share puzzling elements of our dreams is not only a non-threatening way to learn more about one another but is also an excellent way to build trust and intimacy.