It's possible to get what you BOTH want.
I received this question via email:
Hi there - I’ve been enjoying your posts (when I find time to read them!) and love how inspiring they are.
My husband and I are not really on the same page. One of my main goals has been to travel. I used to backpack but now we live in a house with 2 kids, a cat, and a dog! We have our bills and debts and he's the main income earner. I love what I do (self-employed) but earn very little.
I am willing to downsize in order to achieve the goal of taking my kids travelling every year, but for him it’s a no-go. He thinks it’s best to stay put, pay off the house etc and maybe one day go somewhere. This is really difficult for me.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for reaching out!
Greg and I have been there before -- wanting to do things we couldn't do at the time, or each of us wanting to do DIFFERENT things.
I can't tell you what your solution will be.
But I can tell you that discovering a solution that will work for BOTH of you is possible as long as you are willing to have the conversations.
Start by committing to just talk about it. Talking about it does NOT mean it's going to happen -- you need to both be aware of that.
As long as you both agree that talking about it is just that -- talk -- then he doesn't need to be afraid that having the conversation will mean it's definitely going to happen.
And you won't get your hopes up too much, because you know you're just examining the idea from all sides.
Being willing to open up your mind to new ideas and discuss them together is a valuable process on its own. It helps you learn to understand each other better and what matters most to each of you.
What you decide to end up doing is not nearly important as the journey of self-and-spouse discovery you will go on by having open conversations.
The next thing is that through the (on-going) discussions you have about what you really want out of your life, really listen to what's important to him. Discover what he really needs or wants in order to feel 'safe' to take off on an adventure like this. Discover what you really want when you say you want to 'travel with your kids'. This may take weeks or months, that's okay.
He says 'pay off the house', but maybe he'd be open to yearly trips if you were paid ahead on the house, out of debt, and had XX dollars in the bank.
You say 'travel with the kids' -- is that week-long or month-long (or more) excursions? International or domestic? How much will it cost? Figure out the specific prices.
Too often our ideas of what we need or want are too vague and so it seems finding a compromise is 'impossible'.
But when you get down to the nitty-gritty details, you realize there is common ground -- with no debt, XX in the bank and X months ahead on the mortgage, then we can take X month(s) a year to travel to Greece and it will cost XX.
You get the idea. Find out the specific details. You can't really make big life decisions like this without knowing all the tiny little details that are involved.
Then once you both have those details on paper, you may realize it's more realistic than you thought. Or you might realize it's still too big. In that case, scale it back until it seems challenging but doable.
Downsizing is not always the best option. It's AN option, but better if both spouses are on board and committed to the dream of traveling at all costs.
But sometimes you need to 'upsize' instead. That doesn't mean buying more stuff and a bigger house. That means earning more so you have more freedom to do BOTH what you and he want to do.
Brainstorm and come up with ideas on how to do that, then get to work. Have a garage sale to simplify your belongings (clearing up space in your house clears up space in your head and heart to work on other things).
Get extra work or another job. Learn how to scale your business, get more clients, and more sales per client (this can help with that).
It may take some time. That's okay. Time will pass anyway, so you can be closer to your goal because of your hard work, or still just dreaming about it. Plus, as you go through this process together you'll be closer as a couple, debt-free, and more financially secure.
And that's the best part.
(If you need additional help for communicating and connecting with your spouse, this will help.)
Please email your questions here!