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Beyond Blended: Building a Fulfilling Relationship with Shared Dreams

Have you ever hesitated to share a story, even though you know it might inspire others? That was me, unsure why I felt reluctant. But then I realized, this story isn't just about stepparenting; it's about the unwavering power of shared dreams and how they can strengthen any relationship.

Bernard and I are finally on a dream trip we've been planning for a staggering 34 years! Yes, you read that right. Now, if you've been part of my community for a while, you might remember our love for RVing – a passion we've shared for the past 19 years. We even lived full-time in our RV for 18 months after selling our previous home!

Claudette and Bernard getting ready for their big adventure.

Getting Ready for Our Big Adventure

Naturally, the transition to full-time RV living wasn't always smooth sailing. Friends and family bombarded us with questions: "How do you manage?" "Can you really stand being together 24/7?" The truth is, it wasn't always sunshine and roses. We had our fair share of disagreements, both big and small. There were even moments when hurtful words were exchanged.

But here's the secret weapon that helped us navigate these challenging times: our shared vision. Every time we hit a rough patch, we'd reconnect with the "why" behind our commitment. We'd talk about our bucket list, that ever-growing list of dreams waiting to be chased.

The Power of Shared Dreams

I remember reading somewhere (though countless books have filled my shelves, the exact source escapes me) that couples who plan together tend to stay together. It makes perfect sense. When you create a shared vision for the future, you build anticipation for experiences you'll embark on together.

John Gottman, a renowned psychologist, calls this concept "making bids" – a way to connect with your partner and strengthen the bond (you can learn more about this in his blog post here: https://www.gottman.com/blog/want-to-improve-your-relationship-start-paying-more-attention-to-bids/).

One of the biggest items on our bucket list was visiting the Grand Canyon. It was etched in our memories since childhood – breathtaking National Geographic pictures that sparked a yearning for exploration. We'd discuss it for years, but life always seemed to throw us a curveball – child support, college tuitions, kids' weddings, and even facing cancer, twice! You get the picture. Life throws a lot your way.

Facing the Unexpected and Redefining Our Vision

After Bernard's retirement in 2021, the Grand Canyon became our top priority. We envisioned traveling in our RV, visiting National Parks along the way, culminating in that awe-inspiring moment at the canyon's edge. However, 2022 brought a different kind of adventure.

In October, we received a life-altering diagnosis. Bernard had secondary cancer, requiring surgery on his larynx and esophagus. This experience put everything into perspective. Fear of losing my love intertwined with a surge of anger – anger that we might have waited too long to chase our dreams. Our bucket list, once focused on the Grand Canyon, expanded to encompass the vast beauty of all National Parks.

Facing Bernard's health challenges was a turning point. We vowed not to waste another moment. The Grand Canyon remained at the top of our revised list, a symbol of conquering obstacles and living life to the fullest. So, guess where we are now? Yep, standing at the rim of the magnificent Grand Canyon, a testament to the enduring power of shared dreams.

Claudette and Bernard, standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon

The Road Less Traveled (With Technology as Our Co-Pilot!)

Technology has finally caught up to our nomadic lifestyle! We found ways for me to continue working remotely, allowing us to map out our National Park adventure.

Looking back, the arguments, the challenges, all seem insignificant compared to the joy of pursuing our joint dream. Was our trip perfect? Absolutely not! We still had our disagreements (there's no escaping them, even in the most breathtaking scenery!), but we addressed them swiftly because, well, there's no escaping each other in an RV!

The true magic lies in sharing these experiences together, ticking off items from our bucket list, one adventure at a time. There's no one else with whom I'd rather embark on this journey.

What's on Your Bucket List?

This story is just a reminder – a powerful one, I hope – of the importance of creating a shared vision with your partner. It doesn't have to be about extravagant trips or conquering mountains (though those are pretty great too!). It could be anything that excites both of you, a shared goal that fuels your relationship and helps you navigate the inevitable bumps in the road.

So, I urge you to take a moment to reflect and brainstorm with your partner. What are your dreams, both big and small? Maybe it's a weekend getaway to a charming bed and breakfast, learning a new skill together, or volunteering for a cause you're both passionate about.

Together, let's rewrite the narrative of stepmomhood. One shared dream, one adventure at a time!

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About the Author

CLAUDETTE CHENEVERT, aka The Stepmom Coach, works with women as they struggle to create a cohesive family life. As a speaker, author and stepfamily professional, Claudette mentors and guides stepmothers through the process of establishing a harmonious and thriving home life for their families. Her newest title, “The Stepmom’s Book of Boundaries,” is now available on Amazon.com and elsewhere. Learn about her coaching practice and self-study program for stepmoms at StepmomCoach.com.

Claudette Chenevert

The original content you just enjoyed is copyright protected by The Stepmom Coach—aka Claudette Chenevert—who proudly offers information, tips, products and other resources for building better relationships “one STEP at a time” via 1:1 coaching, self-guided coursework and more. Suitability is to be determined by individual users based on their own concerns and circumstances, as The Stepmom Coach does not endorse and is not liable for opinions expressed by third parties (i.e., advertisers, affiliates, audience members, clients).

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