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When someone you love is dead-set against your big dream -- Should you give it up?

Dear Desirée: In this week’s column a reader asks, how do you deal with someone you love being hellbent against your dream? What if you can't agree with a spouse on where to spend the money or who's big dream should win out? Should you give in to keep the peace, or fight it out?

Stop light on green

Dear Desirée,

I’ve been following your blog for a couple of months now and I’ve really been doing the work on putting myself first (Hello, Leading Lady energy) and on changing my stories to better ones.

One of the things that has become clear to me is that I want to re-decorate the house. It’s been ten years since my husband and I moved in and and we still have not decorated. We have white walls and mis-matched furniture from previous homes. I really feel like my best self lives in a home that feels like… Well, like a home, and not a chaotic pit of despair. I’m no longer willing to settle for mismatched, hand-me-down furniture and boring white walls.

My husband is very resistant to the idea. He’d rather spend the money on new toys and vacations. I’m not against vacations or a new car at some point, but I think there’s a middle ground here. He isn’t the only one working and putting money in the pot. Some of that money is mine as well! But without his ok, I feel like I can’t go forward.

Help! What do I do? Should I give up on my dream home in order to keep peace? Is there any hope of getting what I want with him dragging his feet and being upset through the whole process of re-decorating?

Without him on board I’m stopped in my tracks, and I’m really starting to resent him for it!

— Despondent in Des Moines

Can other people stop us from our dreams? Not unless we let them. If you wait for permission or approval in your life, at some point, you’re going to find yourself waiting for a long time. Maybe forever. Because not everyone is going to approve of our dreams and ideas, or even of who we are.

And sometimes they have a vested interest in not approving. Sometimes our up-leveling and the changes we’re making feel threatening to the people who love us just as we are, and count on us.

When you change, it often forces the people around you to change too, whether they want to or not. Believe it or not, your husband or anyone who’s trying to thwart you my be nervous about losing you.

He may like things as they are, and you elevating your living space might prompt him to wonder, is she going to turn me in for a better, more up-leveled model too?

If he can get you to go back to how you were, or not even attempt to re-decorate, he doesn’t have to do the work of getting used to something new, or of worrying about you leaving. Keeping stability and the status quo in place is a major motivator for many of us.

So, what do you do? You want to redecorate, but you don't want to lose the hubby. So how do we change and take the people we love along with us for the ride?

Well, whether your husband truly disapproves of the idea of decorating the house, or is simply wary and anxious about the changes you might be making for the both of you, the process of moving forward is the same if you’d like to take him with you.

1. Get clear on why you want it

What does having this thing mean to you? What would a beautiful home give you emotionally? If you know your why, then you can communicate from that place.

You might say something like:

“I’m really excited to have a home that I can walk into and feel at peace. I walk in here now and nothing matches, there's nothing in here that you and I picked out... It just feels like someone else's home and it's chaotic. I want our home to be a reflection of how great we are together."

The people who love us want us to be happy. Now don’t expect him to approve or accept your why, just be clear on what’s motivating you. But, sometimes when people hear the joy and pleasure in our voices, it’s more convincing than our rational explanations.

If they can see in your words and face that you light up when you talk about there's a good chance they'll get on board. Or, even if they don't, they at least understand where you're coming from more.

2. Make it about both of you

Don't make it an ultimatum unless it really is one. Since you understand his point of you, and in fact, as you mentioned in your email, you can see his point, tell him that. Offer reassurance, that things aren’t going to completely change and that you want to do this together.

"I don't want us to completely change our lives and lifestyle. I love vacations as much as you, but this is really important to me, and the desire for a beautiful home isn't going away. I want us to do this together, to both get some of what we want. That's really important to me."

3. Take it slow.

Instead of tearing up the whole house, or having him lose his favorite room to construction for 6 weeks, think about starting slowly, but meaningfully.

Choose one room to re-decorate, and make it the one that will have the most impact for you. If you love to cook, then the kitchen might just be the place to start. Maybe your bedroom is dismal, and you'd love to see it be an oasis. Start there and leave the rest alone for now.

Be sure and let the people around you know the plan before you begin, and give them a chance to ask questions. Which brings me to number four.

4. Go forward, despite pushback.

Expect griping and last minute attempts to dissuade you. Smile and nod, but don't give in to them. You've come too far to give up now, and you know it. Remind yourself that you’re worth it. You get to have your needs, want and dreams met too. That's important.

And while he may or may not have supported you the way you had hoped, you might be surprised when it’s said and done, when he sees how happy it makes you, (and how little it changes your life together) how willing he is to get on board with more of your dreams.

5. Keep going.

Whether he or anyone else gets on board or not, if you like the results, then repeat steps 1 through 4 on another space as money and time and permits. Or even on other dreams. After all, as long as you’re compromising and both getting things you want, what’s the problem? In my book there is none.


I hope that helps and if you happen to need someone to hold your hand, and help you work through the how to navigate your goals and your relationships, I’m here to help!

A life coach can be a great cheerleader, accountability partner and can help you celebrate all those wins. Not to mention work through all those pesky fear-inducing thoughts.

If you’re interested in working with me you can schedule your FREE CONSULT here:

Or contact me at: or use messenger here on Facebook or Instagram! I love helping people just like you!

And with that, I’m off! I will see you all next week in the meantime here are some other articles you might enjoy:

If you’d like to write in a question for coaching feel free to message me on Facebook or email me at

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