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Crossing a Bridge

I was walking over a white stone bridge with my wife, but it was like an old rope bridge with missing planks, and I was having trouble with the walk because I’m afraid of heights and I kept tripping in the missing planks. Then my wife would be uncaring and pulling my arm and saying, “Come on, hurry up, let’s go.” That is not her in reality.

So all of a sudden we were in an airplane going somewhere and I had a window seat and some stranger was in the middle of us and she was only talking to him. And when I would say something like “yeah, hello, thanks a lot,” she would just do it more.

Then my dream changed setting again. All of a sudden I was in my kitchen with my teeth falling out and blood was everywhere. I didn’t know what to do so I put my teeth in a cup of milk. So there’s the dream. I had three different settings in my dream.

–chris, age 18, male, married, valhalla, NY

Hi Chris,

Not only did you have three settings in your dream, you also had seven well-known dream symbols — all of which appear to be related to your recent (judging by your age) nuptials! Let’s take them one by one.

As your dream begins, you and your wife are walking over a white stone bridge. Bridges in dreams are symbols of transition, because when we cross them, they lead us to a new location. It is significant that the bridge is white, and that it is made of stone. White is a color that we know is associated with weddings. It also would be difficult to think of a more stable structure than one made of stone.

Nevertheless, as you cross this symbolic bridge together, two new symbols make their appearance. Suddenly the bridge becomes “like an old rope bridge with missing planks,” which causes you to lose your balance. The bridge becoming unstable suggests that the road to married life may be more challenging than you originally thought. Similarly, losing your balance suggests occasionally confusing emotions as you make this transition.

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Next you find yourself seated in an airplane. Airplanes in dreams are frequent metaphors for desires to “reach new destinations.” Common goals include career ambitions (“landing” a new job or “arriving” at a prestigious business status), as well as personal goals, such as finding a committed relationship, becoming married, or starting a family. As your new marriage to your wife “takes flight” though, for the second time in this dream you have difficulty getting her attention. She keeps talking to someone else on the plane!

Finally, you arrive home with your teeth falling out and blood everywhere. (This has not been a good day!) Teeth-falling-out dreams are common metaphors for concerns about our appearance and desirability (we lose “our smile”), and for feelings of powerlessness, as we lose our “teeth” that we use to “bite into things.” The blood flowing from your mouth also is a common dream metaphor for loss of power — the vital force is “draining away.”

Because you write that your wife’s behavior in the dream is “not her in reality,” your dream most likely indicates a simple need for increased support in your life right now. Given that you and your wife are a young couple, it’s natural to wonder about the “direction you’re headed” — and about whether or not you’ll actually ever “get there.” If you have been nervous, though, rest assured that your wife also has had her share of doubts. What’s the solution? Tell your wife that you love her, and make sure you give her as much attention as you want her to give you.

Charles McPhee is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a master’s in communication management from the University of Southern California. He received his board certification to perform polysomnographic testing for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders in 1992. McPhee is the former Director of the Sleep Apnea Patient Treatment Program at the Sleep Disorders Center of Santa Barbara, California; the former coordinator of the Sleep Disorders Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA , and the former coordinator of the sleep research laboratory at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. Please visit his website for further information.

Crossing a Bridge

Charles McPhee

APA Reference
McPhee, C. (2020). Crossing a Bridge. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 Jul 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 Jul 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.