Sunday, April 3, 2011

Relationship Tip of the Week #68-Long Standing Issues-Part 2-Gridlock

You want to have a child; your partner does not. You want to save money; your partner wants to spend. You want to raise your child in your religion; your partner is an atheist. These are the types of problems that can lead to divorce or at the very least, many long nights of arguing or silence. John Gottman, one of the foremost researchers on marriage in our country notes that all couples had 67% of the same issues present five years after his initial interview. These are caused by different needs or views of the world and cannot be easily worked out by compromise. So what's a couple to do? Gottman writes in one of his first books, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work", that the first step is trying not to solve the problem but to move from gridlock to dialogue. He writes that in order "to navigate your way out of gridlock, you have to first understand its cause". He believes that the impasse is a "sign that you have dreams for your life that aren't being addressed or respected by each other". These dreams are "the hopes, aspirations and wishes that are part of your identity and give purpose and meaning to your life." These dreams can be practical or profound and often may be layered one on top of the other; such as the desire to save money may be hiding a deeper need for security. Over the next four weeks, i will describe the steps necessary to address a gridlocked marital issue.

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