The more you work to use the previous principles discussed throughout this blog series, the less likely you are to engage in gridlock. However, if you are currently in gridlock with your partner, the goal isn’t to give in or lose. It’s to not hurt your partner while working through your issues.
Gridlock is a sign that a dream you have for your life is going unacknowledged, being disrespected, or your partner is unaware its an issue. Common dreams often cited by couples include a sense of freedom, feeling at peace, exploring who I am, honor, having a sense of power, dealing with growing older, being productive, and traveling to name a few.
When dreams are accepted, acknowledged, and shared within a marriage, couples are able to sort through these issues and remain happy together. When a partner isn’t aware of a dream or doesn’t respect their spouse’s dream, gridlock ensues. Therefore, in order to understand gridlock, you and your partner need to identify which dream is fueling the conflict. Uncovering a hidden dream can be challenging for couples, especially those who have already emotionally disengaged. In order to talk about your dreams, you need to feel safe in your marriage to share those feelings. This requires you to work on principles such as enhancing your love maps, nurturing your fondness and admiration, turning toward each other, and allowing your partner to influence you. These principles can strengthen the emotional safety in your marriage. Once you feel like you and your partner are in a place to work on gridlock issues, consider the following:
Overcoming gridlock requires patience and practice. Both partners will also need to show commitment and faith in one another. When you are able to discuss these gridlock issues with humor, and it no longer overwhelms the relationship, the love and joy you and your partner share can flourish. Stay tuned for the final blog post and the last Gottman principle: Create Shared Meaning.