Moving From Gridlock to Dialogue

Moving From Gridlock to Dialogue

by Wayne Cagle, MEd
Licensed Professional Counselor – Supervisor

In many cities, traffic is an everyday occurrence. People trying, for example, to get to and from work often find themselves barely moving. Usually, this is resolved in a relatively short period of time. There’s that moment when everything starts to open up, and traffic begins to flow, and people eventually arrive at their destination. Sometimes due to design, patterns, or unforeseen events, traffic comes to a halt, and nothing moves. Patience grows thin. Suggestive and downright offensive gestures are offered up. Every man for himself, insisting on getting to their destination regardless of others. No one gets where they’re going. This is called gridlock.

Couples often find themselves in a similar situation. Problems tend to slow down a couple’s ability, for a time, to relate and connect to one another. But, just like daily traffic, they eventually either resolve or move around an issue.

Sometimes, however, certain issues cause a couple’s relationship to come to a dead stop. Patience grows thin, gestures are often offered, and the insistence of one’s goal as more important that their partner’s causes a gridlock in the relationship.

Gridlock problems are problems based on differences that have been poorly handled and have turned into something quite negative. When a couple is gridlocked over an issue and try to discuss it, it feels like they are “spinning their wheels” and getting nowhere. They seem to have the same conversation over and over again, making little, if any, headway. Over time each individual becomes more and more entrenched in his or her position, more polarized and more extreme. Conversations on the issue lead to frustration and hurt, with little-shared humor or appreciation when they talk about the problem. They may start vilifying one another with both feeling criticized, rejected, and unaccepted. Learning to move from gridlock to dialogue is essential for the health and success of the relationship.

If you would like help moving from gridlock to dialogue, start the conversation. Live well. Let us help.

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