There are many times in which I find myself "butting heads" with my husband on different topics. Mostly it is just out of making good conversation; I being the devil's advocate. There are some issues that we seem to just not understand each other on and this causes gridlock, a term used by Dr. John Gottman. Gridlock is when I and my husband just cannot hardly talk about a certain subject without us being frustrated, having no affection towards each other, and it just gets worse and harder to talk about.
I have an example of this. Rybot and I have opposing views on education. We both agree that being educated is very important, but for him, formal education is "unnecessary" and is just not the way for him. I was raised to want to go far in my formal education. I like the structure and I love accomplishing things; seeing things through to the end. My continuing education has been a topic throughout our 2 1/2 years of marriage. It was really a tough topic and has become something that we don't talk about a ton; at least I don't get much of a response from him when I bring up my school related struggles. Principle 6 of Dr. Gottman's book, "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" is called overcoming gridlock. The reason that is given for gridlock is hidden dreams. The issue is not really should I continue going to school, but Rybot and I each have underlying dreams or opinions, deeply rooted in who we are, concerning education.
There are definitely things that we agree on about education, but our personal educational journeys have been different. Rybot was homeschooled some and went to school some, but is a great self-learner. He doesn't think that one should be defined just for what degree they hold, which I also agree with. There are some people who know how to go through the hoops of school and get a degree, but may not really understand what they need for their chosen field.
I love having the structure that is found in formal education; it helps me to stay focused and gives me direction. I want to continue and finish what I have started. My family has helped me and pushed me along the way.
Rybot and I do not have to agree on all of this, but we do need to find a way to make this difference work for us. We have to work out a compromise of some sort on how we will direct our children educationally, thus it needs to be something that we can discuss. This week as I learned about hidden dreams I brought this topic up with Rybot and that is how I got to a deeper meaning for each of our opinions on this subject. We have a clearer path on how we can make our differences work. Though Rybot doesn't really understand why I keep doing school even though it seems to be the cause of most of my stress, he has decided to try to be a better support and be more empathetic when that is what I need.
Dr. Gottman wrote, The difference is that the happy couples are aware of each other's dreams and consider helping each other realize them to be one of the goals of marriage." Rybot has been doing a great job about letting me go to school and not telling me I shouldn't, but as we talked about the deeper meaning of our dreams, we are both going to work harder at helping each other with our dreams.