The government shutdown is all over the news these days – and on a lot people’s minds too. Regardless of how you feel about healthcare, where your political affiliations lie, or how these new, heavily contested laws will affect you personally, we can all agree that a government shutdown is not a good thing, nor is it the best way to solve a problem.
What we’re looking at is a breakdown in communication – a complicated disagreement that many of cannot fully fathom – that has resulted in political gridlock, and no one knows just what the outcome will be.
Now, a marriage doesn’t necessarily work like congress (there are fewer heads to butt together), but we can certainly see the parallels when it comes to making decisions, reaching compromises, balancing budgets, and the like.
And we can also see, from our own experiences, how an argument could get to the point of total shutdown – and this is exactly what we want to avoid, both in government and in our marriages.
In a disagreement with a spouse, there is certainly an amount of negotiation, trying to convince each other too see from the other’s point of view, but if this isn’t working, sometimes you simply “agree to disagree.”
While this is fine for minor things (you aren’t always going to agree on absolutely everything), this could be disastrous for a major life decision like buying a house or resolving serious conflicts.
When you can’t come to an agreement with your spouse, don’t just throw up your hands and walk away – that accomplishes nothing. You owe it to yourself, and the person you’ve committed your life and love to, to hash things out constructively – and avoid a “shutdown” at all costs.
When we get ourselves into this kind of gridlock, we are as ineffective as a shutdown congress – we’re not communicating, not negotiating, and not making any progress toward our mutual goal: resolving the conflict in question.
What’s worse is that when we’re in this state of shutdown, things are actually getting worse. Every day that goes by, communication gets harder and harder, we get more stubborn and think of more ways to reinforce our opinions and dismiss any opposition.
It can take time sort these things out, of course, but when you aren’t even making an attempt to discuss the problems, you lose sight of the important points you should have been considering (all the good points made by your “opponent” in the issue).
The whole time you are in this state of, your resentment for one another grows, other issues pile up, and all the while, you slip further and further away from being able to resolve things productively.
When you and your spouse don’t agree, whatever you do, don’t give up! It is the worst possible way to come up with a solution, and you’ll often end up doing more damage to your relationship. It’s ok to walk away if you’re frustrated – just make sure you come back when you’ve cooled down.
Just as the current government shutdown is causing all kinds of problems as a ripple effect – the same thing can happen to your marriage if you allow it to reach that point!