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The Wedge

Rifts in relationships


-Adam Maisen, LPC-S/TA

· Communication

I have always really enjoyed science. When I was in elementary school, I had the opportunity to participate in a program called Invent America. It was kind of like a science fair, but specifically focused on creating new, innovative ideas for making life easier. This often seems like the goal for people, and rightly so. I remember my parents telling me little sayings when I was younger like, “Work smarter, not harder.” Logical reasoning is a sign of intelligence. But what happens when we are so sure of our own reasoning that we dismiss that of others?

Getting back to inventions, one of the simplest machines ever created was the wedge. This is a very useful tool. If you think about it, many tools are wedges: Flat head screw drivers, shims, pry bars, axes. Oh, I could go on and on, but I digress. So, back on topic. When we feel so strongly about our own reasoning, thoughts, or beliefs that we dismiss those of others, then we tend to drive a proverbial wedge in between ourselves and others. Typically, this does not happen all at once. It is more like a hammer on a chisel that chips away at the relationship little by little.

The reality is that relationships are hard. I might go as far to say that they are one of the most challenging pieces of the human experience. I have said it many times before. If you put 5 people in a room and ask them about a very controversial topic, you will most likely get 5 varying opinions. This is why controversial topics are, well, controversial. When people feel strongly about their viewpoint, they are not easily shaken. So what does this have to do with relationships? Well, A LOT, actually.

Relationships are about teamwork, togetherness, and mutual respect. If everyone has their own opinion and it differs from the opinions of others, negotiation and middle ground has to be found if the relationship is going to work. Another way of saying this would be, “If EVERYONE is right, then NOBODY is right.” When control is our goal more than teamwork, we allow the proverbial wedge, a divisive device, to enter the relationship. As a result, unmet expectations and resentment can form pretty easily. In future blog posts, I will discuss more fully about how this affects different kinds of relationships: marriage, parent/child, friendships, etc.

If you would like to hear more about safeguarding your relationships when there is an axe to grind, follow me on Facebook by following the link below and watch for more upcoming blog posts.

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