The key to getting out of a relationship “gridlock” is to have a dialogue, said CHC senior pastor Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho in their final instalment of the Relationship Builder series.
Gridlock kills relationships and is a sign that dreams are unaddressed or not respected, say Kong Hee, City Harvest Church’s senior pastor and his wife, Sun Ho. A gridlock, as the traffic term suggests, is when neither party wants to give in and so nobody can progress. To end the gridlock, the couple needs to take time to discover each other’s dreams.
Over the weekend of Apr 23 and 24, the couple shared their final instalment of the series—learning how to solve perpetual unsolvable problems. Addressing the wide demographic of the congregation, Kong said that marriage is the hardest relationship to master, and having the skills to handle marriage will help any kind of relationship.
“Perpetual problems cause a couple to have the same argument over and over again,” Kong said. “We get caught in a gridlock and it is like getting stuck in a situation where no progress can be made.”
“The solution is to move from gridlock to dialogue,” Ho adds. “Behind every gridlock, there is always a cause and the cause stems from a dream that is unaddressed or not respected.”
As an example the Kongs shared how the two of them often got into disagreements because Kong saw missions as his lifelong ministry while Ho’s dream was to build a strong local church to meet the needs of the congregation.
Sharing from their experiences, the couple shared five steps to moving out of a gridlock.
“Many times we bury our dreams after marriage because we don’t want to be selfish,” Ho said. “Don’t do that because it’s killing your marriage. We must talk about our dreams because we’ll never be happy unless our dreams are fulfilled.”
She encouraged couples to find out each other’s dreams through the second step.
STEP #2: Communicate thoughts and feelings clearly and honestly
“Even if it seems childish or impractical, it is important that the both of you discuss the dream,” Ho said. “If not, conflicts will be inevitable.”
The Kongs also warned the congregation not to judge the other partner’s dreams.
“You may not want to participate, but you can still show respect by listening to him or her talk about it,” Kong advises.
The pastors related an experience during an Indonesian mission trip. Ho wanted to climb Mount Kinabalu, but Kong was very reluctant. The husband eventually gave in but remembered it as an experience that he would never want to go through again.
“Even if you both do not share a dream, be a friend. Do what best friends will do: listen!” said Kong. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others”.
He went on to share three levels of communication: be understanding and interested in the dream, offer financial support and be a part of the dream.
“You do not have to share his or her dream. Simply by honoring it, you can break the gridlock,” he says.
STEP #3: End The Gridlock
Kong reminded the congregation that Roman 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men”.
To end the gridlock, a couple needs to accept each other’s dreams and come to some kind of compromise. To do that, Ho advised the couple to declaw the issues by separating them into the ones that they cannot give in to and the ones that they can be flexible about. The goal is to widen the area of issues that they can be flexible about and make the conflicted area as small as possible.
“In a marriage, we cannot be selfish. Love does not demand its own way.” Ho explained.
In closing, the Kongs encouraged married couples to develop a sense of shared meaning by creating an inner life together.
“Develop a life together that incorporates both persons dreams, beliefs, values and goals,” said Kong.
Genesis 1:28 says, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”
The Scripture shows how God called male and female with separate identities yet gave them a vision together as one.
“Let our marriage here be one where our dreams and goals are all celebrated,” Kong concluded.
Becoming a dream detective extends beyond a relationship between married couples. Members find the message to be applicable to ministry as well.
Adeline Low, 23, a student from the Singapore Institute Management (SIM) said, “I think, as a leader, it is important to be a dream detective. When you are able to help someone accomplish their dream, that is one of the best things you can bless them with.” Low is a connect group leader and usher ministry leader.
“I like how Pastor and Sun emphasized that not all marriage problems have to be solved,” said Felicia Lee, 25, an early intervention teacher. “One thing I will apply to my relationships is to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger; to be less selfish and more selfless in giving my ear and heart to listen.”
Dorothy Tan, 23, a National University of Singapore undergraduate agreed with the message. “It’s not about ignoring our personal dreams and aspirations but the growth of both individuals and how they achieve them together. That is how two become one.”