On my '96, this started happening to me. It got tighter and tighter. I had to really force it into each gear selection. I also noticed that the needle on the dash wasn't aligned with each selection exactly. The cable ended up breaking. So, it might be a sign that you're shift cable is getting ready to break too.
Currently driving a 2009 Focus SE Sedan w/5-Speed!
1997 Geo Prizm
1996 Ford Taurus G
Formerly "Mr. X"