So, here we are in another election year. To be honest, I hate it. It’s tough seeing and hearing the partisan ads on TV and the radio. But what I hate most is the effect I see it having on relationships. And I don’t mean just couples. I mean parents and children, brothers and sisters, church family and friends, and people we’ve been down with since birth. But, since I’m all about marriage health, I must admit it puts me in a bad mood when I read or hear about couples calling it quits over political differences. So, on President’s Day, here are some tips to keep politics from ruining your marriage.
3 Ways to Keep Politics from Ruining Your Marriage
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Over and over again, I’m seeing stories of couples who just can’t hack it in an election year. Every two years in this country, political agendas take over the airwaves and our television screens. It’s disheartening, to say the least. Our nation has become so polarized that we view our neighbors largely through a political lens. Well, here are some ways to keep that lens out of our marriages.
Don’t talk about it
Easier said than done. I know. It’s a tough sell to ask you to not talk about partisan issues, political opponents, and hot button topics. But, it’s possible. In your marriage, there are concerns that have nothing to do with political agendas. Better still, there are areas that bring you joy that should be kept in focus.
If you and your spouse are on different sides of the political aisle, stay there. It doesn’t mean you have to be enemies. It just means that out of all the things in the world to talk about, politics just won’t be one of them.
Find common ground
As previously stated, not talking about politics when it dominates the airwaves, television, and the internet is near impossible. So, if you must talk about it, first find areas of commonality. What are the issues you agree on? Notice I said issues, not candidates.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when discussing politics with your spouse is to belittle the person they feel best represents their point of view on the political spectrum. Rather than attacking a particular candidate, have a grown-up conversation about why an issue matters to you. You might be surprised that you and your spouse aren’t as far off as you seem to be.
Most likely, you got married for more than one reason. Chances are that one of those reasons is rooted in your ability to embrace your partner’s way of thinking. Despite differences, you understand their life experience has shaped their perspective. You may not agree, but you can give credence to their choice.
If you choose to discuss politics in your marriage, do not let the conversation devolve into the same kind of hissy fit we see our politicians engage in. Choose to be the adult in the room and engage in a conversation that highlights your ability to communicate with your partner, even on the hardest of topics.
Look to the future
Look, our federal elections occur every two years. Our presidential elections occur every four years. Marriages have been lasting through political drama for decades. Why can’t yours? When you got married, it was for a lifetime. That means your vows aren’t up for renewal every 2-4 years. The life you are building with your partner is reliant on a few things, but honestly, politics shouldn’t be one of them.
When looking to the future of your relationship, the hot button topics that should matter the most are:
- Communication – are you and your partner growing in your ability to communicate with each other? Whether you’re talking about politics or the best brand of baby formula, can you speak in a way you want to be spoken to?
- Intimacy – how much time are you devoting to your relationship’s spiritual, emotional, and sexual intimacy? Getting close takes time and practice. Give your marriage a chance by committing to both.
- Financial Health – what is your role in advancing the financial health and wealth of your relationship? Are you fulfilling your role? By taking this aspect of your relationship seriously, you’ll find that no matter how many zeros are in your bank account, your relationship has more than a fighting chance of making it.
There are a host of other issues (parenting, fidelity, faith) that matter in marriage more than politics. We talk about them a lot here on this site. None of these topics have to be rooted in a political agenda. However, if you choose to bring politics into the mix, just remember, you got married until death, not politics, do you part.
BMWK, what can you do to keep politics from ruining your marriage?