“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

–Thomas Jefferson

I am asked how romance can endure our current political climate.  We all have seen politics take on a life of its own lately. Whether you listen to MSNBC or FOX, you undoubtedly have feelings on what you see daily…strong feelings more than likely.  What I am beginning to see is couples… good couples, lives otherwise filled with romance, having serious problems with one being on one side of the fence and one being firmly planted on the other.  In all of this political back and forth it just doesn’t have to be that way… you don’t have to ask, “how could you EVER believe that?” or “No one I love could EVER vote that way!”  Here is a story about a couple who have found a better way and I hope that you will read on and see just what feelings keep them together, and how they manage to respect each other while disagreeing on policy.

 

You see, I know a couple that every Election Day, they pull levers (or push buttons) for some candidates they love, and some they hardly know, but as long as they are in the “correct” party, they are basically happy. The problem is that one is a Democrat, while the other is a staunch Republican who reads the National Review religiously, writes letters to the editor, etc. Their individual party gets their unconditional support. To them, it is a matter of both civic duty and moral obligation to cast their vote and, of course, to cancel out each other’s vote.

For some 21 years, they’ve each been married and they typically, and occasionally violently disagree on almost every conceivable political issue, including—but not limited to—abortion, gun control, and assisted suicide. One thinks the recent government shutdown was absurd, infantile, and destructive, while the other approves wholeheartedly. One wants to see President Trump impeached, while the other wants him deified.

So, why don’t they both agree to just stay home on Election Day? Well—and this is a big one here—even though they trust each other with their very lives, they don’t trust each other’s politics, and yet, would never ask one another not to vote their conscience. They tell me that it took their first 10 years together to accept that not even with their own individual and considerable powers of persuasion, not to mention the self-evident correctness of each of their positions (to themselves), they couldn’t make the other change their mind.

The Democrat partner never even knew Republicans growing up, and certainly never went out on a date with one. But in their late 20s, couple met at a psychology workshop; he was… tall, smart, with intense green eyes and a deep and romantic voice; her petite, stylish, energetic and happy. Neither one could say no. They had each been treated dreadfully by too many people who shared all their opinions to let the others’ politics get in the way, and as far as I can tell, they never regretted it. Their wedding was a dangerously two-party affair, but it all went perfectly. Somehow everyone behaved, and that set a trend that the couple have matched (with only a few short passionate exceptions) ever since that day.

You might wonder how they have they managed not to murder each other. It might surprise you that open-mindedness has very little….actually, it has almost nothing to do with it. Actually, it has proven to be their shared civility, self-control, and mutual appreciation of what they built together—and share—that has meant so much. It also matters that they have a great deal in common in almost every other area of their lives. They are both avid readers, design spirited, psychologically minded, esthetic, nature-loving and close-binding. Their temperaments are both comparable and harmonizing, and they enjoy what I have found to be a rare degree of mutual appreciation. Through a nearly complete lack of envy and a boundless delight in each other, they enjoy each other’s company almost to a fault. Each brings something that they can’t explain to the life of the other, but you can indeed feel it in their presence. They both express their political opinions in writing or with colleagues, but not in conversation together. Over the years, they have also come to know each other’s associates—with whom one or the other always disagrees—and still have learned to count them as friends. It stretches the mind, in the best possible way.

In my experience with them, they rarely fight, at least about politics. They have done the continuing work of learning, over the years, never to begin sentences when discussing current events with, “Do you actually support [fill in the blank]?” They have learned to reserve their opinions for their like-minded friends and when asked, as they often are, how can their charming and sensitive partner possibly hold the opinions they do?

Yes, it takes tact and mental agility, but doesn’t any relationship/marriage require those things of both people? Doesn’t every couple have some kind of profound—or maybe even fundamental— disagreements, even if they vote the same ticket at the ballot box?

I find myself feeling sorry for the growing number of ‘adults‘ and couples who look for—or have found—love only on websites segregated, like TV networks, by redness or blueness, or by some religion or lack of it. When you think about it, it’s really not much better than a match based on an astrological sign, or for that matter, any other external criteria. They have learned over time that the political beliefs people subscribe to say shockingly little about their individual characters. When people segregate themselves by a party or religion, they never discover, as my clients have, that it’s possible to find a soulmate where the only thing you don’t have in common is politics or faith.

Here is an interesting article about a couple that deals daily with the same sort of issues better than most:

http://archive.naplesnews.com/columnists/business/mary-matalin-and-james-carville-the-business-of-love-hate-marriage-and-politics–34b396f1-babc-578f–382634341.html

So, give it some thought and let me know what your thoughts are on this kind of relationship; would it work for you or not?

Enquiring minds want to know….


So, what do you think?  Are you and your partner having issues with politics in your life these days? It can happen to any of us…

If you are, give me a call so we can talk about it… Schedule a time for a free call and tell me about it.

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1 Comment

  • by Ellen
    Posted January 23, 2018 9:24 pm 0Likes

    I love the quote you started this post with.

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