LOVE IN THE TIME OF MIDTERMS: HOW TO KEEP PEACE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS

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Remember back in 2016 how we all felt a bit of election fatigue? There were some very unhappy families and even broken relationships that resulted from the lead up to the Presidential election. Maybe you were one of the couples that had to take a break from the media and political discussions because they became too heated and personal?  Heading into the midterms this year is bound to be stressful, especially if there are dissenting opinions in your family. If you and your partner hold differing political views, this can potentially cause strife in your love relationship as well.

I believe there is a way to keep the peace in your relationship, and still be true to your civic conscience.  It takes some self-awareness and some real effort on the part of each of you to cope in this political climate. Those of you who are civic minded and politically savvy understand just how important these midterm elections are to the country as a whole and to your city and congressional district. Please keep these things in mind as the elections near.

Avoid escalation

We all have our opinions and many of us feel strongly about the changes we want to see in the political system and in our own towns and communities. If you and your partner have opposing views it IS possible to have a civil discussion about them and each air your feelings. Then stop. Don’t allow the discussion to escalate from a disagreement to an argument. Lay out your platform and state your case. Then move on to the next topic. Lively debate can help keep the relationship stimulating. but beware of letting the issue become more important than the respect you have for one another. Your feeling of closeness with your partner is far more important.

Agree to disagree

Don’t try to change your partner’s mind or loyalty when it comes to politics. They know their own mind and are entitled to feel the way they feel. They are under no obligation to think the way you do or to agree with your opinion. Each of you has autonomy when it comes to politics. That’s why we have secret ballots and are able to vote our consciences.  It’s great to share why you support a certain bill or law and you may change your partner’s mind by giving them your views on why you support or oppose the candidate or cause. Lay out the facts and your interpretation and they will make up their own mind.

Don’t make it or take it personally

Even if you’re out there rallying for your cause or organizing for your candidate, you must realize that everyone is not going to get on board. If your partner is opposing or disagreeing with your stance, it can be hard not to take that personally. There’s a lot to be said for being passionately working for a cause, and you are free to do that, just as your partner is free to vote against that very candidate or cause. It’s not about you, it’s about the process and everyone taking part in it and doing their own civic duty. This is what’s great about America. Two people can love their country equally, and yet still have differing views about how things should be run in government.

My wife and I have differing political views. We make it a fun time telling each other , jokingly, that we should not even bother to vote because our votes are going to cancel each other out. The important thing here is having a sense of humor and recognizing we both care about our country and being glad that we both take our civic responsibility seriously and participate in the voting process. The relationship has to be more important than anything including your political beliefs.

Make your relationship the most important issue

Election cycles come around every two years, but our partners and families are a lifetime commitment. Nothing should overshadow your relationship or be the cause of strife within your home. Remember who you’re talking to when it comes to these political discussions. Be respectful and polite and realize that more than anything happening around you, the two of you are the most important issue in your life. If you can have friendly rivalries and competitions and keep a sense of humor and stay grounded together, you can get through this and every election cycle without causing any harm or hurt feelings between you.

Always vote with your heart when it comes to your relationship. You and your partner together can ride out this midterm election cycle and all the others to come.

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2018-11-06T17:38:36+00:00

About the Author:

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Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. His weekend workshop, Two Days: Seven Conversations has become a popular venue for many to set off on their journey of connectedness. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channeland by subscription in Stuart’s Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. He lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona.