We rarely speak to political issues on this blog, but there is no doubt the political tension is high and we have witnessed an uptick in political issues affecting marriages in many of our recent Marriage Intensives. Every newscast, social media feed and magazine has a reference to an issue or a politician.
For some, political discourse is a spectator sport. We watch it as if watching our favorite sport contests. Others enjoy the voyeurism of it all. We watch to see the implosions and scandals. Some of us do not care one bit and we hardly ever watch news anymore.
Then there is the political junkie. We listen to talk radio all day and binge watch news supporting our political views and vilifying our foes. We buy the merchandise, go to meetings, give and raise money, and champion the cause of our issues.
How Political Issues Can Hurt Your Marriage
In this political climate, some marriages will be negatively affected. Here are some of the things that you can do to damage your marriage during this political season.
- Convince spouse your candidate/cause is best. Arguing with your spouse in order to convince them to vote your way denies their right to their own thoughts, feelings, assumptions and behaviors.
- Keep angry toward the other side. When you fill your head full of your brand of politic’s propaganda and talk radio’s inflammation of the issues, your anger will keep you from being fully present and emotionally available for people you love. Sometimes your anger about the issues will be misdirected toward them.
- Stay up late watching political commentary. Not falling asleep together and not sleeping in the same bed together diminishes some of the health benefits of long lasting marriages. Sleeping together (instead of alone) has great mental and physical advantages.
- Pay more attention to politics than to your spouse. Some spouses may feel like they are competing with your candidate and your cause.
- Make financial contributions without discussion. Giving unilaterally to your cause or candidate without having a discussion about how the two of you will spend money this political season creates mistrust.
- Put your spouse down for political views. Making condescending and inconsiderate statements about your spouse’s political views puts distance between the two of you.
- Unilaterally place political marketing products on property. If you and your spouse are not on the same page, placing bumper stickers on vehicles and banners or signs in the front lawn can lead to resentment in your spouse.
- Require spouse’s attendance at events. Unless you are on the same page, demanding your spouse attend a fundraising dinner or volunteering for your cause will create dissonance between you.
- Watch and listen to politics as much as possible. Instead of being with your spouse doing something together, spending almost all your time watching politics away from your family creates great distance between you two.
- Get into social media debates with those you disagree with. Arguing online with someone tells a good deal about your character. Every one of your and their online contacts can see the argument. What you say and how you say it has implications for your spouse’s reputation. It can alienate you from your contacts and your spouse.
Surviving this Political Season
If you are like us, your commitment to your marriage is lifelong. You made a vow to love your spouse “until death do us part.” The political season is really a small part of a lifelong marriage. Here are some tips for surviving this season in a way that maintains what really matters beyond this political season.
- Pray together. You believe strongly in your political views because you love your country. Spend time to talk to the one in control of everything about the issues close to your heart. Take turns praying together about our country and its leaders.
- Give spouse room for their own political views. Love your spouse while letting them believe what they think about what is best for this country. Protect their right to their opinion if your friends or others attack.
- Turn away from politics and toward your spouse daily. Set aside time every day where all you are thinking about is your spouse. Remove yourself from the political environment to focus on your spouse. Turn your television and other devices off or away from politics and enjoy your spouse.
- Become present before entering your home. Take a few moments as you exit your vehicle and mentally leave any anger or negative feelings about the day’s politics outside the door. When you enter the house, enter with excitement to reconnect with your spouse. If you cannot shake the negative feelings, try listening to something other than political talk radio for a few days and watch your mood improve.
- Have a hard conversation about any problems that arise. If you find that you and your spouse are struggling during this political season, have the courage to have the hard conversations that you need to have. Here are the courageous conversation rules.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. What other suggestions you would add to this article? Do you know someone you need to forward this article to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2017. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.