In the aftermath of a divisive election season, many of us are painfully aware of the people in our lives who don’t hold the same views that we do. Name-calling, arguments, protests and even violence have broken out across the United States. It seems our country is as divided as it has ever been in the last century.
One of our natural inclinations when we disagree with people is to withdraw from them or push them away. Maybe we don’t want to argue or just can’t get over our political differences. This election season may prove especially challenging for close relationships.
What should we do if the person we are dating has different political views? What if they voted for a different candidate? Is that a good enough reason to call the whole thing off?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you find yourself dating someone with a different political perspective.
How Big Is The Divide?
If political views are something that might divide you, one of the first things you should do is have a calm conversation and figure out how much you disagree on. Encourage your significant other to be open and honest, and be prepared to hear them out.
The goal of these conversations is to express your views and listen to each other without interrupting; don’t argue or try to convince each other of your own views. You are simply gathering information. What do you really believe, and why? It is possible to have different views, but to be united in the reasoning behind those views.
These conversations can be painful and awkward, but they are important. Have your questions ready and prepare yourself to calmly listen to their entire response.
What Brought Us Together?
Take time to remember all the things that drew you together in the first place. What are the reasons you started dating? Make a list of the things you admire about each other, your shared interests and your memories together. These are all reasons to work through your political disagreements.
You may find out that there are many more reasons to stay together than to break up. The wise couple is not only focused on their individual differences, but also the unique ways they complement one another. Don’t break up over politics before thinking about all the things you love and admire about each other.
Where Is Our Relationship Headed?
One recommendation I always give couples is to date with intention. What is the end goal of your relationship? I am amazed at how many couples today date for years and years and never talk about where their relationship is headed.
If your relationship is headed toward marriage, it is important to work through your different political perspectives sooner rather than later. If this is going to be something that keeps you from moving forward, it’s better to know now. Why keep investing in a relationship if its end date is certain? Breaking up is hard, but it’s harder the more you invest yourself.
If your political differences are going to be a deal-breaker, make that decision and move on.
Could We Still Have A Happy Marriage?
When I was a single man, I used to think that the perfect woman would be the one who agreed with me in just about everything. But once I met my wife, we realized there are many things that we have different perspectives on. We actually have opposite personalities. I’m the rational thinker and she’s the empathetic feeler.
While we were dating, we discovered many ways that we look at the world differently. But we have learned to celebrate those differences and see that some differences can actually make a relationship stronger.
So far in our marriage, we haven’t had any conflicts about politics. We haven’t really talked about it much. We talk a lot more about what we are spending our money on and what’s for dinner. I say this to provide perspective. You many think you could never marry someone with a different viewpoint, but you might be surprised how little an issue that can be in daily married life.
In marriage, it’s much more important you are able to listen to each other and respect each other through disagreements, big and small. Disagreements can be character-revealing moments for couples. Perhaps the best thing that can happen this political season is that you discover how you each work through a difference of opinions. Are you able to humbly listen to each other? Or do you tend to demand your partner see things your way?
Talk about things you disagree on. You may see things in each other you haven’t seen before, both for the good and the bad.
You may also be interested in How To Show Love To Family Members Amidst Political Differences