He likes Trump; she doesn’t. She wants to vote for Hillary; he can’t believe it. Politics, especially in light of the recent climate, can affect relationships. This election cycle has been particularly hard on many couples. The other night my husband asked me who I was voting for. We’ve both been on the fence, unhappy with our options. I gave him an answer just to see what he would say, and he reacted. “You can’t vote for that person,” he said.
“Why? Who are you voting for?” I asked him. Though he didn’t have an answer, it could have easily turned into a heated argument. But before it got heated between us, I quickly changed the subject. Here’s what you can do when you and your husband have different political views and want to vote differently.
1. Recognize that it is okay to disagree.
You don’t need to change his mind, and he doesn’t have to change yours. You are different people with different perspectives. Your differing political views don’t necessarily reflect differences in what you believe fundamentally. It’s possible that one particular issue is non-negotiable for you and as a result, is being highlighted, while a different issue is more important to your husband.
2. Respect each other’s differences; don’t just tolerate them.
When you’re able to respect your partner’s views, you might actually learn from one another and come to a more balanced perspective. And if not, don’t worry—there are some things you probably agree on.
3. When your political differences are causing conflict, focus on the issues you agree on.
When your political differences are causing conflict, focus on the issues you agree on.
By choosing to focus on what you agree on, you can bridge the gap and take comfort that you don’t disagree about every single issue. Let these feelings of agreement bring you into greater unity. And realize it’s okay to decide not to talk about the areas where you disagree if they are causing conflict.
4. Politics are not more important than your marriage.
Remind yourself of this fact when you’re tempted to get frustrated that your partner wants to vote differently than you. Your chosen political candidate will not be the one sharing life with you, is not the one with whom you’re raising kids, and will not continue to be a significant part of your life when his or her term is over. Your partner will be!
So no matter who you’re voting for, make sure you keep your priorities in perspective. And don’t let a difference in politics get in the way of your most important relationship—your marriage.
Have you had different political views than your spouse during this election cycle? If so, we’d love to hear about how you’ve navigated them.