Can you really coexist in an intimate relationship when you are on different sides of the political arena? They say ‘opposites attract’, but can it really work in the long run? I say, yes, if you understand what is truly important….
Let me tell you about one of my ‘learning opportunities’…. a few years ago a serious boyfriend and I were watching a political debate on TV. A very hot political topic came up and I was STUNNED to discover that my partner was completely opposed to my viewpoint on the subject. I couldn’t believe it. I tried with all my passion and eloquence and STILL could not get him to change his mind – the only thing I accomplished with all my wise words was to irritate him. I honestly (at the time) wondered how I could be with someone who thought so differently about something so important to me. We broke up shortly after that incident. The odd thing was that, all of a sudden, the differing viewpoints didn’t matter. All that mattered was that we weren’t together any more.
The truth is that no two people think the same way about things – religion and politics included. No one. There are varying degrees of difference of opinion, but not any two of us think EXACTLY the same way as the other – period. Having some common ground is helpful, but each person has to realize that the other person is their own unique individual with their own views on things. The person and their views need to be accepted and respected in order for the relationship to thrive. I thought it may be impossible to respect the other person’s viewpoint if it was something that was directly opposed to my very passionate view until I realized that I didn’t have to respect the end result as much as I needed to respect my partner’s wisdom and intellect to examine the issue and draw his own conclusion. Basically, how can I say I love and respect my partner if I think he is an idiot? This is a choice. I choose to love because I respect and admire that other person and feel they are worthy of my love and my trust. I will not be able to trust someone that I do not think is smart and can’t trust to make good decisions. This choice of love must stand even when I don’t agree with them. It requires humility and restraint. This is NOT for the faint of heart!
Maybe it is easier if you think very similarly about things, especially religion and politics…. but, where is the soul-stretching in that? James Carville and Mary Matalin could tell us all a thing or two about love, respect and harmony in marriage amidst extremely differing political viewpoints. Bottom line: what really matters is THE RELATIONSHIP! Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
Food for thought…..