Dear Kate: Help! I can’t stand my husband’s politics.

By Katharine Luckinbill

Dear Kate,

Every four years my husband and I dread the presidential election—he’s a Democrat, and I’m a Republican. We argue over every little remark, comment, topic, and debate we see or read about. I am actually wondering how I could’ve married someone so diametrically opposite. I guess this wouldn’t be so bad, except we are two very passionate people who both think we are right when it comes to our country’s future. Can you help us before we argue politics to the death?!

Sincerely,
Politically Correct

****

Dear Politically Correct,

SIGH. Politics, Politics, Politics.

As Winston Churchill famously said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” I couldn’t agree more with Sir Winston on this, for problems just like this one.

Isn’t it frustrating that we have a government—but even worse, a nation—bitterly divided over differences of opinion? Families and homes broken down the middle because one half agrees more with the talking head on CNN than the one on FOX News?

Here’s the real dilemma, as I see it:

We are no longer arguing about the root issues. We are simply playing ping-pong with someone else’s opinion on these issues – and you know what they say about opinions don’t you?

If we could lay all the issues out on the table and simply get down to the brass tacks, I bet we would all see that many of our views on how things should end up aren’t all that different.

We all have our idea of the course we should chart to get to a certain end. Does it really matter if we take Road A, or Road B to get there—if neither is going to do any harm?

Now, now. I can already hear you screaming about the harm the opposing party will definitely inflict if chosen to run the show. But can we honestly say that when the other side was running things all was well and good? No. And let’s not pretend that in all of history that’s ever been the case.

As long as there is mankind, there will be a difference of opinion on how mankind should be taught, governed and led. Does this mean we stop trying to agree? Not at all.

So how do you live in the same house, sleep in the same bed, and coexist peacefully with someone whose values are so intrinsically different than yours?

Either you learn to do the hardest (and I think, more impossible) thing, and take discussing politics off the table completely during the election years, or you learn to listen, not judge, and have conversations that don’t turn to arguments. You let go of ego completely. Stop thinking about which supposed ”leader” your spouse will be following that week, month, or year. You just let go, love, and accept them just as they are.

Does this mean that when your daughter wants to have an abortion and he gives her permission, that you just shrug and go along with it? Does it mean that when you want to buy a handgun to uphold your 2nd amendment rights, that he doesn’t get to have a say? No. You’re married, and everything now is a compromise. A mature decision between two people to live peacefully together, while being independently separate.

There’s a reason why you got married right? Somewhere in all that argument BS, there are two people who believe in the same basic values. So try and get back to that. In the worst and most aggravating times, lead the conversation back to the real issues. The roots. Not the politics. Politics aren’t meant to steer the course of our relationships, these days it seems they are largely meant to entertain.

And if you still can’t figure out how to just let it go, read this.

This.

Or this.

Not all politically relevant. But then again … that’s kind of my point, right?

Charmingly yours,
Kate (D)

Dear Kate is a column that runs on Kate-book.com every Thursday at noon. It is written by the wise Katharine Luckinbill, who you should follow on Twitter. Got a life, friendship, family, dating, or relationship question that you’d like Dear Kate to answer? Send it to msdearkate@gmail.com and she will help you out.

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3 thoughts on “Dear Kate: Help! I can’t stand my husband’s politics.

  1. Kate R-Z says:

    Kate L – Great advice!

    Political discussions bring up lots of hot button issues and more than likely you will never agree; but that’s ok. I agree with Kate L and think it’s best if you avoid politics all together since it tends to cause a lot of conflict. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to talk to your significant other about EVERYTHING, especially not things that cause unnecessary conflict.

    If avoiding it all together isn’t possible – and let’s be realistic here, it’s probably going to come up – you just have to accept each other’s political views as opinions. You probably figured out how to agree to disagree on things besides politics; you’re married, this is a very important skill. You may have to employ those skills during election years.

    And if all else fails, try to focus on the reasons you married him in the first place.
    One of the hardest things to do when you’re fighting with the person you love most is remembering WHY you love them most. Chances are, you didn’t marry him for his politics. Hopefully there are lots of other reasons you can come up with for marrying him… this may sound crazy (and I definitely have crazy tendencies), but I actually have a list of reasons I love my husband and I try to add to it whenever he does something that reminds me why I married him. Big things, little things… running the dishwasher without being asked, telling me how much he loves me at random times, encouraing all my whacky ideas and even providing input on how to make them reality… Whenever he does something I don’t like, I read my list. If all else fails, make a list.

    GOOD LUCK!!

  2. Kate S. says:

    Wow! This is such great advice and it really breaks it down to the basics. Communication, not opinionation. I really appreciate your POV, Kate. The issue has never been Democrat or Republican but values followed by positive action, no matter what you label yourself. And that is really my problem with the current politics of my beloved country. We have stopped even trying to act, in favor of time-wasting bickering over who has better values (My values are bigger than yours!). You suggest (but wisely don’t outright say) that we all need to get over it and get on with it! If you love someone especially, why would you allow the 435 Representatives or 100 Senators in D.C. get in the way?

  3. [...] to the idea that couples have to follow the exact same moral code in order to be happy. See this June column for an example of how to make variance in the household [...]

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