So, it’s finally happening: you and your significant other have started arguing about politics. It’s not that this was avoidable. Couples – whether newly dating lovebirds or longtime spouses – will fight. Considering the extreme polarization brought about by the 2016 US Presidential Elections, we can assume that some couples have spent the last several months jabbing each other in that ring as well. Is Donald Trump ruining your relationship?
Well, for those couples who may disagree on Donald Trump, hope is not lost. In fact, Donald Trump might be even capable of helping strengthen your relationship. Just because he’s building a wall down by Mexico, doesn’t mean he has to build a wall between you two.
Couples Who Fight Together, Stay Together
Most experts will quickly point out that even the healthiest and happiest couples will have the occasional spat. According to Bridal Guide, an estimated 25% of married couples will wind up voting for different candidates. So clearly, politics will often be an unavoidable topic of contention.
The couples who do disagree on politics initially manage it by means of “strategic avoidance”. Simply put, it means they avoid talking about things which may lead to irreconcilable differences, politely changing topics whenever conversation seems headed there.
But when couples do fight on politics, they can also find that disagreeing can be fun and interesting. In a story shared by Upworthy, one couple found themselves disagreeing on the merits on Obamacare, and never reaching a consensus. “How we actually resolved it is: we don’t resolve it,” the wife said of their disagreement. Having varied opinions has even been a positive force in their relationship. “If two people always agree,” she added, “one of them isn’t thinking.”
A study done by the University of California Berkeley even identified a trait common to couples who stay together: openly communicating and discussing an argument, after it happens. That’s a bigger indicator of a successful marriage than a total lack of argument, just because both couples sit and stew on their differences.
Managing The Donald Trump In The Room
So, let’s say one of you supports the wall, the policies, and the focus of Trump’s administration, and the other doesn’t. What next?
Firstly, do argue – but in a loving way, with humor (not snark or sarcasm), with the intent to listen rather than just convince. Secondly, and very importantly, avoid the need to be right. Managing these differences will let the relationship evolve and grow even stronger.
According to couples therapist John Gottman, if you respect and accept your partner unconditionally, then your relationship will likely stay solid.
Who knows? You might even thank Trump for keeping the relationship fresh and a little unpredictable!