I think we can all agree that these past four years have been a trying time for those who differ in political opinions. Those differences have been amplified in the past few months as this country has navigated a tumultuous election. The results are in and some people are happy and hopeful while others may be feeling defeated depending on which party they were supporting. However, as the election ends and we all accept the results, our relationships are still in front of us, in need of nurturing and maintenance. If you are in a relationship where you and your partner differ in your political stance you may need to find a way to heal in order to move forward together.
The most important place to start is to listen to each other’s viewpoints with an open mind and do your best to drop defensiveness during this conversation. It’s important that we put some research into our voting process, but it can also be helpful when trying to understand our partner’s point-of-view. It’s okay to be ignorant to certain aspects of the political process or perspectives on the other side of the fence, but it’s important to admit we may require more knowledge and work to fill in those gaps. The goal of this conversation is not to change their opinion- because that may be a hard sell and make the conversation turn contentious- but the goal is to see where the other person is coming from and in return have them see your side.
This conversation can lead you to a place to find common values. One thing that can separate the two political parties are different values; Some may value education, while others may value foreign policy. It’s important to make sure that you and your partner focus on the values that you both have in common for your relationship, family, and the world around you and talk through the values you have that may differ.
It is valuable to think about the values that are deal-breakers and the ones that are more flexible. This could mean that for some people, not agreeing on the Black Lives Matter movement may be a sign that your values don’t align on a fundamental level, which could indicate that compatibility is an issue. On the other hand, the differences in opinion on gun control could be understood and you can agree to disagree. What topics and values are deal-breakers or not depends on the couple and individual.
Having these conversations can be difficult at this time. Many of the platform subjects that are present in this election and period of time can hit a personal note, which can make these conversations challenging. Please make an appointment with me if you need someone to help facilitate these difficult issues and conversations. Harmony is important in our country, but it begins in our homes.