Married, Voting Separately

You are adamant about making a difference by casting your vote; your spouse, not so much. Your mate can’t understand why you bother, since the candidates are all the same; you believe your candidate is different and you feel that your spouse’s political apathy is a refutation of your belief.

As a couple, you are experiencing a conflict of philosophies. Like any conflict, this can lead to marital strife and unhappiness. Sometimes, in marriage, a couple must agree to disagree in order to avoid the needless suffering of anger and sadness.

Pitfalls of Disagreement

As in most conflicts between those who care for each other, a chief source of irritation on both sides is poor argument strategies and techniques. Here are a few big ones to avoid:

  1. Becoming angry. If either participant becomes angry, the argument will most likely disintegrate into one or more of the following immaturities.
  2. Name calling. Your spouse is not stupid, ignorant, spineless, lazy or any other pejorative just because they disagree with you.
  3. Defending your weaknesses. This is difficult, because in order to avoid defending your weaknesses, you must be able to recognize your weaknesses. Suffice it to say that you must leave room for the possibility, however remote it may seem, that you may actually be wrong.
  4. Raising your voice. Saying it louder does not make it true.

All of these boil down to the same thing: RESPECT. If you can conduct an argument while maintaining mutual respect, the argument has a chance of being productive. If you become disrespectful, not only does the argument go down the toilet, your marriage might just follow it.

Modesty and Humility

Modesty dictates that the opinions of others are just as valid as yours, no matter how wrong-headed they may seem. Humility in an infinite Universe must allow that all outcomes may be for good, because absolutely anything is possible.

Political activism has an element of proselytizing and it is easy to go overboard with it. It is important to realize that part of the need proponents of any political agenda feel to convince others to agree with them is based on the fear that without the agreement of others, their agenda cannot go forward. While this is true, whenever one begins to act on the basis of fear, only negative results are possible.

Acting from the strong, positive bases of modesty and humility, we recognize the possibility that all outcomes may be positive, and that the influence of one can be more powerful than the influence of many. Avoid negative predictions of the future. No one knows what the future holds. Be modest, knowing your knowledge is at best limited. Be humble, knowing that you cannot predict the future. Allowing that you may not know everything, you make room for the possible validity of your spouse’s differing opinion.

Detachment, Receptivity and Acceptance

Detachment, receptivity and acceptance take the anger and fear out of all arguments. Although you may think that you cannot be simultaneously passionate about an outcome and detached from it, it is entirely possible. You can simultaneously have a great desire for a particular candidate to win and realize that even if this does not happen, life will continue to be sweet.

Getting past the idea that there is only one right way, you can be receptive to the ideas of others. This does not mean that you will necessarily agree with or adopt the ideas of others, but that you will carefully examine opposing points of view for their relative merits and weaknesses, abandoning all preconceived ideas while you consider.

Being receptive to all outcomes means trusting that the Universe will unfold as it should. Trust in positive outcomes helps strengthen detachment.

Acceptance of your spouse’s opinions as their opinions frees you from being defensive. Many of us have had the experience of meeting perfectly wonderful people who believe things we do not believe. If we are successful at looking past our differences, we may find that we can see beauty that far outweighs our disagreements.

Perspective

All of this is about perspective. What is really important? When I studied journalism in college I learned that people care most about what affects them personally. Isn’t it more important to be happy at home than to have someone in office of whom you approve? Regardless of how bad an elected official may be, they will not be likely to seriously affect the happiness you can enjoy with your spouse.

Is it more important to be right, or is it more important to be a loving partner? Are you a good husband if you scoff at your wife’s political beliefs, knowing this makes her angry? Are you a good wife if you nag your husband incessantly about his political beliefs, knowing this makes him miserable?

It is up to both partners to maintain all discourse as the discourse of love. If you can’t discuss politics in a loving way, don’t discuss it at all. There are plenty of households that don’t allow discussions of religion or politics. You and your spouse have to decide if yours should be one of those.

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Comments 14 comments

Expresser56 profile image

Expresser56 4 years ago from Boca Raton, FL

My husband and I are opposite when it comes to politics. He always says that we are one identity and that we should be able to vote together in the same stall for elections! He does not believe in privacy in marriage. Well, I respect his opinions and his views as he explains them to me, but he has to learn to accept mine as well. So far, we have been able to resolve our differences. This is a great topic to discuss. LOL!


mrshadyside1 profile image

mrshadyside1 4 years ago from Georgia

If you guys are arguing over Democrat/Republican issues then you are just arguing over nothing.Neither party has the interest of the general public at heart nor do they actually have any real differences on most issues.The right and the left are just a facade or mask to confuse the general public.I personally don't see many legitimate arguments in favor of either side of the isle.All issues that even make it to the floor are the ones that special interest groups push.If the Republicans give tax breaks to the 1%the funding paid off.If the Dems pass new reforms and laws there again somewhere down the line the1% wins again. Many citizens of the US like to pretend that they are included in the comradery of the "big two" but unless your yearly income is in excess of 10 million per year you aren't even considered a crony.It should be very evident for an educated civilization to see through petty party affiliation and vote in the objective realm of the greater good.This would logically have to exclude any opinion drawn from religious teaching,or self entitlements(whether it be tax cuts for the rich,or excessive aid for the poor).At present we are in a very dangerous situation with the power struggle taking place within the halls of our government.The Executive and Legislative branches are engaged in a shoving match which has lately expanded to the Judiciary branch.It is time to drop the denial and delusions of grandeur and vote to reverse the negative effects of a corrupt two party system.Every American should do some research beyond the mainstream news and become educated as to how completely dysfunctional and useless our government has become.Vote American,vote independent and send a message to Washington that it's time to get back to "for the people ,by the people".It is the only way.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

@Expresser - It seems that you and your husband have differences with respect. That's what I'm talking about! BTW If you were both the same, where would be the fun? :)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

@MrShady - You were doing great until you said, "It's the only way." There is never only one way. Government has a tendency to become an entity outside the people it was intended to govern, and to become more and more isolated from them. Bureaucracy and elitism increase until the system implodes. It has happened again and again throughout history. I hope that the passionate disenfranchisement felt by so many Americans will result in peaceful change as you suggest.


peeples profile image

peeples 4 years ago from South Carolina

I could never imagine having a yelling match with my husband over politics. If we can't discuss it rationaly it just doesn't get talked about. Which is where we are currently with politics. The crazy part is neither of us belongs to the left or right, yet I am one who feels that I should vote for the sake of my family and he is the type to not vote. I am the type who really wants to study who is running and what they stand for and he couldn't care less. As the mom of the house with 3 children and a husband who works very hard for everything we have I worry about losing those things as our country goes down hill, a thought that doesn't cross his mind. I will never nag him over it but I will quietly hope that one day he will change his mind. We are different and I love that, however that doesn't mean I have to love his opinion. Thanks for the well written hub.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I guess i am lucky. My friend and i are both members of the same party. My Mother was a devoted Rebublican, my Father a 'Red Dog Democrat' each had their party car that picked them up on voting day. One time my Father got restless and started to walk to town, my Mother's car arrived and as she passed him on the road, she waved him goodby, never once thinking they killed each other's vote. HaHa..This is a great hub..Enjoyed..


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Peeples :)

Personally I prefer to detach from things and trust the universe to unfold as it should. Worrying over losing things is an unhappy business. It seems that you have much to be thankful for, as I'm sure you are. I think that if you spend time worrying about losing what you have, you lose time you could have spent enjoying what you have right now.

I admire you very much for researching the candidates and making intelligent choices. Everyone should participate in our democracy as you do. You are thinking how your choices can make government better. I believe that thoughts are very powerful, and that if you think about how government could be better, the force of your thoughts will move the universe in that direction.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

Ruby, I always had the impression that you were lucky! Personally I like parties, but I don't usually stay long. :)

A lot of people have negative feelings about those who are in office now and want to write in, "None of the above." That's an interesting idea, but I think it would be more productive to actually vote for a person, don't you?


Candie V profile image

Candie V 4 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Tom! Great advice for any argument regardless of the topic! The ability to effectively communicate is a learned thing.. and you've given great ideas how people - married or otherwise - can engage and make a difference!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Candie. It is knowledge that was hard won. The hardest part of the art of argument is learning not to defend my weaknesses. Thanks again!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

My husband and I believe the same way when it comes to politics. I have friends that I have trouble being friends with because of their political views. I won't argue with them so than I just have to constantly listen to them. I kind of cut myself off from them. I don’t mind them having the views I just get sick of them constantly talking about it. Voted Up


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

I know exactly what you mean. Believe anything you want, but don't be in my face about it every minute. Interesting, the more they try to convince you, the more they repel you, isn't it true? Just as everything we chase in life tends to run away the faster... Thank you, Moonlake!


mrshadyside1 profile image

mrshadyside1 4 years ago from Georgia

I have never been the type of person that bought into conspiracy theories and I have never had a doomsday train of thought.Although I am a history buff and always try to view things objectively with a calm reason and stay within the bounds of fact and out of opinion.The alarming events within the last few years have really forced me into the history books searching for any resemblance or would be answers.Unfortunately the biggest resemblance I can find is the parallel of the Roman Empire.Even within the politically charged internal power struggles of ancient Rome are sobering similarities and as with Roman society the fracturing and division of the people are the result of politics that have been allowed to run unchecked and unchallenged.It is my trust in the basic universal good of the regular man and woman that allows me any hope for the world our children and grandchildren will inherit.

Make no mistake in my words,for I have no confidence in the two parties that control the governing body,nor do I see much chance of a turn from corruption back to organizations without corrupt influence.Although I do have confidence in the system,the values and the morals on which it was founded,as well as the vast majority of the people.When I say to vote independent it is because I realize the massive hurdles that were put in place by the "big two" to prevent any independents or third party from posing a threat.It's all common and free information and not hard to find.It assures that any candidate that can make it to a ballot box is a candidate of either extraordinary ability and support or one who has landed a massive amount of funding.Without party rhetoric and propaganda and due to the parties exposing any flaw or weakness of an independent you can almost certainly be assured that out of the choices the independent will be the best performer at the job in question.

This is just the view point of a simple man who has become discouraged with the current state of darkness which has fallen around the once heralded "beacon"of justice and equality.Yet the image of this great land has been blemished,it is not a blemish put there by the American citizen but by the trust and honesty of the citizen without intention or knowledge. The ever growing antagonistic and empirical sentiment is not a reflection of the citizens but a manifestation of the paranoia and greed of the very powerful who are now and always in fear of losing that power,even if said power and actions will inevitably bring demise to their very own door.

Forgive me if I have swayed off topic,you are a great writer and in your writing I find education and inspiration.Writers such as yourself set the bar and are an invaluable asset to our society.Thank you for allowing my words to your contribution.I am honored.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States Author

It is you who honor me, Mr. Shady. Thank you for adding your knowledge and perspective to my work, giving it added dimension - and continuing the discussion!

All the best,

Tom

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