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To Have And To Hold 'Til Politics Do You Part? - Disagreeing with Your Partner, Relationship Advice

Updated on July 21, 2011

Dear Veronica,

I found you on Hubpages while googling "fighting with your husband". I am not used to fighting with my husband. Now that it's happening I don't really know how to handle it and it's taking over our lives. I read your hubpage with the tips on fighting. I think it's great advice and I am hoping you can give me a part 2 to what you said there. My husband is a republican and I am a democrat. We've been married ten years and so this isn't news. But since the last election things have become heated. I don't know how to drop it. He gets upset about some things on the news and tries to talk to me about them and i can't talk about them. I get so mad. After we fight I can't drop it. So in your hubpages about this I would say we're fine with the first tip. We got married knowing how we each argue and we knew we disagreed about politics. Tip two he has an issue with I think. He hangs on to the names I called him in one of these heated political fights and then feels hurt and can't drop it. He doesn't know it's over. Tip 3 about it being private we're ok we don't really talk about politics with any friends just family and we both seem ok with that. That's not the problem. And 4 is a problem, we got to bed mad all the time. Well more like I am mad and he's hurt. It seems like I need more advice than just that hubpage. Can you write more especially about fighting about politics? Thanks for your help.

Wendy

Dear Wendy,

I received your email a little over a month ago, and I apologize for shelving it for a while. I was thinking about some of the things I wanted to share with you, and then I went through something similar to what you're experiencing. I've come back to your email with a clearer mind. I hope I can lend some more insight that will help you and your husband through these disagreements.

Tip #1 in my article I'm thinking is more of an issue for your guys than you're realizing. So let's discuss that one first. You made a few references in your email that give me a certain framework of what your fights are like. You said you are mad and your husband is hurt. You said your husband hangs on to the pain of your name calling. You said you get so mad you scream. Wow, Wendy. These tells hit me hard because I think I'm like your husband in these arguments you're having. 

My first question to you is, do you really think you two agree on what a fight is? Is it possible he's having a conversation, even if it's heated, trying to ask you questions and talk and learn? And that you on the other hand are escalating these things into fights? If you are name calling, that's an entirely different thing than discussing politics.

The reason people can't discuss politics is exactly this: most people don't actually want to hear what you have to say. They don't want to share information, they don't want to stick to the facts. They want to convince you that they are right and all too often they want to do that by calling you names and making you feel stupid. 

I just went through this with a friend. I'm a very over sensitive person. I'm fine with the idea that you disagree with me. I'm fine listening to your ideas, and discussing facts. I'm fine sharing my take on things, and sharing information that I've found in my reading. I am however not ok with being screamed at, or called names. I'm a calm, intelligent, rational adult. If you want to scream and name-call, go someplace else. 

Wendy, I'm really wondering whether or not your husband is on the same page as you are regarding what constitutes a fight. This is what I want you to do. Without discussing politics or any specific issue, I want you to talk to your husband about fighting. I want you to both talk about how you each feel when someone calls you a name, or cuts you off screaming and doesn't listen. I want you to hear what he has to say about this, and i want you to tell him how you've incorporated that kind of self expression into your fighting. I also want you to discuss what you each feel the difference between having a discussion about something you disagree about, and having a fight. Again I think this is going to be a surprise to you. Keep politics and topics out of it, and just discuss the dynamics of fighting. 

In most fights there are two separate aspects of a side. There is the emotional aspect and there's the intelligent aspect. You can fight for what you feel, or, You can fight for what you know. If you are fighting for example over whether or not to paint the living room green, you're fighting for what you feel. There is no intelligent design behind preferring green to blue. So while you are arguing over colors, you are each fighting from that same aspect of yourselves. I'm not saying there can't be any intelligence involved. Maybe the green paint is on sale. Maybe you already have the blue paint. I'm just saying in general this is probably a more opinion and emotionally based argument.

If you are fighting over finances, it is probably a more intellectual argument. There are most likely facts involved if you are discussing paying the mortgage versus the insurance bill, or which investment will have the best yield. Again I'm not saying there is no emotion involved. I'm just saying this is a conversation that will involve alot of facts and will most likely be one where you're each coming from an intelligent place rather than an emotional place.

Politics can be either. If your husband is trying to have an intellectual discussion and you're having an emotional tirade, you're going to wind up unable to get anyplace. So it doesn't matter how many facts he gives you or how much information he has that's correct. And it doesn't matter how loudly you can scream or how many names you call him. You can't hear each other. Technically, you're speaking different languages.

My opinion of this is that while it's easy to get caught up in the emotions of a subject, that the facts of the situation are important. Setting aside your emotions for a while to get all the facts of the situation, and discuss them so that you understand them, will serve you very well when making your points and explaining your side.

Wendy, I think you need to calm down in these arguments. You need to listen in order to be able to calmly explain why you intellectually disagree. You will be surprised at how much better these arguments go, and how much you may have to learn. You will also be quite happy with how much clearer your side is, and you may even be able to explain a thing or two to your husband.

In any issue, if you can't explain both sides, than you can't choose a side. You have to be able to listen, to be most affective when you speak.

If you find yourself too emotionally charged by a subject to intelligently discuss it, then just be honest about that, instead of screaming and name calling. I can be that way about certain subjects, I know what that's like. If the conversation reaches one of those places, just be honest. I can 100% guarantee you that if you calmly said to your husband, "Honey I can't even discuss this subject without feeling very emotionally charged. I realize you're trying to explain some facts, but I can't get this one out of my heart long enough to hear them," that he will respond very kindly, with acceptance. I promise you, it will be better and easier than screaming and name calling. It's not about right and wrong, it's about hearing each other. And respecting each other.

Instead of trying to figure out how to get through to him with your side, figure out how to listen to him, and how you can express yourself in a way you can be heard. Remember: presidents will come and go during the rest of your lives. Don't lose sight of the real prize here. You two love each other and have a good marriage. Really, showing each other respect is more important than any issue you feel like screaming about.

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