In the last post, we wrote about ways to talk about politics with your partner. One of the tips we mentioned is how important it is to try to learn to understand your partner’s point of view. You do not have to agree with it, but it is helpful to at least understand it.
One of the reasons it is important to understand your partner’s point of view is because politics have a way of showing our biases, and you’ll find that in some ways politics is an allegory for relationships – the way you see the world affects how you respond to information.
What We Believe Determines How We React
Take political “scandals” as an example. Our stance on politics generally affects how we see a scandal after it occurs, since there is typically gray area or openness to various interpretations.
Do you support Hillary Clinton?
If so, chances are you do not find using a private server to be a massive controversy compared to all of the other controversies in politics.
Do you oppose Hillary Clinton?
If so, chances are you view using your own private server to be potentially treasonous, or at the very least disqualifying for the highest political office.
Do you support Donald Trump?
If so, chances are you see some of his most controversial statements as nothing more than political showmanship, as he displays how strong he is and how willing he is to fight political correctness.
Do you oppose Donald Trump?
If so, chances are you see his statements as racist, with the potential to incite others towards biases that could be dangerous.
Notice how these are the same events. They’re “scandals,” in many ways, but how we feel about the candidate affects how we interpret the scandal. And here’s what makes these even more challenging to discuss without understanding the other side: No one is necessarily wrong. Or, at least, there is enough gray area to support different interpretations.
Biases and Relationships
While this is an example of how biases show themselves in the political world when scandals arise, the truth is that this manifests regularly in relationships. The way you were raised, what you value, what experiences you’ve had in the past, and more, impact your experience of and in your relationships.
It is these biases that often need to be explored in couples counseling. Even though you may be certain that your reactions and perceptions are correct/”the truth”, your biases are going to affect how you react to different situations, and only by exploring these biases can you approach your relationship with the care that it deserves.