While many couples bond on politics, many more tend to ignore them for most of their relationship. Politics, even when you agree, can be notoriously controversial. It’s often difficult to talk about politics without feeling as though your partner just doesn’t “get it,” and – for many – it is often best to ignore the topic altogether.
But it’s election season, and during election season it is often very difficult to ignore the political landscape. This is especially true of this current electoral season. It’s a time when even the apathetic tend to be passionate about some form of politics. Yet it also represents a difficulty for couples. Talking about politics often means fighting about politics, and what’s worse – it’s a fight that rarely has the right outcome.
Tips for Talking About Politics in a Relationship
Politics will always be controversial, even between two people on the “same side.” One of the most important things to realize is that there is no such thing as “right” and “wrong.” There are only different opinions. Even your own opinion may shift and change over time. It is not a bad thing to have different view points in a relationship – that is often why you are with the other person. But always remember that your relationship will impact your life more than politics ever can.
If you want to talk politics with your spouse, however, consider the following:
- Research Their Side – The best way to talk about politics with your partner is to understand their side for yourself, so that you’re not miffed by what they bring up. Do research. Try to understand their perspective. It doesn’t mean you have to agree, and it’s not there to give you ammo to fight with them. Rather, it’s simply so that you understand your partner a bit more.
- Agree to Disagree – Before you even begin discussing politics, make sure that you both have an understanding that it is okay to disagree. If you feel yourself starting to get “heated,” you and your partner should be ready to simply end the conversation. Rarely is it possible to change someone’s opinion. It is better to disagree happily than to argue until you are upset.
- Bring Your Own Facts – If you do not necessarily know what you’re talking about, you are only going to start angry arguments. Before making a claim, make sure you’ve researched all sides of it. Find out if it is true, find out if it is discredited, make sure you have reputable sources, etc., because when you come to a politics discussion without information or with false information, you’re guaranteed to start an argument.
- Find Common Ground – Rather than focusing on trying to convince the other of your point of view, focus instead on what you think good compromises would be. This gives you an end point. Trying to talk someone out of their opinion is often impossible. Finding a fair and balanced solution to your discussions is not.
- Open Your Own Mind – Throughout, don’t forget that your partner’s side isn’t necessarily wrong. There are elements of truth and ambiguity in nearly any political opinion. So while discussing, if you find yourself feeling as though your partner is gravely mistaken, recognize that they may not be. It may be you that needs to come closer to their side.
Politics can be fun to discuss. But it is never more important than your own relationship. If you find that you aren’t having productive political discussions, it may be best to avoid them.