Trump is Ruining my Marriage: Dealing with Political Differences
Election year brought out some hard truths many couples didn’t know they were hiding. When a controversial candidate like Donald Trump enters the spotlight, people feel emboldened to vocalize political leanings they kept quiet. Your wife, who has never spoken ill of the Mexican population, is cheering the idea of building a border wall. You feel shocked and betrayed. How could you not know this about the woman you married?

Political differences appear in marriages more often than you realize. Sometimes it happens when you first meet. Some people change their mind or develop an opinion well into the marriage. It can complicate things, but it doesn’t have to mean the end.

The best way to deal with political differences is to learn how to talk politics. A skill many people lack because there’s no guide. Until now. Here are some tips on how to talk politics and improve your marriage.

Why talk politics.

The obvious reason you should talk politics is that it’s causing a rift in your marriage. You’re having a hard time getting along, which means your connection is suffering. Left unchecked, anger and resentment will ruin the foundation of your marriage.

If you have kids, the disagreements can affect your relationship with them. They’ll see you fight. They can become confused about what each one of you believes and who they should side with. It’s important to have talks with them about forming their own opinions.

Political discord can affect your household. Economic disagreements can become obvious during election cycles. Find a compromise before things get out of hand.

When to talk politics.

Confront your differences as soon as you realize they’ve become a problem. Don’t wait until you’re fighting every day or calling her a racist in front of her family. The instant you’re aware the differences make you uncomfortable, talk about them.

Don’t talk politics when you’re upset about something else (or about politics). It’s not a good idea to talk about your political differences after a debate or press release. Wait until you’re both calm.

Avoid making snide remarks to rile her up. If you know how she feels about a topic, don’t slip subtle insults into a conversation to see how she reacts.

Where to talk politics.

Talk in the privacy of your home, away from prying ears. Don’t talk in front your kids, friends, parents, or neighbors. The grocery store or library aren’t great choices for places to chat. This is between you and her.

How to talk politics.

Try to remain as calm and open-minded as possible. It helps to remind yourself why you fell in love with her. Really listen. Try to understand where she’s coming from instead of trying to change her mind. As you no doubt want her to understand your perspective.

Think about how you feel. Keep checking in with yourself. This way, you can end the conversation before it gets out of control. Walk away and cool off. Come back when you’re both calm. Tell her why something upsets you. Is it the politics, or the values behind the politics? Maybe you need to talk about other issues.

Ask questions for clarity. Think before you speak, and don’t make assumptions. Take turns sharing your ideas. Use the differences as an opportunity to get to know each other better. Take control and make it about the two of you.

Politics are one of the top areas of disagreement among new couples. But people from opposite ends of the spectrum do make it work. Just look at James Carville and his wife Mary Matalin.

If you still struggle to get through a conversation, select “off-limits” topics. Or, take politics off the table altogether. If that’s what you need to do to save your marriage, so be it. That’s not so bad, is it?