No, today doesn’t really have to do with sex in your marriage, unless your frustrations with each other about the U.S. presidential election this year — or a different election where you live — is making you avoid the marriage bed.
But I heard about a Wall Street Journal article titled “Till Death—or Donald—Do Us Part: Couples Spar Over Trump,” which chronicles marriages that have been made rocky by opposing political views. It’s not simply a matter of disagreeing with your spouse, but wondering at times who you even married that could support ______[fill in the blank].
I’m not talking specifically about Donald Trump, because I think the same thing has happened in other election years. Some marriages deal year to year with a sharp divide in political opinion, and the tension is only heightened with upcoming elections.
It surprised a friend of mine recently when she asked who I was voting for, and I told her, and then she asked who my husband was voting for. I said, “I’m not sure.” We discuss our viewpoints at length, but I’ve learned that going into the voting booth, we may not always pull the same lever.
Does it annoy me at times? Yeah, sure. I wouldn’t hold the opinion I have if I didn’t think it was right. And I like being on the same page with my husband.
But we’ve been learning how to handle our differences. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Don’t assume that one candidate or party represents everything right. The only authority who’s got everything right is God. Every other person or institution gets some things right and some things wrong. How we weight those things influences where we find ourselves politically. It doesn’t make your spouse evil to lean a different direction.
2. Ask for clarification. It’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction if your spouse says they’re pro this or anti that, but ask what they mean. You might find they don’t agree with everything the pro/anti organizations support, and it means something different from what you anticipated. In other words, it might not be as bad as you think.
2. Look for areas of agreement. Oftentimes, when my husband and I debate politics, we discover that we have the same end goal . . . just different ways of arriving there. We’ve also had the scenario where we realize we’re far more in line with each other than we realized once we clear up some misunderstandings. In truth, we agree on the majority of issues.
4. If you can’t talk politics, then don’t. If you know politics is going to erupt into a battle, be a peacemaker and walk away from the fight. There are any number of issues you can discuss in your marriage, from your favorite flavor of ice cream to the theology of sex in Scripture. You can talk about sports and hobbies, people you both know, dreams you each have, things you want to do together, your fondest memories, or the physical intimacy you want to have later that night. Or download A Year of Questions for You and Your Spouse from Generous Wife or 229 Conversation Starters! from Stupendous Marriage.
5. Be your spouse’s friend. Do you only hang out with people who pass a politics test? Must all your friends think like you to have the pleasure of your company? Afford the same kindness to your spouse that you give to others. And if you’re the type of friend who constantly argues with others about politics, you might now have the answer why your friends aren’t calling you back anymore.
6. Don’t bait your spouse. Me? I love a good argument. Not in the sense of a no-holds-barred, all-fists-swinging argument. Rather, I enjoy lively, even intense, debate. But many people don’t. I’ve learned (okay, still learning) to hold my tongue and watch my tone around those who dislike this form of discussion. Which includes my husband. If you know something will rile your spouse, why go there? Why would you want to cause your beloved such distress? Just forgo that conversation, and find a better environment to air your opinions (if they need to be aired at all).
7. Pray for our leaders. I admit we don’t do this often enough in our marriage, but 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” It’s a good idea for couples to pray this prayer together, reminding you both that you want leaders who uphold the opportunity to live out our faith.
8. Remember God’s got this. God believes in free will. He gave it to us in the Garden of Eden, and we still have it. Thankfully, in my country, we also have free will in the form of voting for the candidate of our choice. But whatever happens in the voting booths or in our governments, we should remember that everything does not rest on elections. God’s sovereign purposes will prevail:
“Then Job replied to the Lord: ‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.’ ” – Job 42:2
“The Lord Almighty has sworn, ‘Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.’ ” – Isaiah 14:24
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:11-12
Cherish your marriage. Don’t let an election douse the flame of love you have for your husband or wife. And if you’re looking for something to do while election returns are coming in to keep you from stressing, take your spouse in your arms and show how you’d elect him as your lifetime lover again and again. That’s a vote your mate can support.
11 thoughts on “Is the Election Making Your Marriage Tense?”
Interestingly, the political alignment of spouses can be a predictor for divorce. If they both agree, it’s with the national average. If it’s a conservative man and a liberal woman (the most common combination), it’s with the national average. If it’s a liberal man and a conservative woman, it’s something like a 75% divorce rate.
J, I love this post! Thank you for shouting out a voice of reason in the midst of all this chaos. I’m grateful my husband and I agree on politics, but have still felt a lot of tension listening to the debates. It feels like we’re watching children fight for position on the playground. Ridiculous.
Grateful to know God’s plans won’t be thwarted.
Thankfully, my husband and I agree on political issues. It’s something that’s important to both of us, so we discussed politics extensively while we were dating to make sure we were on the same page. If political views are important to someone, I highly recommend that they discuss them before marriage. Too often, this gets ignored during dating in favor of having fun together or finding someone who shares the same taste in music or something like that. And those are good things, but it’s even more important to find someone who shares the same values on major issues, and politics is often a big deal.
If someone is already married to someone with different political views, then these tips are helpful for managing or resolving that conflict.
This could be the same on any topic you both don’t agree on. It is ok if you don’t have the same idea, as long as you respectfully choose to disagree. Austin and I sure don’t have the same ideas. 😀
I’ve read that about 85% of the things we worry about never happen. I suspect that a similar percentage is true of the issues we spouses argue about: that is, they’re not even worth discussing, much less argue over, since they’re of no consequence anyway. Sixteen Presidential elections ago I was a boy of 13, excited and somewhat puzzled as to why my grandfathers, both Republicans, argued over whether Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower or Bob Taft (son of President William Howard Taft) should be the Republican candidate. Of course the history books all record that Ike won the election in 1952 and again in 1956.
But about 25 years ago, while working on a news story, I interviewed Phyllis Schlafly, head of the Eagle Forum. As it happened Phyllis was a delegate to the National Republican Convention that year, and she told me that a solid majority of delegates went to the convention committed to vote for Bob Taft. But the big shots in the National Committee convinced these delegates that Taft could not beat the Democratic nominee, Adali Stevenson. So, the wishes of millions of voters was ignored and Eisenhower became the candidate.
I sat up with my paternal grandfather until 1:20 AM on election eve, and Eisenhower was declared the winner.
Only months later, three months into his term had he won, Bob Taft (father of a governor of Ohio with the same name) dropped dead of a heart attack.
God, who knows the end from the beginning, knows that our petty quarrels are worthless anyway. So next time you’re tempted to fight with your spouse over the “best” candidate, pray with him/her, instead.
Thanks for this post. For me this is much more serious than disagreeing on issues and possible solutions. I find myself not wanting to live in a nation that would support a candidate who behaves so poorly and not wanting to be married to a man who would support such a candidate. I feel trapped and sex feels like rape.
Sex feels like rape? That’s extremely disturbing. I think the election takes a back seat to this issue. But without more detail…
I like the post. I found it interesting that while politics were sometimes discussed in our home growing up it was top secret who you voted for. I don’t ever remember my parents ever telling each other who they were voting for. They both agreed that was your decision alone and you didn’t have to share it. 🙂 Sometimes it became a game to try and get the info from them. Always in fun though.
I’m so thankful my husband and I agree in our politics and on our candidates (well, okay, while I waffle back and forth between two current candidates, he’s pretty set on one of them); we discuss the circus, I mean, the PRIMARY RACE, many times a day. I can’t, however, make suppositions and do the same with acquaintances, friends, and family members with whom I’ve always shared the most common values. So then I return–utterly confused–to my hubby, and we talk it over again–and fall on our knees in desperate prayer. LOL.
My father-in-law always said, as my husband was growing up, “God will give us the one we’re supposed to have.” In other words, it may well not be the one we WANT, but the one He knows we need to have in order for Him to get our attention and keep it there. That’s the bottom line. Thanks, J., for reminding us: “God’s got this.” We may not like His answer in the end (gaaahhhhhhh…), but He does what He does out of love for us, always. 🙂
My wife and I got into a heated conversation about trump. She doesn’t like him. I always make it a long to not discuss politics with family and don’t tell them who in voting for.
This was towards the start of his campaign and one of his controversial comments. I can understand where he was coming from. My wife didn’t like what he said.
That was the last day we talked about this presidency topic since before this new year.
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