How we handle conflict can make or break a relationship. Small things can become enflamed quickly, making the big ticket items even more difficult to navigate. Once the blame train leaves the station, conflict can easily run out of control and take the relationship right off the tracks. The truth is: conflict is normal, and even healthy, for couples. The friction gives us a chance to grow, to expand our perspective beyond the self alone, and can ultimately bring us closer together. It’s our mindset about conflict, and how we approach our partners’ opposing views and needs, that matter the most.
While political disagreements don’t rank at the top of triggers for conflict between couples (compared to money, sex/attention and family), when the election season comes around the bend, a couple with a weak foundation can really struggle when their political views differ. We must keep in mind that it’s not the differing views or needs that present the biggest danger, but rather THE WAY A COUPLE APPROACHES ONE ANOTHER when they disagree that determines whether a couple pulls apart or grows closer.
A strong relationship foundation is the best insurance for a couple to weather any conflict storm, including core disagreements during election season. Below are tips for turning your conflict into a stronger, closer relationship - whether that be friction over politics or any other personal matter.
- Restrict the urge to be “right.” Each partner should have a voice. Wanting to be right is already wrong. There is no right or wrong. You have your opinion and I have mine. It’s difficult to get out of ourselves and really listen to what matters to our spouse or mate. Try asking sincere questions, such as “Why is this so important to you? How do you feel about this issue?” Listening creates unity; and unity creates joy and lasting love.
- Speak with human dignity and respect. Pause before you speak and check yourself. Are coming from love and respect; or judgment and anger? If you can’t have a loving conversation, don’t talk about it.
- Your love comes first. Remember, the love between you is more important than your views. At the end of the day, our relationships bring us the deepest joy. True caring and kindness, unconditional love and support, investing in the growth of who you love— this is what nourishes our soul. It’s okay to argue about something that you think will make the world a better place, but don’t forget that you love each other.
- See differences as growth opportunities. We are here to grow, not change people’s minds. Respect your relationship that you are able to discuss your differences. Allow the differing views and needs to expand your perspective, your capacity to become a better person, to be more tolerant and unconditionally loving. The deepest love, the lasting kind, comes when we continually grow our care for our beloved’s happiness, well being and growth.
- Create a safe haven together. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with your mate and make creating a safe environment a priority. We do this by honoring what each reveals from their inner being without judging or using it against them during times of conflict. Trust is a foundational quality that allows us to work on ourselves—together.
- Accomplish a common goal to benefit others. Step aside from your differences and focus on what you jointly value. Then together—put your values to action. Our egos can distract us into endless debate about a cause. When it comes to actually manifesting to make a difference, this takes greater effort. A true and everlasting relationship is one where each partner works together toward a goal to benefit others.
On a lighter note, don’t forget that if you and your partner vote on opposite sides of the party line, not only do you cancel each other out, but remember one might feel down when their candidate loses. Be sensitive, and certainly, don’t rub it in.