We live in an increasingly divided world. Simple things like facts are no longer so simple. Misinformation abounds, spread by social media platforms, and reinforced by social bubbles and echo chambers. If you are married to someone whose political opinions are very different from your own, tensions can mount. Here are some things to think about if arguments over politics increasingly plague your marriage. 

Values 

An opinion is, “I like tea better than coffee.” Values and core beliefs are far more profound. Often, political arguments these days aren’t about liking one approach versus another, but rather, over fundamental ideas about right and wrong. Marriage is a partnership. If your argument is over a conflict of this sort, you must ask yourself if allowing your spouse to be wrong is something you can do or if it requires you to sacrifice something essential to who you are. 

Facts

If your disagreements revolve around facts, this may or may not be something you can solve. While some people decide what to believe based on information from researchers and experts, others feel more comfortable holding beliefs that feel more “common sense” or resonate with what the people around them believe. If exploring the information together is something you can do, shifting the focus away from arguing and toward a joint search for the facts can reduce tension. If it isn’t, how vital is agreement over the facts to you in a life partner?

Causes

Sometimes, the argument isn’t over values, or facts, but priorities. Must one of you make a sacrifice, and are either of you willing to do so? If not, is there a way that you can each support the other without making that sacrifice? 

Civility

Even minor disagreements can become heated, sometimes. When the issue is not what you are arguing about, but how you argue or the language each of you uses, a simple shift in communication style can make a world of difference. Ask yourself, “is my spouse the wrong person for me based on this belief, or is the problem that I don’t like how they are presenting their ideas?” Having a frank discussion about how you argue may help. 

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