When many of us were growing up, we heard that you should never discuss politics, sex, or religion in mixed company. To do so was impolite and an invitation to destroy cordial relationships. Unfortunately, we can't spend every day in the polite world of denial, and we all hope that we can share our deeply held beliefs with the most important people in our lives, our partners. But as political discourse in our country has become more heated and polarized, more of us are encountering political minefields in our marriages.
How Do Political Differences Affect Marriage?
According to a 2017 Wakefield research study, 22% of all Americans and 35% of Millennials reported that President Trump's 2016 election negatively affected their marriages. More than ten percent of Americans and 22% of Millennials reported that they had ended a romantic relationship because of political differences.
These numbers are surprising when we look at the divorce rate in North Carolina. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the divorce rate in North Carolina has dropped over the last decade, from 10.1 per 1,000 families in 2008 to 8.6 per 1,000 families in 2018. But when we look at American politics, we may not be so surprised that political differences are causing marital problems. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans are more polarized politically than they have been in decades.
Resolving Political Differences in Your Marriage
If you and your spouse are experiencing political conflict in your marriage, it's all well and good to know that you aren't alone. The question is, what can you do about it? According to the relationship website, Crucial Conversations, there are a few things you can do to keep your relationship healthy despite political differences:
- Believe that you can,
- Remember that politics is only one part of your identity,
- Remember what you do love about your partner and your differences,
- Set boundaries for when, how, and where you can discuss politics,
- Remind one another that you care for each other, despite your differing beliefs,
- Build shared interests that don't involve politics, and
- Talk about your relationship and how you can improve it.
Couples counseling can also be a good way to work on your relationship and develop healthy, respectful ways to communicate and discuss your differences.
You Need an Experienced North Carolina Family Lawyer
You need skilled legal guidance if you're contemplating a divorce or separation or are already in the middle of a divorce. Our attorneys have been helping families in North Carolina for years. Find out how we can help you too. Call Jerkins Family Law at 919-719-2785 or contact us online.