Tomorrow is the 2012 presidential election, and both parties are racing to the finish line, packing the final moments of this seemingly never-ending political race with appearances, speeches and requests for votes on November 6.
The tension is rising in many communities as political lawn signs divide neighborhoods and heated conversations replace casual water cooler conversation in the workplace. Even some couples are facing friction when each individual holds opposing political views
“We have our differences and it really becomes apparent in election time. That’s usually when it gears up, when everything comes to the forefront,” said Melissa Reylek-Robinson in a recent CNN.com article. “Election time is probably the worst time for us. We definitely get into some heated debates.”
While political disagreement on core issues could automatically be the end of a relationship, some couples do date and even marry when they have different political views. One psychotherapist also featured in the CNN.com article believes that couples who can coexist with different political views actually create a foundation for a healthy relationship:
“For some people, they do not feel like individuals when they become married, they become one,” psychotherapist Karen Ruskin said. “But that doesn’t mean you have to share one position or one philosophy. It means you take care and look out for the other person as much as yourself. You love that person as much as that person loves you.”
I agree with Ruskin that couples should not feel obligated to see eye-to-eye on every single issue. If a couple disagrees on how government should minimize its debt or reform education, then I think they should hold firm to their views and support the other person despite their opposing views. It’s when couples have differing ideas on core issues that are fundamental to Catholic teaching that I question how they can maintain an equally-yoked and faith-filled marriage.
Different opinions on the sanctity of life?
Opposing views on same-sex marriage?
Conflicting ideas on euthanasia and end-of-life situations?
These questions are more than just issues for political figures to banter about in a public forum. They are deeply complex moral, ethical and social dilemmas that each of us must come to terms with and align ourselves with Catholic teaching. If your significant other is unable to do the same, a tense election season is only a minor issue in light of a future together that may be emotionally draining and spiritually dangerous.
Individuals have every right to bring their own political views to a dating relationship or a marriage, but only with a firm dedication to a common faith can politically-divided couples coexist…and thrive.
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