Choosing Love, But Not Necessarily Each Other’s Politics

I don’t know if I just have really good hearing or if everyone struggles with this, but it seems like I can’t go to a restaurant or a coffee shop without being distracted by a conversation at a nearby table.

Sometimes the conversations are humorous, sometimes uncomfortable (like the time I overheard two couples talking about women’s underwear), and other times sad (like the time I heard a lady talk to a friend about her divorce).

Recently, I was at my local coffee shop trying to get some work done. At the table next to me, two middle-age women seemed to be catching up, talking about their grown children and future travel plans.

As much as I tried to focus on typing and researching, I couldn’t help but overhear one of the women say: “The election did us in. We hardly talk anymore. He comes home, goes into the sewing room and watches the news all night. But maybe he can also sense my bitterness.”

As she went on it was clear she was talking about her husband. My heart hurt for her relationship. She obviously wasn’t happy, and it seemed like her husband wasn’t happy either.

While this couple’s issues probably started long before 2016, they’re not the only ones to have relationships strained by the presidential race. I can understand how an election like the one we had in November might cause turmoil and frustration within a relationship, perhaps even significant heartache for a while. But at some point doesn’t a couple agree to disagree on some issues and above all choose love?

It made me think of friends who had married someone with significant differences in religion, choosing to eventually focus on what was similar between their faiths instead of what made them different. Although the strain of the election still remains in many families and marriages, I like the light-hearted and humorous approach taken by this couple, married for 37 years. Although they each voted for different candidates, they did so with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts. The love they have for each other is weathering the current storm, just like it has in the past, and just like I hope it will in the future.

My husband and I don’t have significant differences when it comes to politics and religion. But we are still  two different people, from different backgrounds, coming together to make one life together—it’s inevitable we’ll have differences. Adam and I have had to work our way through our own disagreements about safety standards, extended family issues, parenting techniques, and more. But our love and respect for one another is stronger and deeper than our disagreements.

My heart goes out to all the couples who are struggling to maintain their relationship because of how they filled out their ballot last fall. If my husband and I ever did come down strongly on opposite sides I would of course feel sadness. But I would also respect his decision. I know I’d choose love and give him the benefit of the doubt that he really is doing what he believes is best and is in accord with his conscience, even if  I disagree with his choice.

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