How can one Democrat plus one Republican stay in love and discuss politics for the next 42 days? Take examples from one of the most politically involved, mixed party couples in America – Mary Matalin (Rep.) and James Carville (Dem.).
Friday night, the pair debated about the candidates on CNN’s 360. Though they are passionate about their differing opinions, political commentators Matalin and Carville:
- Did not talk over each other or interrupt.
- Clearly listened to each other’s statements and they clearly disagreed.
- Used humor as the topics segued from politics to their personal life.
You’re Both Patriots
If you see your partner as a “traitor”, you will no longer be able to have a conversation or healthy debate. Opinions become personal attacks; arguments break into wars. A need to win, no matter what, becomes more important than the relationship.
This won’t happen if you define your partner as a patriot, a good guy with a different opinion. You both want a better America, but see different ways of getting there. Once this shift happens, you understand that you are disagreeing with the issues, not your partner.
Once you both establish that you are trying to have a conversation - not a political contest - you get to hear more about your partner’s beliefs.
As a couple it’s a chance to talk about differences with mutual respect. Listening to each other as you break down the issues, you may be surprised to find that you are in agreement with particular issues. Have fun with your similarities and your differences. It's the stuff that bonds you together.
360 host Anderson Cooper ended the interview asking the couple, “What’s it like to live with you two?”
“It’s Friday night!” Matalin said. If “we” were not doing this show, “we’d” be out somewhere having a good stiff drink!
The switch they made from discussing conflict (politics) to agreement (their personal life) was made quickly using the word “we” proudly, and with smiles all around.
Should you decide that you are so enmeshed in your differing beliefs that election talk causes a great divide between you, consider trying what Matalin and Carville have said they do at home – just close the door on politics!