Finding Something Positive in a Difference of Opinion

Relationships are difficult. People go to all lengths to find their special someone. (This may be why dating sites are rampant.) But if you finally succeed and fall in love, you may hit a wall. He is a Georgia Bulldogs fan, and you are a Florida Gators fan. He is a Democrat, and you are a Republican.

He follows Christianity and you are of Jewish faith. These are not small differences! So what do you do? Bail on somebody you love, and on your next dating profile, specify your position on as many of the controversial topics as possible? That sounds rather cold-hearted. Or could you work it out?

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First, here is what you don’t do:

  1. Change your position to his or hers.
  2. Criticize your spouse’s position.
  3. Say that your experience is the only right one.
  4. Completely avoid the loaded topic.
  5. Challenge or corner each other in public on a difference of opinion.

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Here are some alternatives that can allow love to flourish.

  1. Learn about the other position. If somebody you love and trust has accepted that idea, there must be something interesting about it.
  2. Accept that you are different people with different ideas. Our family backgrounds, education, and individual experiences can’t help but create two unique persons. This is a rich sum of knowledge you might take a lifetime to explore.

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  1. Each of you can cheer for your own team, vote for your own candidate and follow your own faith. Allow that you have differences! If you don’t belittle your mate’s affiliations or allow them to disrespect your important loyalties, you can reach a position of mutual appreciation.
  2. Embrace the differences as opportunities, not obstacles. Your loved one has reasons for his or her beliefs. Don’t take it as a personal criticism.
  3. Show by example to your children that it is okay to think differently. Ideas like freedom of speech and an open marketplace of ideas are key to our way of life in the United States.

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  1. Love each other for all that you are and can become.
  2. Granted—some topics are more volatile than others. You can simply agree to disagree. Remember what is important: the love you have for each other, not whether the Gators or the Bulldogs are the big winners, or who is in the White House.

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The only winners are you and your spouse. If love is your priority, a house divided really can survive.

ByBarbara j Peters

Barbara J Peters is a relationship counselor and author of 2 relationship books: The Gift of a Lifetime, Building a Marriage That Lasts and He Said, She Said, I Said, 7 Keys to Relationship Success. She recently added a romance novel: Never Too Old for Romance to her list. Her passion is helping couples find a positive route to a lifetime of happiness together.

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