At our house, we believe that black lives matter. We believe it’s time to end racism and sexism. We believe that all people matter and it’s time to end hate.
What happens if you are a couple divided about politics?
What happens if you read in the NY Times that Trump paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017, and have differing reactions to that information?
You can agree to disagree.
You can have an important dialogue about how you each feel. That means you have to listen and feed back what you heard. Please remember doing so does not mean you agree with what your beloved has said; just that you heard and are feeding it back.
Feelings and content are different. Using the above example, content is the $750 Trump paid in taxes. Process is how you feel about that.
People react immediately to content because brains are wired for safety: am I going to live or die? And that happens in 1/200th of a second. That comes from the limbic/emotional part of the brain. It’s to be able to run from a predator, or pull your child back to the curb. Unfortunately, it’s also an instinct that arises with your partner when it’s not necessarily needed.
Feeling connected and that you belong are about process. That’s responding (not reacting). That comes from your cognitive (thinking) and limbic brain (when you’re not emotionally flooded).
I picked the Trump tax situation because it’s liable to cause a strong reaction one way or another. You may be thinking, “What did I pay in taxes those years?”
And yet many topics engender a powerful reaction, not a response. The top three are money, sex, and power. But politics, in-laws, kids, vacations, work/home balance, and religion are up there, too.
In order to deescalate things between you, remember you’re talking to your beloved, slow everything down, be curious, ask questions, show love and kindness. And you don’t have to agree on everything. You just have to be able to talk about it calmly.