He Said … She Said

He Said ... She Said

I recently got engaged to a wonderful guy I’ve been dating for a little over a year. We’re planning on marrying after graduation. We don’t usually talk about politics because we have different views, but we got in a little disagreement last night. See, I didn’t know this, but he’s adamantly opposed to abortion, and while I personally oppose the action, I think every woman should have the right to choose. He feels really strongly about this. I don’t know whether to brush it off or consider it a serious relationship problem. Please don’t just take this as a joke – my friends have just laughed it off.

– Cold Feet

He says:

You aren’t the first couple to disagree on political issues. When I worked on the Bush campaign, I met a lot of couples in which one spouse was a Republican while the other was a Democrat. You two actually agree on more than you think. It sounds like you are both opposed to abortion in your relationship. Your difference is in whether it should be legal. My advice would be to do one of two things: either openly discuss your political views with each other or impose a “no politics policy” when you two are together. If the difference upsets you, then you two should talk to each other about your beliefs.

One thing that you should understand is that for most pro-lifers, including myself, having an abortion is killing a child. It is not simply a matter of who should get a tax cut or whether CAB should charge for midnight breakfast. We are talking about human life. This is not something people can usually find middle ground on.

When I heard your question I was reminded of James Carvel and Mary Matlin. Now you may be asking yourself, who are they? They’re the members of a famous political couple. James Carvel led President Clinton’s campaign and Mary Matlin worked for President George W. Bush’s campaign. They met in 1992, married after the election and have two kids. You will usually see them on TV debating against each other. I figure if they can work out their political differences, anyone can.

She says:

I wouldn’t dream of ever laughing at such a matter – it is, in fact, a serious issue, one which needs to be resolved before you two tie the knot. The only way to do it is to talk it out.

However, before the discussion starts, lay some ground rules so it stays an adult conversation and not a heated debate – which is often hard to do with such a topic. Understand that each of you has opinions and they should be respected and fully heard without interruption. If at any point the discussion turns into a yelling match, take a time-out and cool off – but get back in there.

If your soon-to-be-hubby doesn’t want to have the conversation or isn’t following the rules and respecting you, beat him with a coat hanger and then ask him how he feels about abortion. Kidding, really kidding. Seriously though, if he isn’t willing to talk it out with you then he obviously doesn’t respect your opinions and that’s another problem in itself.

Couples need to talk about abortion as well as many other topics: pregnancy, sickness, death and money … before getting married. Avoiding political topics just because you have differences in opinions is practically putting yourself in the front of the line for divorce. If you don’t think you can have your own opinions and still be a happy couple just look at Regis and Kelly, Will and Grace, or Bert and Ernie – all tried and true examples of working couples who can discuss political topics or rubber duckies.