Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Politics and Marriage

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a gung-ho Democrat.  So, revealing my vote from yesterday isn't particularly startling.  But, I'm not so much talking about my disappointment over PA electing every single Republican they could, but whether politics should play a role in a marriage.

Chris is slightly more middle of the road than me, but generally is pretty left-ist, too.  However, he has been thoroughly convinced (perhaps, in part, by me) that the previous couple of years with no checks and balances were a bad idea.  Even I will fully admit that too many policies went through without adequate debate.  Chris started to feel that, even if he agreed with Democrats' principles, Republicans needed to be elected so that the process would be slowed down.  I, on the other hand, believe that we will merely experience a stalemate for the next two years, and that's not moving anyone "forward". 

I voted at lunch.  As we're cooking dinner, Chris revealed he hadn't yet, but was thinking about going and voting Republican.  I told him that I would be furious with him.  This led to a discussion on how much a wife should attempt to influence her husband's actions, particularly when it involves voting.  My stance, is that I chose our relationship on the basis of shared values and beliefs, and had we NOT shared those values and beliefs, I likely would not have chosen to marry him.  His stance was that I shouldn't try and control him.  I think both are valid.  I did proceed with the following questions:

"Do you believe we should stop stem cell research?"  "No"  (#1 in my mind right now!)
"Do you believe companies who outsource should get tax breaks?"  "No"
"Do you believe the government should not support the poor?"  "No"
"Do you believe only the wealthy should have access to health care?"  "No"
"Do you believe that there should be environmental controls on energy companies?"  "Yes"

I can't remember the entire rundown of questions I asked, but surely enough, he still fell pretty "left".  At that point, he decided to not vote, and save himself from the harassment.  I don't know how I feel about this.  I don't want to feel like I twisted his arm, but my political beliefs are important to me, as is sharing that with him.

Do you think how your spouse votes should be off limits?  Or is it a core value and discussion that should be held? 


  1. That's a great question!

    Don't know the answer, but a great question!

    Luckily my wife and I are pretty inline. Hopefully it stays that way.

  2. Katy, I am with you on this one! I am middle of the road/slightly right wing, while my husband is a full-fledged Democrat. While there are some political issues we have (cough) strong debates over, to me, it was more important that we agreed on more spiritual/faith matters. One thing we DID agree on was that political issues are often grey areas with answers to questions rarely being just "yes" and "no." I think (for now) our philosophy is to keep political communication open and attempt to at least hear the other person's point of view. Easier said than done, but so far, no major household battles have erupted and we've been able to debate, talk and then move on. Good luck and if you have any words of wisdom, feel free to pass it along!

  3. I think ultimately we have no say, but I do hope that my husband votes according to his values...which as you said are shared. I don't know how I would feel about him voting a different way than his beliefs to balance things out though.

  4. I wouldn't want my husband telling me what to believe and for whom to vote, so I don't do it to him.

  5. How can you live with someone and not discss values and political beliefs? One has to be respectful of differing perspectives, but I'd be more worried if you didn't talk about your political views with each other. I also think it's much easier to live together if you share values and political views.

  6. I once threatened to break up with my then-boyfriend if he voted for Ron Paul running on the Republican ticket. Ideally, of course, both partners should be open to talking about their political views in a respectful and well-informed way. Easier said than done!

    Found you via a comment on No-Meat Athlete. Sorry you got jumped on by a lot of overzealous vegans.