Are you posting campaign posters in your bedroom? Politics can ruin your marriage

Do not be so attached to politics that when your candidate loses, you sink into depression.

Do not be so attached to politics that when your candidate loses, you sink into depression.

What you need to know:

  • Where politics in a relationship is male-driven, there may be a tendency by the man to impose his political opinions and candidates on the woman.
  • Although politically dissimilar partners may have built their relationships on other mutual interests, political attitudes will always impact fundamental choices in a relationship
  • You must never allow politics to take the centre stage in your relationship.

Marriage and politics are strange bedfellows. Like a black mamba laden with highly potent poison, politics can be toxic for a marriage. This toxicity reaches hazardous levels every election season. Spouses who have shared intimacy at the deepest level become divided politically to the point of turning against each other. Where politics in a relationship is male-driven, there may be a tendency by the man to impose his political opinions and candidates on the woman. If not handled carefully, politics and elections can kill a marriage.

Political paraphernalia

Extreme political zealousness such as posting campaign calendars, posters, and party flags and symbols at home should be prohibited in your relationship.  Leonard Kinuthia, the author of Sex, Principles and Value says their presence will be an indication of a lack of control in political inclinations. “Campaign materials should be kept away from the house and especially out of the bedroom,” he writes.

Tribal politics

According to Ken Munyua, a psychologist based in Nairobi, political differences within relationships is bound to get murky where spouses culturally hail from communities that are perceived as political enemies. “Locally, politics are generally less about ideologies and more about tribal affiliations,” he says. Parents who had stereotypical political inclinations may pass their ideologies and perspectives on to their children. “This then becomes similar to a trans-generational adoption of political stereotypes against certain political wings and regions,” he says.

Family contestant

Things might get more complicated where a contesting member of the extended family demands support and allegiance from a spouse who doesn’t approve of their political ideologies or alignment. According to Munyua, such a scenario may evolve into a long-lasting family feud if untamed. The reluctant spouse can consider joining the private strategy team of the family member, or if able to, offer a one-time financial donation as a gesture of support. He can also cease to show open support for the rival.

Talking politics

According to Tara Fields, the author of The Love Fix, the trick when discussing hot political topics with a romantic partner you don’t share political views with is to be open-minded. “Let them know you’re trying to understand their point of view. Ask for clarification without judgment or anger,” she says. Never insist you are right or that your partner is a sycophant. In the same vein, before you risk losing a relationship you have built over the years because of a seasonal political period, remember the issues you fight about are far from what decide elections. For instance, it is not issues or the economy or the candidates’ abilities that decide elections. “Instead, it is the perception you have of candidates’ personalities that decides the winner,” says psychologist Dr. Chris Hart.

Political blackout

Additionally, you may opt to deliberately take a self-imposed political blackout if things seem to be boiling over. According to social psychologist and author Jeremy Nicholson, if you share radically different political views, build on what you have in common and focus on the gratitude you feel for each other. “Learn skills to diffuse and redirect arguments with your partner especially when there is a political impasse,” says psychologist Patrick Musau.

If you’re dating

If you’re in the dating game, picking partners with whom you share political views could be a boost for your relationship. “Although politically dissimilar partners may have built their relationships on other mutual interests, political attitudes will always impact fundamental choices in a relationship, chief among them sexual and financial matters,” says Nicholson.

Takeaway for the married in politics

Politics are seasonal, your marriage is not: According to Ken Munyua, you must never allow politics to take the centre stage in your relationship. “If you have to discuss it, do it in a manner that will not push you into anger. Neither should you prolong political debates at home,” he says.

Political betting:  Where you have failed to reach common political ground, you may be tempted to place bets on your preferred candidates. This is a mistake. “Whether your bet pays off or not, you will be left with sour grapes that will trickle down to how you relate,” cautions Munyua. In the same vein, do not be so attached that when your candidate loses, you sink into depression.

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