To be happy, learn to choose your battles
What you need to know:
- Of importance is the need to embed empathy in every discussion with each other rather than making everything so competitive.
- A healthy discussion must be founded on the thought that debates on issues like politics or any other current affairs subject are just debates.
My husband and I are quite competitive. It is not toxic; we just challenge each other to do our best. However, during this election season, I have noticed some irritability when we discuss politics. We support different candidates. Of late, I have been forced to dumb down and avoid the conversation entirely. I miss our open-minded debates, has that ship sailed?
Debates can be healthy or unhealthy depending on how those involved handle each other and the language they use.
As you have rightfully said, relationships benefit a lot from the healthy competition so long as it is not toxic.
Generally, competitive feelings are normal and could have existed with us from the families where we were born.
When growing up, we tend to feel competitive towards anyone or anything: friends, co-workers, or even family members. However, if handled poorly, competition can easily lead to feelings of jealousy, cynicism and fights.
When competition is handled in a healthy way, it may push a couple towards sharpening their approach to issues.
This will encourage a spirit of innovation, creativity, and intentionality. Competition is also one way of getting feedback on areas you could have strengths more than your partner and reveal weaknesses too. As we will see, it is how one partner perceives such feedback that is key.
Some people are not good at looking like failures all the time or appear to not know as much as they think they did.
Just as sex, religion, or money, equally, politics can be a very emotive subject for others like your husband.
It is apparent that politics gets your husband in a different zone where things degenerate into irritability.
However, you are the type that gets inspired by those who never give up in such discussions. So, what do you do?
First, acknowledge that there is something your husband is not taking kindly when you debate this issue.
The question to ask is whether it is about the language used, the fact that he does not like defeat in a discussion or to be proved wrong?
These are good questions to look at and find better ways of interacting on issues that mean a lot to either of you.
As for you, why would you be so fixed on this topic? How about changing the discussion to other topics that would lead to healthy discussions?
Of importance here also is the need to embed empathy in every discussion with each other rather than making everything so competitive.
Definitely, there is something in the discussion that makes it hard for him to be accommodating.
Second, a healthy discussion must be founded on the thought that debates on issues like politics or any other current affairs subject are just debates.
Don’t bet your life on it. There is still a marriage to be lived. In fact, in politics, the candidates who present themselves for election soon disappear or are no more when the election is over.
On the other hand, the fact that political parties and candidates change every season should be reason enough to stay sober.
What amazes me is the way politicians will argue in public and later meet in the evening for a cup of coffee.
The people we seem to fight for at election time soon forget us. Somehow, we are the only constant in the mix.
Third, keeping quiet will only offer a temporal relief where there is less arguing in the home.
However, this may not be the answer to the pain you are going through. Covering things or keeping silent with issues that have grieved you will only add pain.
The only outlet for your pain is: First, let go of the issue—after all, this issue is not such that it will affect your marriage.
Second, look out for your husband. Rebuild the fellowship with the knowledge that politics will come and go.
Finally, you know that issues in your relationship are resolved when your anger melts away and you are able to look at each other without negative feelings.
Be sure that emotive discussions no longer enrage you as they did before. In the end, be certain that the relationship is ready to move on.
If you let your relationship decline, then the friendship between your husband and yourself will significantly and negative be impacted.
When this happens, the connection between the two of you will become more difficult to deal with leading the relationship on a downward spiral.
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