My Bipartisan Marriage: Agreeing to Disagree

Source: City & State (2012)

“And as we have for the past 18 years since we met, my husband and I just canceled out each other’s votes.” That’s what I posted on Facebook and Twitter this morning, after my husband and I left our polling place in Chicago’s South Suburbs, and I was surprised to find that lots of female friends and followers are in the same boat.

I’m not sure how things work in their bipartisan households, but in ours it’s a matter of agreeing to disagree.

Politically, my husband and I couldn’t be further apart. He is a self-professed libertarian with what I would describe as strong Republican leanings. His vote is determined by the state of the economy: tax and deficit levels, unemployment and inflation rates, and other key business and financial indicators. I, meanwhile, am a liberal Democrat. I vote on social issues like protecting same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose. I vote based on the man or woman running and his or her view and treatment of people; I vote with my heart.

In terms of our morals and values, though, we are on the same page. We both come from blue-collar backgrounds and value education, hard work and, above all, family. We want to instill strong work ethics in our children and teach them to be proud of what they achieve rather than what they are given. We believe in championing their victories and letting them learn from their mistakes.

In our early years together, before marriage and kids, the presidential election was a source of extreme contention. Every four years, we’d bicker and argue, each trying to sway and convince the other. But as we’ve grown and matured together over the past almost two decades, we’ve come to realize we can’t change each other’s opinions. We can let go of our political differences because on a personal level we know we’ve worked out a pretty effective system of checks and balances. His practical business mind keeps my (often) overly emotional one in check, and vice versa.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. No matter who is in the oval office come January.

What about your household? Are you and your partner on the same page, or do you agree to disagree too?