by Contributor

(Sep. 6, 2022) — There are many things that cause a couple to divorce but, can political differences be one of them? In this article, we’ll look at the ways in which politics can corrode a marriage.

When we think about the reasons for divorce, our thoughts will tend to turn to factors such as infidelity and disagreements about money perhaps. Surprisingly, a significant number of couples seek family law advice when a marriage breaks down due to differences in political opinion.

While this may seem hard to believe, it’s more common than you might think and we’re going to examine the exactly how and why in this article.

How Did Brexit Affect Marriages?

In 2018, the number of people filing for divorce in the UK shot up significantly to 118,141 – the highest number in 15 years. Incredibly, one of the reasons for this spike was cited as marital disagreements over Brexit, the UK’s departure from the European Union, which was completed in January 2020.

In the run up to the Brexit referendum, the country and, it would seem, couples, were divided into two camps; Leave or Remain. As well as friends and family falling out over this sticky subject, many couples decided that differing stances on Brexit was reason enough to end a marriage.

How Much Should Different Political Viewpoints Matter?

Aside from Brexit, politics can seep into a marriage through our families. For example, if a woman from a staunch Conservative family marries a guy who is a Liberal Democrat, this can cause problems.

In most cases, this isn’t anything explosive but rather a slow corrosion through unshared thoughts and opinions. For example, if one person has to put up with constant digs and snide comments about his politics during family get-togethers.

Often what one person considers to be good natured teasing can get under somebody’s skin over time. This can lead a spouse, in this case our Liberal Democrat, to be reluctant to spend time with his wife’s family, which can lead to resentment and arguments.

How to Avoid Letting Politics Ruin Your Marriage

Differences of opinion in a marriage can be extremely healthy, as long as they aren’t allowed to run out of control. When there are differing politics within a marriage, this shouldn’t be an issue as long as you follow a few simple rules:

Opinion Not Fact

A lot of arguments start when one person states their own opinion as a fact. Arguments can often be avoided by simply getting into the habit of using terms such as ‘I believe’ or ‘in my opinion’ which can turn down the heat as these do not imply that your partner is ‘wrong’ in their own opinion.

Politics and Alcohol Don’t Mix

There’s nothing more relaxing than enjoying a glass of wine or two with your spouse after a long day – except when politics rears its ugly head. Emotions can often get out of hand when we’ve had a few drinks and, for this reason, it’s a good idea to have an agreement to leave politics off the table when cracking open a bottle.

Listen to Others’ Opinions Openly

Our political opinions are often formed fairly early on in life and can mean that we’re less than receptive to other ideas. If you absolutely must talk politics within your marriage, you both need to learn to listen and to make it clear that you value your spouse’s opinion, even if you may not agree with it.

Take Time Outs

With the best will in the world, there’s always the chance that a political disagreement will get out of hand, but this doesn’t have to mean that divorce is on the cards. Initiate a ‘time out’ whereby you have an agreement that, should this happen, you both agree to change the subject to something less incendiary in order to get things back onto an even keel.

Avoid Inflammatory Language

During a political discussion, it’s important to avoid inflammatory language which will turn the conversation into a full-blown argument. An example of this might be ‘Your opinion is blinkered because you come from a wealthy family’ or, ‘You’re a class warrior’.

A difference in opinion should never be turned into a personal attack. This is important but in private and when out with friends and family, in which case you should never seek to get your companions to take sides as this will make for an extremely uncomfortable social occasion.

Listening to Opinions Aside Can Make a Marriage Stronger…

A marriage is all about sharing your life with another person and means accepting the good, the bad and the ugly. In every marriage, there are disagreements on everything from who should take the bins out to who should be the next Prime Minister, but that doesn’t mean that the marriage is doomed.

You absolutely don’t have to agree with your partner’s political leanings but, you should be prepared to listen to their point of view. As the old saying goes, ‘I don’t agree with what you say – but I will defend to the death your right to say it’.

Learning to embrace your differences will almost certainly make your marriage stronger as long as both parties are able to control their emotions and to see where their spouse is coming from. This is absolutely something to practice as we wait to see who will take the top job in number 10 this September.




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