You’ve found that “perfect” person with the exception of one problem. In some areas you are opposites – enough to create a concern as to whether or not the relationship can survive long term. Everything seems great in your relationship except for the area of differing opinions, making it sometimes difficult to discuss issues.
There’s truth to the saying that “opposites attract” in many instances. You may find that you have a wonderful and passionate relationship with the special person, but different interests or opinions sometimes bring you down from that “high”. Luckily there are some things that you can do to make a relationship of differing interests or opinions work:
Respect the Opposite Opinion
It’s easy to be passionate about your beliefs. And in that passion it is hard to sometimes hear an opposing view. And hearing an opposing view can make it difficult not to escalate a discussion into an argument. As a couple, it’s important to work on keeping an open mind within your differing discussions. The good thing about having opposing opinions is that you can make debates interesting. Take, for example, debate teams. One of the great things about debate teams is that they are sometimes forced to defend an issue that they may not agree with. Members of a debate team may have strong feelings in favor of the death penalty yet be called upon to argue in favor of abolishing the death penalty. The exposure these members get is invaluable because even though their opinion may not change, they have exposed themselves to learning more about the opposing side. Such education is priceless. Now in your relationship you have the same opportunity to learn by listening to your partner’s opinion. This is actually a great thing! And when you change your view to be able to respectfully listen to your partner (and them to you), it adds a whole new dimension of wonder and learning to the valuable relationship you have created.
Attack the Issue, Not the Person
It’s important to remember that when debating an issue, keep your debate focused on the issue and not on your partner. Too many times relationships of opposing opinion take a turn for the worse when one person attacks the other person for their opinion. You may feel strongly that increasing taxes is a bad thing. Your partner may argue with you that increasing taxes is vital to better social programs. This argument takes a turn for the worse when one partner says to the other, “How can you be so stupid?” Never ever attack your partner in this manner. Remember that part of what makes your partner attractive is that they have their own mind and opinions. View this as a good thing and not a bad thing. Differing opinions is a growing experience for both partners. You can debate the issue all you want, but never debate the merits of your partner for having an opinion.
Thank the Person for Their Opinion
Once you learn to respect your partner’s opinion, and never attack them for their opinion, it’s time to grow your relationship by actually thanking them for sharing their opinion. When you thank your partner for sharing an opposing view, you create contentment within your relationship. And contentment is vital to the overall success of a relationship. After you’ve had a debate of opposing views, kiss your partner and say to him/her, “thank you for sharing your opinion. I value your thoughts.” By doing this you will find that such debates are never a threat to your relationship. In fact, they become a benefit.
Love Conquers All
Always live by the notion that love conquers all. Your love for your partner should be much deeper than the opinion they express. Take, for example, family. There are many family situations where parents are of one party (i.e. Republican), but their children are of a different affiliation (i.e. Democrat). Does this change the relationship between them? Of course not! Why is that? It’s because love conquers all. You love the person for who they are, not for what they believe. Always reinforce to yourself the notion that your love for your partner is more important than anything in the world.
Reassure Your Partner
Even amongst differing opinions, there will always be aspects of a discussion that you and your partner agree on. It’s good to be reassuring in these moments – to point out that there are, indeed, things you do agree on. It’s also important to reassure your partner that you respect that there are differing opinions because that is part of what makes your partner so attractive to you.
Remember that debates are a learning experience. There’s no need to ever raise your voice or criticize your partner for their beliefs. And as you learn to listen, reassure your partner, respect your partner’s opinions, and love your partner unconditionally, you’ll find that you will start to develop an open mind that will be invaluable to your relationship and to your daily interactions with others.
Publisher of Online Dating Magazine