During the vice-presidential debate, my normally peaceful relationship with my husband turned into a Soviet-era showdown. We both sat icily on opposite sides of the couch, and when I snorted at Sarah Palin's winking he glared at me. When he mumbled "lies" under his breath while Joe Biden was talking, I chucked a pillow at his head.
An iron curtain has descended in relationships across the country—on one side lie McCain supporters and on the other side Obama backers. With a looming economic crisis, two wars, a crumbling health care system and the future of energy in the balance, this election has captivated our nation. Voter registration is at an all time high and pundits expect turnout to be even greater. But the cost of this intense political passion is often our relationships. Politics can highlight fundamental differences or similarities in values and character and how these issues are handled can either make or break a relationship, so when is the right time to introduce them into your relationship without destroying it?
With political stakes and emotions running so high, many couples would rather drop the iron curtain than engage in a potentially nuclear conversation. According to a recent poll conducted by VitalSmarts and the New York Times bestselling authors of Crucial Conversations, 77 percent of people avoid discussing politics, and one in ten say they stay away from political banter at all costs. Nearly half of respondents have had bad experiences when sharing their political views—and rather than risk a verbal battle, they hunker down and shut up.