During the last election, my neighbors Mark and Jennifer were at odds with each other. They had been married for over 25 years and always voted for the same party. This year was different. Mark was voting for McCain, and Jennifer was voting for Obama.
Jennifer and Mark work together in their family business and have raised four great sons. Jennifer tends to be outspoken and sees the world in black and white, right and wrong. Mark is much more easy going and flexible. Like other couples they have overcome challenges yet still remain devoted to each other.
Mark had mentioned to me that he was planning to vote Republican this year. I didn't know how they were handling their differences but one day as I walked past their front yard I noticed two political signs in their yard. They were shoved into the ground right next to each other.
I smiled because it looked as if someone had measured the distance from the street to the signs to make sure that each one had an equal chance of being viewed by passing cars. I laughed as I squelched my juvenile desire to move one of the signs a few inches closer to the street just to bug them.
A few days later, Jennifer and I took our dogs out for a long walk. She reported that she and Mark were doing great and getting along despite their allegiance to different candidates. She shared how she and Mark were able to handle their differences.
1. Discuss, don't dismiss. Rather than let your temper get the better of you, choose to be proactive and work out the rules for the duration of the campaign. Mark and Jennifer decided to let it all out while they watched the debates. They cracked jokes, complained, and groused about the other's candidate as loud as they could. After the debate was over they agreed to calmly listen to each other's viewpoint. Instead of reacting and dismissing each other, they were open to discussing the issues.
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