Can this (political) marriage be saved?

I used to love Ladies Home Journal Magazine, and it’s longest, most successful feature was, “Can this marriage be saved”.  The magazine has gone now, but that article and concept lives on, literally and figuratively.

I began reading that as a kid, and was always intrigued.  It was Jerry Springer before cameras got involved.

Like Springer, the stories were always similar, and based on the age old relationship conflicts.  Both parties fall in love, fail to see any differences, at least ones that are deal breakers, and pledge a lifelong partnership, expecting to live happily ever after.

But, the inevitable flaws and imperfections emerge, combined with life’s ups and downs, mistakes, missteps and sins occur, and as the newness wears off, the little differences that were no issue before, and even “cute” in the beginning, become bigger than the mounds of unwashed laundry and unpaid bills.

As the pressure mounts, the communication breaks down, and everything is an argument.  Both sides feel like victims, the other party is always wrong, and there seems to be an irrevocable rift, with divorce the only option.

In comes the “counselor” who listens to both and seeks to find a resolution; through compromise, common ground, forgiveness, and love.  “Remember why you fell in love in the first place?”, the counselor always asks.

“Why should I compromise, when she’s/he’s the one who’s wrong?”

“He never listens to me!”  “Yes I do!  She doesn’t listen to me!”

“She doesn’t respect me!” “Yes, I do!  He doesn’t respect me!”

“He never cleans up after himself!” “I’m the one who does the dishes!”  “She spends too much on shoes!” “Not as much as he spends on golf!” “He’s  lying!”  “No, she’s the liar!” And round and round they go.

It gets to the point where they are incapable of having a civil discussion at all, even over very small items of life, with every conversation deteriorating into insults and name calling.

This seems to be the cycle we’re in as conservatives.  We all joined together in a partnership, based upon a supposed shared love of certain ideas, not really seeing or being too concerned with the differences, expecting to be on the same page, and now that the differences are emerging (choice of nominee), can’t seem to find ANY common ground, and are bickering over everything from how the dinner was over-cooked to who took the trash out last.

While some issues in marriage can and should be deal breakers, infidelity, abuse, addictions, etc.,  others shouldn’t be and only become so through a war that escalates with no end in sight until it ends up in a divorce court.

Often times, both parties become so focused on “winning” that they don’t care what they lose in the long run; personally, professionally, emotionally and financially.  And unfortunately, a “win” for them is to have the other person give complete, unequivocal agreement, with nothing else being acceptable. For others, it’s the thrill of being proven right, no matter how they wrong their partner.

The end of the “Can this Marriage be Saved” article was always one of resolution, with both parties having a renewed desire to understand and even embrace their differences, to communicate more effectively and respectfully, to pick their battles and let the small things go, and to focus on what made each other fall in love in the first place.

At least that’s what I remember.  Maybe I blocked out the stories that ended with division of property, at least what property was left after the bon fire on the front lawn in front of the neighbors.  Neighbors who have enjoyed watching the war go down, as it helped them hide their own hand-to-hand combat happening behind their own front door.

Can our conservative republican marriage be saved?  The bickering going on between the Cruz and Trump supporters seems so bad, that it appears that we’re destined for a Jerry Springer show down with flying chairs and broken noses, now that the “paternity”, ie conservative creds “test” of Trump is in.  And, Ben Carson isn’t much of a Steve Wilkos in the body guard area.

Overly simplistic?  To narrow it down to Trump not being “conservative enough”?  I don’t think so.  Like most struggling marriages, the many fights on many different issues are just symptoms of the underlying issue.

The #nevertrump movement began on that.  The NRO piece was about their perception of Trump’s lack of conservatism, as was Romney’s anti Trump speech.

The Trump supporters view him as conservative enough and the Cruz supporters don’t.  That’s the underlying marriage issue, imo.  Most marriages don’t really break up over loading the dishwasher.  That’s the superficial symptom.

The symptoms here include:

Trump supporters like his brash, lack of politically correct style, the Cruz supporters think he’s not presidential enough.  Trump supporters think he’s got the best chance to defeat Hillary, through his toughness, control of media and ability to expand the tent.  Cruz supporters think Trump’s unfavorability ratings give Cruz a better chance.  Trump supporters say Cruz’s personality is unlikeable.

Cruz supporters don’t like Trump’s past support of liberal positions, Trump supporters don’t trust Cruz, because he too has flipped on some issues, and has been part of the establishment.

Cruz supporters think Trump has maxed out his support at around 40% and, therefore,  “60% of Republicans don’t want Trump”.  Then since Cruz has hovered with around 30%, that means that 70% don’t want Cruz.

With this being the year of the anti-establishment candidate, Trump supporters say he’s the outsider, because he’s never held office.  Cruz supporters say he is the outsider, because Trump gave money to democrats as a businessman, and Cruz called McConnell a liar.

Who is right and who is wrong?  Depends on whether you’re asking the wife or the husband.  Both think they’re right. And, both are both right and wrong.

Both are flawed.  Both are imperfect.  Both are engaging in mud slinging.  Both are bickering over nonsense. Same for the spouses, and especially for the supporters.

Immigration, terrorism, and Obamacare were the top issues that gave the GOP the majority in 2014 and remain the leading issues according to primary exit polls, after over 25 states holding contests.

Both Trump and Cruz promise to seal the border, destroy ISIS and repeal Obamacare.

But…Trump said (blank) about Heidi…But….Trump doesn’t really have a steak business…..

It all makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a steak knife.

Both have a pathway to earning the 1237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, with Trump’s being far easier.

And what happens if he does?  The #nevertrump crowd vows to stay home.  Some GOP  bigs within the party are floating a 3rd party option.  Other GOP bigs are supposedly working on a hand picked choice through the delegates, which would not be either Trump or Cruz, the two leading choices of the voters.

All options throw their spouses wardrobe on the front lawn, cover it with gasoline and toss on a match, with the neighbors (the dems) taking a video of it and plastering it all over you tube, content knowing that no one is paying attention to the mess behind their curtains.

And for some in the party, that will be satisfying, because a “win” for them is being proven “right”.  So when Hillary wins in the general, they can say see, I was right.  I win.  And we all lose.

I have heard many “counselors” ie pundits on tv saying when it comes down to it, the #nevertrump people would vote for him in the general, because they know that the differences we have with the dems are far greater than the differences within our ranks.

And that the common ground we have IS just that; a shared understanding that an imperfect Republican is better than a Marxist, and THAT is what we will be fighting against in November.

While this weekend the conservatives were engaged in the Jerry Springer episode called “the battle of the wives”, a sitting President of the United States, openly promoted socialism, saying that there was little difference and people should pick what works.

Socialism has NEVER worked any where it has been implemented.  But we’re not hearing that discussed in debates or town halls.  Since Megyn Kelly started the season asking about Trump calling women dogs and asking Walker if he would rather women die in regards to abortion, it’s been a dog fight over cheap crappy fake food out of a can, not much real substance.

Maybe the Republicans need to focus on what they fell in love with in the first place, a free market capitalist Republic of States.  And we better have a lover of the free market system win in November, or we’ll all end up in a Jerry Springer style fight over our can of guvment crap in a can.

I welcome your thoughts!  Let me know what you think the issues are, what we should be fighting over and whether or not this marriage can be saved.

 

 

 

 

 

4 responses to “Can this (political) marriage be saved?

  1. Loved this, and the radio show around the same. You definitely got my attention and my brain was busily processing the analogy. Well done….and as in any conflict, marriage or otherwise….the first step in winning the battle is to get on our knees and pray!

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    • Eve, what a blessing you are to my life! Thank you for not only taking the time to read this and to respond, but also to remind me of the most important element that is missing today in our personal, professional and political relationships – prayer and the Lord!

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  2. An old adage regarding relationships is,

    “Would you rather be right or be happy?”

    If the marriage is important to you at all, don’t fight to the death to destroy your spouses’s opinion because you’ll destroy the marriage and end up with regret wondering why you let it get that far.

    Maintain respect for each other’s differences. Even give each other credit when credit’s due without fearing you’ve given away the argument, and vice versa.

    Don’t become so nasty that you lose respect for yourself and each other.

    And never let the neighbors witness your infighting because it empowers them and they’ll use it against you at first opportunity.

    Strive to be the friend in the marriage, not the enemy.

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    • Almost everything you mentioned has been missing from the “war of the Roses”! The focus has been too much on being “right”, and therefore, not respecting differences, and definitely not giving credit. And the result is that they view each other as the enemy vs the REAL one! Thanks so much for taking the time to read it and to post a comment!

      Like

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