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My spouse supports same-sex marriage and I dont
I support gay marriage but my spouse is very against it. Every time the topic comes up, which is often, we end up in an argument. At first we agreed to just never talk about it, but that is proving hard to do. - photo by Kim Giles

I support gay marriage but my spouse is very against it. Every time the topic comes up, which is often, we end up in an argument. At first we agreed to just never talk about it, but that is proving hard to do. We both feel strongly about our position and we get emotional and angry. We really wish we were on the same page on this. Its driving a wedge in our marriage. I hate that he sees me as wrong and he hates that I see him as homophobic and mean. Do you have any advice on this? What do you do when you fundamentally disagree at a core level with the person you love most?


This question may benefit all of us, because your marriage is just a microcosm of our society right now. Both sides of this issue have strong opinions and emotions are running high. Maybe it would help if we all learned how to appreciate each other, honor our differences, and respect those who disagree with us.

I believe life is a classroom (you hear me say that often) but I believe this classroom was specifically designed to teach us how to love ourselves and other people at a higher level. In order for us to stretch and learn to love at a higher level, God made us all different.

God could have made us all the same race, color, size and sexual orientation, but that would have made accepting each other way too easy. Whats the challenge in that?

Instead people come in many different sizes, shapes, colors, races and sexual orientation. I believe these differences were intentional, they are here for a reason so we get the opportunity to learn to love those who are different, which is more difficult to do. Differences give us all kinds of challenges to overcome and grow from.

Every experience, issue, difference and disagreement is a lesson to teach you love, though. I believe this is especially true in your marriage. This unique relationship can teach you things you cant learn anywhere else, because your spouse can push your buttons better than anyone else. Your marriage is your perfect classroom.

On top of that, sexual orientation is a tough difference to process for many people, because they just cant get their head around it or understand it. These types of differences can also cause us to lump whole groups of people into them groups opposed to us groups and subconsciously see them as the bad guys or the wrong ones. We literally see these people and everyone on their side as the enemy at the subconscious level. They are the enemy because either they are wrong or I am. Both cant be right.

So your question is really, "How do I genuinely love my enemies and those who strongly disagree with me and see me as wrong?"

Here are some things you can do (and we all can do) to stop the fighting and increase our compassion and tolerance for others:

  1. Remember that every person on the planet has the same intrinsic worth you do and no one is better or more valuable than anyone else. Accept this idea as a universal principle of truth. We are all one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, human souls, who are on a totally unique one-of-a-kind classroom journey. No one on the planet will ever get the same lessons you get, so you cant judge their journey. They are here to learn different lessons than you are. You must not judge anyone, ever. Your only job is to forgive, love and work on yourself (and that is hard enough of a challenge to keep you busy.) Focus on being loving towards your spouse and seeing their value as the same as yours no matter what.

  2. Understand that everyones views and opinions are the sum of their unique life experiences. We have all been shaped by what weve been exposed to. Your spouse (and the other people who disagree with your view on this) have had a different journey, so, they see the world differently than you see it. You must allow them the right to be who they are. You must honor and respect their right to see the world the way they see it. Over time and with added experiences their view may widen or shift, but until then, you must validate their (equal) worth as a person, and their right to their view. You must give them permission to be where they are right now.

  3. Give kudos to others for having good intentions. Your spouse is not a bad person, who intends to harm anyone. Every person on both sides of this issue is just trying to do what they honestly feel is right. Instead of seeing a spouse or anyone who is against gay marriage as a bigot, choose to admire their desire to obey what they believe God wants. They have good intentions. On the other side, people who support gay marriage are choosing what feels fair, loving, right and kind to them. They desire to honor all men equally, and that is beautiful. Both sides have good intentions and could be admired if you chose to see it that way.

  4. Focus on your spouses good character. Your spouse is a good person with many admirable qualities. Make sure you focus on (and comment often on) those qualities more than anything else. Tell your spouse that you love his strength to stand up for what he believes. He could admire your love, acceptance and commitment to what you believe. Admire your spouses intentions to stand for what they feel is right. This is an admirable virtue. Even though you dont agree with your spouses politics, show them that you admire their faith or love. Those are admirable qualities.

  5. Remember being nice is more important than being right (when it comes to arguments with your spouse.) You are not in a court of law arguing your case. You are in a marriage and a school (life/classroom) learning how to be loving. Remember the goal here is loving behavior, not winning an argument. Stop trying to try your case and focus on love. Your job is to work on your compassion, tolerance, love and peace every day. In the midst of an argument, if you can remember this, you can shift gears and be a giver of kindness. Allow, honor, respect, forgive and care for your spouse first and foremost. Show them that your love is bigger than any issue.

  6. Learn how to have mutually validating conversations, and if you must share your opinion, ask permission first and use the right language. In my book "Choosing Clarity," I explain exactly how to have mutually validating conversations with your spouse. This involves asking questions and listening to the other person first while honoring and respecting their opinions. Then, you can ask permission to share your ideas. This shows great respect for the other person. It might sound like this, Honey, would you be open to letting me share my reasons for seeing this the way I do? Would you be willing to respect my thoughts and opinions and just love me as I am, instead of trying to change my view?

    When you get their permission, speak, but use a lot of I statements (I feel that In my opinion I have seen I just feel ). Dont use you statements because they feel like an attack. Also, make it clear that you arent trying to change their mind or convince them you are right, you just want to be understood. Say things like, I understand why you might see it that way and I love you for your good heart, character, devotion, etc.

I hope these ideas help. Remember what Anthony Bourdain said, I dont have to agree with you to like you or respect you. In your case, you can still love this person with all your heart, even though you dont agree.

You can do this.
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