[COLUMN] Estranged bedfellows: that 4-year marriage problem

The election season poses a serious threat to relationships between people with different political views

By Elizabeth Bernstein

The Wall Street Journal

As Isaac Pollak, an ardent Republican, kissed his wife goodbye before heading out on a business trip to Asia several years ago, he handed her his absentee ballot for the coming presidential election and asked her to mail it.

Bonnie Pollak, a Democrat, weighed her options. Should she be loyal to her spouse, respect his legal right and mail the ballot? Or remain faithful to her deeply held beliefs and suppress his vote?

“It was a real dilemma,” says Ms. Pollak, 58 years old, a student in a doctoral program in social welfare who lives in Manhattan. “I decided to do the right thing.”

Ms. Pollak threw the ballot away.

This might be the toughest mixed marriage to navigate: one between a Republican and a Democrat. Each partner is typically dug in. And—just like the talking heads on cable news—spouses can enter your living room and proselytize 24/7, if they wish.


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September 2012