Perhaps, like me, you’ve felt sadly concerned over the growing divisiveness in our nation. When I read the news or listen to weekly roundtable discussions, the voices calling for understanding and unity are often drowned out by angry shouts from opposing sides where people are digging deeper trenches, preparing for battle.
Each side is absolutely convinced they are right. So sure, in fact, that the only reason they consider a differing opinion is to find the best argument against it. They don’t listen. They aren’t curious. Neither side seems interested in understanding an alternative point of view.
On a smaller scale, I witness the same dynamic in my office each week.
Two people with very different perspectives of their marriage, each convinced they are right. Most of them come to their first session with arguments in place hoping to convince me, the counselor-moderator, that they are more right than the person on the other side of the couch.
Their disagreements, however, are usually symptoms of their disconnection, not the cause. Their fix will not come about by figuring out who’s more right. Healing in their relationship will begin to happen when they step back from the arguments and consider their union. What brought them together? What caused them to disconnect? What kind of relationship do they both long for? How do they cooperate together to help each other experience it?
Those are vulnerable choices, and that’s exactly why they are so effective in creating a renewed unity.
I don’t know how we do that as a nation. In my own way, I’m trying to be curious about various points of view, whether I agree with them or not. I read the New York Times and the Washington Times. I listen to FOX News and CNN. I subscribe to podcasts (like Left, Right, and Center) that encourage open discussion between different viewpoints.
When we crawl out of our battle trenches and engaged in curious conversations rather than heated debates, we may find that we can disagree while learning to care about one another. I want my country to be more like that. I want my marriage to be more like that, too.