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Sports, Politics and Divorce

Marriages may suffer if couples are rooting for opposing political parities.
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Back in 1951, the Giants and the Dodgers were in one of the most heated pennant races the world has ever known. It was the event that just about wrecked my Aunt Vivian and Uncle Julius's 25-year marriage.

Here's some background: In August, the Brooklyn Dodgers held a 13 1/2 game lead over the Giants. Aunt Vivian was a Dodger fan, Uncle Julius a Giant fan. The Giants took the lead until the Dodgers rallied to win the final game of the season, tying the rivals for first place and necessitating a three-game playoff for the pennant. The Giants won the first game of the playoff; the Dodgers won the second. It came down to the third game victory. By then, my aunt and uncle weren't on speaking terms.

I recall sitting in my grandparents' living room with the rest of our family watching the final game on their black and white 17" RCA television. Even my mother who was not a sports fan was expected to take sides. She could not declare neutrality. Because Aunt Vivian was her sister, guess which team Mom rooted for?

In the end, Bobby Thomas broke the tie in the third game with a dramatic ninth-inning home run. It was known as the "shot heard 'round the world." Fortunately, my relatives' marriage was bulletproof.

Aunt Vivian and Uncle Julius stayed married for thirty plus years, well after the Dodgers broke Brooklyn's heart by moving to Los Angeles and the Giants relocated to San Francisco. My aunt and uncle cemented their differences with the NY Yankees.

While the current contentious presidential race is not a game playoff, it is not entirely off base to say that a personal relationship like my relatives' can suffer if couples are rooting for opposing political parities.

Couples who can agree to disagree, who can negotiate their differences, who respect each other's world views are more likely to stay together. However, there is likely going to be trouble if one member is a political activist, extremely conservative, or liberal and the other holds different opinions.

Sports and politics aren't as high on the list of reasons for divorce as one might expect. Men's and women's reasons differ; for women top reasons for divorce are fear of their partner, incompatibility, differing visions of the future and a spouse's infidelity. For men, divorce reasons skew more toward sexual problems, outside sexual affairs and external influences. More often than not, there are multiple complicated reasons for divorce depending on age, individual expectations and beliefs, and economic factors.

During this election, couples might have extreme feelings about the candidates. Partisanship might exacerbate martial problems, but could they be a real deal breaker? I would like to hear from readers. To what extent did differing political views when you were married affect your relationship?

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