by Rod D. Martin
March 24, 2017

The following is an answer to a question on Quora: “My girlfriend thinks Donald Trump is an idiot and constantly insults him even though she knows I am a diehard supporter. Should I break up with her?”


I’ve been married for a long time, happily. I have three successful children, two of whom are happy in their marriages (the other is still single).

I’ve also seen a great many marriages crash and burn, as I’m sure you have also.

If there’s one consistent truth I’ve seen, it’s this: to be successful in a marriage, you want to minimize the potential points of conflict as much as you possibly can. I am not suggesting that you should suppress what one or the other of you believes: far from it! (And don’t try it!) I am saying that you should be of one mind and one heart to the greatest degree that two very different individuals are capable of being. And since that is absolutely impossible on many many things, you should make sure the things you each most deeply care about — whatever they are — are in sync.

It doesn’t matter all that much if he/she is especially attractive (though I was blessed in that regard, as my wife is a beauty), though of course you should be attracted to each other. You will both age and most of your life neither of you will look like you do today.

But it matters a very great deal if you are arguing over fundamentals, given that you will necessarily argue (or at least disagree) over plenty of things life just throws at you.

In the Bible, we are told not to be “unequally yoked.” Boy ain’t that the truth!

Find someone who believes as you do on the things you care most about: once the new wears off the relationship, these things will become deal-breakers quicker than you think. Some people weather that. Most people don’t.

You’re much, much, much better off arguing about superficial things, like where to have dinner, or how you squeeze the toothpaste tube, or which bills get paid in what order. These things can either be reasoned out or, at least, compromised.

But the definitional things, like what you believe about religion, and politics, and what you’re going to teach your children to believe, and how you’ll raise them, and in what sort of school, and who will pursue what career where?

No, you better get that in sync from the start. Keeping it in sync will be problem enough. Failing to be pointed in the same direction on foundational matters has the same effect over time as an earthquake on a physical foundation: it splits it apart.

Marriage and relationships are hard enough without needless, pointless conflict. Move on.