Q. I like Obama; my boyfriend thinks I'm a socialist. He likes McCain; I think he's a Palin-drone. We usually agree to disagree about politics, but this election season – especially since Sarah Palin came onboard – it's gotten ugly. And after the election, there will be the inevitable “I told you so's.” Any suggestions on how couples can navigate the political landscape?
Steve: You need to keep it from getting personal. Right way: “Darling, I love you and respect your opinions and I know you'll respect mine, and I just want to make sure we don't let a silly thing like politics get in the way of our wonderful relationship.”
Wrong way: “I pretend I'm with Obama whenever we have sex.”
Mia: Some couples do it, obviously. Look at Mary Matalin and James Carville. And sometimes conflict just makes things better in the bedroom. There's nothing like angry political sex.
But in general, I would say just try not to discuss the race between now and the election. And maybe spend Election Night with different groups of friends.
Q. I told my wife that when I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes sprinkled at the Shore, where I spent every summer as a kid. She thinks we should be buried side-by-side in the cemetery at her church. I don't think we need to be physically next to each other in death, which she says is cruel and insensitive. How can we solve this?
Mia: Well, this gets into some deep territory: what happens to us when we die? It might not be resolved over drinks one night. I guess this fight gets down to what is significant for you.
Obviously, your wife is hurt that you don't want to be buried with her. Perhaps you can find a way to communicate how much you love her and that where you want your ashes scattered is not a rejection of her.
Ultimately though, you should try to lay some ground rules and move on. After all, will either of you care when you're dead?
Steve: Why would you want your ashes spread among used needles and bagged medical waste? As for lying side-by-side, as Shakespeare has noted, in the end we are the conquest of worms.
Remind your wife that marriage is all about compromise:
Perhaps someone can spread some of your ashes on the beach and save some to place beside her.