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.
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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.