This guest blog comes from America’s expert on relationship compatibility, eHarmony founder Dr. Neil Clark Warren, who reveals nine ways that Republicans and Democrats can stop fighting, join forces and move this country forward.
A reason to believe is needed now for all of us. There is no responsibility more important than building the trust Americans have in our government. The future success of our great country depends on the efforts to strengthen our relationship with government. And it’s time to put the past behind us and work together in unity.
Every day eHarmony matches thousands of people with the goal of creating happy and compatible relationships that last. We’ve helped over one million people create successful relationships and understand what it takes to initiate harmony between two people.
Now, let’s take a look at the two political parties. We decided the best way to examine the situation is to present some solutions. Imagine that each party is a person — two people who’ve been stuck in a dysfunctional relationship.
What would we tell a couple to help them get their relationship back on track so they could build a foundation based on shared values?
1. It’s essential to acknowledge the impact of your dysfunctional relationship (to the people of this country).
It’s important to learn from past mistakes and realize that this isn’t about individual agendas. People depend on you and need, for many reasons, to see their national leaders working in a spirit of camaraderie and healthy debate.
2. No more name-calling or labeling each other with demeaning language.
Even if your ideas are vastly different, it’s still important to show respect for one another. Terms like “socialist” and “right-wing reactionary” aren’t words that build trust and support.
3. There’s lots of talking and not enough listening.
Just waiting your turn to speak isn’t listening. Listening well includes being able to restate the other person’s point of view — and understand where they are coming from. When the other person expresses their opinions, take them to heart and consider them before preparing your response.
4. Agree on the facts before you can spend time debating them.
John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things.” Was FDR and the New Deal a colossal failure, or did it save a nation? There are facts out there that prove one or the other to be true. Insist on real facts, real truths and live by them.
5. Look at compromise as a positive — not a negative.
When people with different viewpoints have to work together, the only way to be successful is to meet in the middle. If one or both of you view compromise as some sort of personal failing, it will be very difficult to get anything accomplished.
6. Stop putting self-aggrandizement ahead of the health of the relationship.
There’s no “I” in “team.” When one person becomes more concerned with their own personal success over the health of the relationship, the chance of succeeding is very slim.
7. Surround yourself with those who support your efforts.
Do your peers encourage compromise and a spirit of cooperation or do they deride you whenever you reach across the aisle and work together? It’s important to surround yourself with those who share the same mission, passion and values.
8. Be the truth — ALL the time.
We all love people we can trust. When you work with someone building bipartisan legislation and then walk out onto the street and tell a reporter that you would never work with the other side — it hurts. You’ve got to be above reproach when it comes to the truth.
9. Go have fun together. Don’t sit and stew about the past. Celebrate the great times of your life together.
Relationships are hard work. Set aside time to be together and have fun. Remember Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan having a Bourbon together at the end of the day? It’s time to revive that tradition!
What I am asking all of you to do is to get back to the fundamentals of building a successful relationship together. The great basketball coach John Wooden always began training his team by starting with a half hour devoted to teaching the players how to put their socks on the right way, as “wrinkles can cause blisters.” What athlete can begin a journey of greatness with unnecessary blisters because they did not have the fundamentals down?
Let’s get the socks on right for the next four years so you can lead this country to greatness.
Dr. Neil Clark Warren