The Secret to a 79-Year Marriage – and Politics

© 2012 By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.

I am writing this on Nov. 3rd. By the time you read this, the election may be over. I hope so. However, elections are so close these days that one “side” or the other is bound to feel ripped off. There will be outcries that it was rigged. And close to half of the country will feel that they cannot trust their President – that he is even dangerous for America.

Some people may take matters into their own hands. Perhaps with random acts of violence – all justified by the speeches and ads explaining how evil, immoral and incompetent the new (or same) President is. After all, guns sales have been up in the last few months, as well as huge spending on political attack ads. As Don Saposnek and I wrote in our book Splitting America, the effect of this campaign on the nation will be similar to that in high-conflict divorces – essentially a hate-filled atmosphere that doesn’t fade with the divorce date, and often even escalates afterward.

Congress will be filled with strong opponents who may see as their life mission blocking whatever change the other side wants. Not much is expected to happen during the next two years legislatively.

But what about our nation? What about the future for citizens who don’t want extreme make-overs of America. There’s unlikely to be a mandate – most people would prefer stability and moderation. If there’s any mandate coming from the electorate, it is probably that they are sick and tired of partisan, super-funded campaigns – that last a year or longer.

An article in today’s newspaper by the Associated Press (San Diego Union-Tribune, Nov. 3, 2012) mentioned the passing of the wife in “the longest married couple in America.” Apparently the husband had been in the Nevada state Senate in the 1970’s and 1980’s. His answer to the “key to success in politics or in marriage” was (drum roll………..): “compromise.”

However this election turns out, I think we’re going to have to re-learn their simple message and be the change we want to see in the nation: compromise.

Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, and mediator. He is the co-founder and Training Director of the High Conflict Institute, a training and consultation firm that trains professionals to deal with high conflict people and situations. He is the author of several books and methods for handling high conflict personalities and high conflict disputes with the most difficult people.

About Don Saposnek Donald T. Saposnek, Ph.D. is a clinical-child psychologist, child custody mediator and family therapist in private practice for over 40 years, and is a national and international trainer of mediation and child development.  For the past 35 years, he has been teaching on the psychology faculty at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and is Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.  He is the author of the classic book, Mediating Child Custody Disputes and has published extensively in the professional literature on child custody and child psychology.  He serves on the editorial boards of the Family Court Review and Conflict Resolution Quarterly journals and is the editor of the international Academy of Professional Family Mediators’ The Professional Family Mediator.  As director of Family Mediation Service of Santa Cruz, he managed the family court services for 17 years and has mediated nearly 5,000 child custody disputes in both the public and private sectors since 1977.  For more information about Don Saposnek, please visit:

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