This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/challenging/amazing things. This is the story of Lauren, her boyfriend, and their ideological (and political) differences.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi! My name is Lauren. I am 23 years old and I am from a small, conservative town in the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area. I now currently live in San Francisco and commute to Berkeley as a program manager for the YMCA. I love being able to work with teens from all different socioeconomic backgrounds and watch them discover who they are and what they want to be when they grow up. In my free time, I love to listen to live music, discover delicious foods in all flavors, watch Netflix TV show marathons, get outdoors, and explore my beautiful city!
How did you meet your boyfriend?
I was minding my own business in church one Sunday when I looked over to my right and spotted a cute boy I had never seen before. We sat together for the next hour chatting, he asked for my number when church was done, and the rest is history!
When did you discover that you had different political ideologies?
On our first date! We are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly known as "Mormon"). One of the first things he asked was if I was going to vote for Mitt Romney this November. I told him, "No, actually. But he seems like a great person." He laughed a little, said, "Good for you!” and gave me a fist pound. I wasn't fooled though. He is a white male that works in finance. I knew we weren't playing for the same team!
How often do your political differences come up? How do you deal with them?
They come up almost daily. With the current election so close it's hard to NOT talk about it. Although we don’t see eye to eye on everything, we DO know that the real reason we work together is because of our shared religious beliefs. When you both believe in what the purpose of this life is, where we are headed after, and what we need to do in order to get there…it makes things like tax policy seem trivial in the grand scheme of it all.
Are there any issues that you've had to declare off-limits for discussion?
Not that we have encountered...yet! There have been some very “colorful” discussions that end with one of us loudly declaring, “I LOVE YOU!!!” Then we laugh and change the subject.
Are there any issues that you think your boyfriend is totally, 100% wrong about?
He once told me, "I'll vote for anyone that says they want to abolish all taxes. Capitalism at its finest, babe." I think this speaks for itself...
How do your friends and family react to your relationship?
I don’t think they are too surprised. Our friends and family are a mixed bag of beliefs and ideals. He’s caught some flack from his friends for dating “a raging liberal.” And I have had the same with someone who “hasn’t experienced real life.” Regardless of what they say, in the end they are both happy that we have found someone that we love.
If you have kids together, how will you answer their questions about things like immigration, abortion, gay marriage, etc? What most people don’t know about members of our church is that we are taught from a very young age that it is important to gain knowledge and understanding of all things for ourselves. We are encouraged to search and ponder about anything we are questioning. It can be small, “what should I do about this boy I am dating?” to larger and more serious, “is God even real?” We want our children to follow this same pattern. All we can do is show them unconditional love whatever their beliefs may be.
Any advice for other two-party couples?
Remember why you are together. Remember the things that you like and love about one another. Is it how he serenades you to cheesy 90’s pop punk songs? Or when he gives you a wink across the room? Does he help you to become the person you want to be? Remember, and more importantly, CHOOSE to embrace the things that you have in common and put aside the politics for a night. Or a week. Or forever :)
Are any of you dating or married to someone who belongs to a different political party? Or is very ideologically different than you? How do you deal with it?
original images (without text on top) by Animal Fancy, for sale here.