Dear Sandra

April 9, 2003

Dear Sandra,

My husband’s opinions on the war and the recent outbreak of SARS have made me wonder about the man I married. He believes that this stupid war is justified and acceptable, and that SARS is nothing to worry about. We live in Manitoba, which is right next to the highly infected province of Ontario, and he refuses to wear a mask to protect himself from SARS. I just can’t believe this man, how can he have such unreasonable opinions? What can I do to convince him?

Aggravated in Winnipeg

Dear Aggravated,

Did your marriage vows include, ” I promise to agree with everything my partner says or believes in”? Well, unless he said that in his vows, your husband has the right to express his own opinions and is under no marital obligation to agree with you. I don’t think it’s him that needs to change; I think it’s you.

If we all agreed on the same things, this world it would be a pretty dull place to live. It’s important to realize in any relationship that agreeing to disagree is one of the best ways to keep a relationship intact. Everyone has the right to his or her own opinion. The whole purpose of debating (or if you want to use the technical word, arguing) is to try and convince the other person of your opinions, thoughts, ideas and statements. If you can’t convince the person or they can’t convince you, you agree to disagree. You don’t dwell on what they say or cause an opinion of theirs to interfere with your relationship.

You sound like a control freak. You do not mention anywhere asking your husband to justify his opinions, so I’m assuming he just stated, not explained, his stand on these events to you and you got angry because his stand differed from yours. You need to learn to respect his opinions.

One final note, I personally wouldn’t wear a mask either if I lived in Manitoba right now and I really am not looking forward to the backlash of emails from students complaining about your letter stating that the entire province of Ontario is infected with SARS right now. But you never know, they might just be mature enough to agree to disagree with you???



This column is for entertainment only. Sandra is not a professional counsellor, but is an AU student who would like to give personal advice about school and life to her peers. Please forward your questions to Sandra care of