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One Spouse Wants To Get The Vaccine But The Other Doesn't. Now What?

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Sep 16 2021

When Couples Disagree About Getting Vaccinated

What a year we have just been through.  When I stop and think about it, it is crazy that a virus basically shut down the entire world.  My husband is a big fan of doomsday fiction and always tells me that it wouldn’t take much to completely break down our infrastructure.  I always tell him he’s full of it and then COVID happened, and everything came to a complete halt.  I was amazed at how a disease effected the world and how we are still seeing the effects with closed businesses, low product inventory and supply chain issues.

It has been a challenging time for everyone with working from home, virtual schools, limited social interaction, no travel, wearing masks and being cooped up with your immediate family for an extended time.  Mentally, socially and physically COVID has taken its toll on people.  As vaccines have been made available across the country for almost everyone it seemed as if there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  This has brought on new strife amongst couples, families and friends who have differing opinions on getting the COVID vaccine.

We have heard from couples who are in a standstill because one got the vaccine and the other is adamant about not getting it.  At wits end they wonder if it is going to cause a divorce for a marriage that they thought was happy and strong.  The same applies to extended family and friends when some get the vaccine and others do not, it is causing relationships to end.

The Vaccine Debate

To get the vaccine or not has become a polarizing topic amongst a lot of people.  It used to be to not talk about religion or politics at the dinner table but now throw in the COVID vaccine.  However, unlike the other topics, not being vaccinated could end a marriage, friendship, or family bond.

What is at the heart of the matter?  There is one side that is all in for being vaccinated and want to protect themselves and others from getting and spreading the virus.  They have the viewpoint that it is the best way to get past all of this and resume a normal life.  On the other side there are those that are hesitant to get the vaccine for various reasons.  Some feel it was rushed and there hasn’t been enough testing, others feel they are healthy and do not need it, some believe conspiracy theories, some feel it isn’t safe and some just don’t want to get it.

Both sides feel very strongly about their opinions, and both come from a place of fear and the unknown.  But what to do when this debate is going on in your home? 

Communicate Effectively

The COVID vaccine is a hot topic and emotions run high when it is discussed between people with differing opinions.  When you and your spouse feel differently about getting vaccinated it is extremely stressful and can lead to fights, resentment, isolation and sometimes even divorce.  When discussing vaccination with your spouse communicating effectively is vital.  Approach the conversation with an open-mind and be willing to really listen to their viewpoint.

Shaming the other person or attacking them is not going to work.  Think about how you want to be heard.  How would you respond if you felt as if your partner was attacking you or trying to make you feel guilty for your opinion?  That is not a conducive way to have a conversation.  Have goals for the conversation and don’t go into it with the goal of ‘winning’ the argument.  You are not trying to make your spouse see how wrong they are, you are trying to understand them and be understood in return.

In communicating with others, especially in a contentious debate, listening is important.  Really listen and do so with compassion and understanding.  Remember that they feel just as strongly about their stance as you do about yours.  Let them talk, without interrupting, and when they finish let the know how you feel.  Acknowledge their feelings on it without being condescending or negative.  If things get heated or accusatory, pause the conversation and take a few minutes for everyone to calm down.

Agree to Disagree

If a resolution cannot be found, you may have to agree to disagree.  How does this work if you are married?  You will have to set boundaries that will be put in place.  If you are vaccinated and your spouse isn’t you may have to say that you will only be around them with a mask and social distancing.  OK, so this is hard when it is the person you live with, and you share a bed.  You will both have to agree with what each can live with in the marriage.

Unfortunately, this is leading to some couples deciding to divorce.  When feelings are so strong and one or the other won’t budge it becomes a deal breaker.  Those on the side of being vaccinated can feel as if their heath and safety is endangered when their partner refuses to be vaccinated, leaving them with few options when it comes to the marriage.

Wherever you stand on the vaccination debate, if you and your spouse disagree, Florida Women’s Law Group can help you as you try to work through it.  We are here to provide legal advice and assistance you may need.   At Florida Women’s Law Group, we represent women just like you to help you get through this and onto a better and happier life.

Florida Women’s Law Group