By Julia Arnold of Frantic Mama
Don’t worry, I’m not contributing to the incessant Internet ranting. I’m not ripping anyone to shreds here. I won’t be telling you who I voted for, and I won’t tell you which party I affiliate with.
I’m tired of the intense wave of negativity flooding social media.
(For the record, I didn’t “hate” either candidate. Like we teach our children, hate is a strong word. I reserve it for truly horrible people who hurt children and/or murder people. I don’t hate someone trying to run for president. I’m not going to use it hypocritically right under my kids’ noses.)
Anyway, when I met my husband back in college, we found ourselves on very opposite sides of the political spectrum. You would think our relationship was doomed from the start, but it wasn’t. We’ve now been married for 9 years and together for 15. We still disagree about certain political decisions, especially when it comes to social issues and constitutional amendments.
But do we fight like cats and dogs and “hate” each other for holding opposing views? No.
During and after the recent election, I’ve thought a lot about how politics impacts our relationship and here’s what I’ve decided: while it would certainly be easier to agree on everything on the ballot, we wouldn’t have learned or grown nearly as much as we have over the past decade or so if we did.
Being forced to snuggle up on the couch with someone who on the surface appears to have completely different political views forces you to ask questions and learn– and most important, listen. There is so little listening going on in the world.
I think my husband is smart and educated, and hopefully he thinks the same of me. Seeing an intelligent person whom you love in action, defending their views, makes you think much harder. It humanizes the ‘other side,’ and it also makes us look at ways to support our own beliefs or perhaps even question them. Something I think would do us all some good.
More than anything, I think what helps us stay relatively afloat is that underneath it all, my husband and I do share the same priorities and values — the value of family and hard work, the importance of keeping people safe, and the necessity of a good education. We just sometimes think different paths will get us there.
Plus, a roomful of interesting people who all agree with each other can quickly spiral into a roomful of holier-than-thou know-it-alls. No, thanks.
Politics won’t be wrecking my marriage anytime soon. Our situation has made me more open-minded and less judgmental. I hope my husband feels the same way. Politics shouldn’t be based on constantly trying to change someone’s mind to agree with you; to me, it’s about opening up our own minds.
My marriage has made me look at things through more than one lens, and I feel lucky for that opportunity. And underlying and despite all of it, I can always admire how passionate my husband is in his beliefs.