Sunday, April 27, 2008

A House Divided... Stands Just Fine

I got a comment the other day asking, "How can you and JP have such a good relationship with such differing political views?" and since I'd imagine most of you are tired of reading about my tiredness, I figured I'd respond. Yes, JP and I have different political views- on some issues, very different political views- but living together in peace, love, and general harmony is really not that hard. People disagree on all kinds of things; I don't think there's a couple out there who agrees on everything. And while politics can be more incendiary than some topics, it hasn't caused any fires for us yet (though there has been smoke).

Politics is actually a shared passion and hobby for us, and I'd much rather be married to someone who loves it and disagrees with me than someone who is ambivalent. I love that he always comes home wanting to talk about some news story he read and I love that we email articles back and forth during the day. Both of our beliefs are based in facts and research, and we can - and do - defend them on a regular basis. His disagreement makes me smarter. Sometimes I modify my views, sometimes he changes his, but most of them time we hold on with more strength and surety after a good debate.

We agree on the social issues I feel strongest about, the ones which I do have a hard time seeing the other side of (like being pro-choice and stem cell research and against things like the defense of marriage act). We disagree on all kinds of other things, among them our choice of presidential candidate. I admit that after a night of staying up hours too late, determined to convince the other of the the rectitude of our own position, I have thought about how nice it would be if he just agreed with me (I've never thought it would be easier if I agreed with him ;). But because we don't make the debates personal or turn them into attacks of character, I really enjoy them. Passion in a marriage is good thing. Before the 2008 presidential campaign started up, we were agreeing on so much it kind of got boring (one thing I can thank the Bush administration for is uniting us in our shared loathing).

We've never had an argument (or even a difference of opinion) about finances or children. He is unfailingly supportive of my career and doesn't consider any household duty to be "my" job. On our second date when I told him I wanted to work after having children (it was a very big deal to me and I grew up in a lovely suburb that led me to think I was quite radical in that desire), he looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, well, of course, why wouldn't you? That mattered more to me than who he voted for in the previous election. He loves my family and is an amazing father. Tonight when Landon threw up little pieces of carrot and noodle all over the living room floor, JP stripped him, handed him to me for a bath, and spent 45 minutes cleaning all the pukey pieces out of the carpet, the tray, and even used a q-tip to get to the insides of the legs of the high chair. In short, I adore him, even if his views on immigration occasionally make me want to tear my hair out.

Our debates are based in love and mutual respect, and while life would sometimes be easier if we just agreed on foreign policy, I look forward to a future of defending my political beliefs. And I hope that our kids grow up reading, asking questions, and joining in what I imagine will be spirited dinner table conversations.


  1. You guys sound like a wonderful couple... and always have (I started reading during The Nightmare).

  2. What a great post! He really does sounds like your perfect match. I think a lot of the divide in politics nationwide is the result of people stubbornly clinging to their position without listening rationally to the other side. I have found that I usually have a lot more common ground with people after we take politics issue by issue rather than registered party. It shows maturity and intelligence to be able to debate issues and have a position that is truly your own, not just what a national party preaches. Landon is so lucky to be able to grow up in such a politically conscious household!

  3. I like this post. Some of my best friends are people whose political views are radically different from my own. Like you said, as long as you agree on most of the very incendiary issues, you'll get along just fine.

  4. This is a really encouraging post. My boyfriend and I have recently fallen into a slump of agreeing too much. What you describe is exactly what we need (though it might not be about politics.)

  5. That is awesome. People all across the country need to learn what you two have learned/are experiencing. The country would be such a nicer place if people could live with respect for each other's political views and not take it all so personally.

    That's great that you two share a passion and that you learn from each other.

  6. I got such a kick out of watching you two debate when you came to visit in was heated but totally rational. I was just laughing the whole time...because I of course side with you on many arguments, so it was fun to see JP defend himself against us.

    My parents used to be very different in their opinions like you two are, so I can say that I agree with these other folks that have said Landon [and your other future children] are lucky that they have you as role models...the respect for differences and encouragement to find your own opinion is an extremely valuable lesson...whether politics, religion, etc.

  7. A supportive husband is extremely important. As long as you agree on the big things the other disagreements just keep life interesting.

  8. yet another reason why I like you so much! you, like a very small handful of my friends, tolerate my conservative leanings without calling me too many nasty names. ;)
    But I love that you two have such witty discussions about politics. While Justin and I tend to have very similar views, there are a few we differ on and thankfully we don't want to hurt each other over them (and he's even defended me to his ultra-lib sister...and it was something he didn't agree with me about). It's so wonderful to have someone who can agree to disagree with you, and learn from each other.