Friday, August 27, 2010

Why don't I just say nothing at all? Part One: Jordan and me

When I began dating a cute, conservative southern boy in college, we had some interesting conversations about politics. They frequently ended in sarcasm and scowls and arms folded across chests. I remember talking about this with my mom one night, and she told me that discussing politics made for "strange bedfellows." Something like that, anyway, which her mother had told her and which meant that it's a bad idea to discuss politics with romantic partners because it starts fights. Well, when I feel strongly about something it's really hard for me not to discuss it with the one person I love the most. I continued to start discussions with Jordan, and instead of not talking about politics at all, we learned to be nicer about it. The other night we stayed up past midnight discussing the "ground zero mosque" and still went to bed and cuddled.

So what, you may ask, do I have to show for six or seven years of debating politics with my husband when I could have just left it alone? We've learned from each other and currently have what I see as a more thoughtful, unified view--although sometimes we do disagree. He's gone from calling himself conservative, and a Republican, to identifying as an independent. As a teenager he once volunteered for Joe Wilson's campaign. (You know the one, right? YOU LIE!!!) But now his political views are "moderate." (It's Facebook official!) He is quite knowledgeable about history and politics, not to mention the Bible, so he is a cool guy to talk to. Besides, it's a low-risk atmosphere for debate. If one of us says something stupid, there's no need to feel embarrassed because we already know everything about one another. (To be clear, I have no problem with conservative views in general. What I don't like is when people subscribe to a laundry list of opinions without researching and thinking about each one, just because it's the general view of their party. In short, I'm all for using our brains and hearts, and that's what Jordan and I are doing when we discuss things.)

What's harder is dealing with people who are not Jordan.

I originally posted more here, but decided to divide something so emotionally big into two parts. Part Two coming soon!


Stephanie Precourt said...

I know this very well! I used to avoid talking to my husband about such things but found we became so much closer by being able to talk with civility and know what we really felt or believed, without trying to convince the other!