Here is my radio interview with Susan Knight of Calgary’s up!97.7 FM today:
Today is Election Day in the USA. And in all my years as an adult, I cannot remember an election that was this close and this divisive. As duel citizens, my husband and I have been watching it carefully and debating the options. Although we have lived most of our marriage in Canada, we care deeply about the impact the next President will make on our friends and relatives down in the States.
Because we have lived in numerous countries, traveled extensively and worked for international organizations, the perspectives that Eric and I have on the world, and thereby the elections, have changed over the years. The people we were 20 years ago are not the people we are today. The choices we make today are a reflection of our own observations in life, not just the political ideology we were taught as children. That is a good thing, I believe. However, in the process of this continuing metamorphosis, we do not always reach the same conclusions at the same times – and this often leads to lively debates.
I clearly remember having an in-depth conversation about politics with Eric, and the discussion was on the brink of turning into a full-on fight. All of a sudden, out of the blue, it struck me that I didn’t have to change him. I could love him deeply and respect him fully without demanding that he clone my beliefs and perspectives. We could agree to disagree and still be lovers and partners in life.
I believe that the ability to respect your spouse, without expecting him to agree with everything you think or feel, is foundational to a good marriage. In fact, lively debate can be productive as long as it does not devolve into criticism, contempt or defensiveness. There is no way that you are going to live with one person for the rest of your life and agree with absolutely everything she believes. It just won’t happen. But, if you can respect your spouse as an individual with different thoughts, perspectives, opinions and beliefs and love him anyways, that is the sign of true companionship. That will last the test of time.
I think that Eric and I are on the same page at this point of our lives (he never showed me his absentee ballot, so I cannot be fully certain), but even if we aren’t, it’s ok. Even if he voted for the “other guy,” we can have peace. Politics, it turns out, are good practice for the other areas in our marriage where we aren’t clones either.