My husband and I both agree that the current presidential election is a travesty, but for some reason that hasn’t stopped us from countless heated discussions on the subject. This is not our normal. While I am undoubtedly the type of person who loves to sink my teeth into a lively debate on most any topic, my husband is not. When we first got together, he was shocked at the rousing conversations around my family’s dinner table on any given night. Ever the polite WASP, he was silent about just how horrified he really was.
But there is something different happening in our home right now. Maybe it’s the fact that our kids are a bit older so they are also aware of presidents and political parties. Maybe it’s how we have evolved over the years from a more conservative take toward a more middle or even liberal one, or maybe it’s just that the most media-exposed candidate is an orange-tinted reality star. Whatever the reason, we are stressed. And we’re not quiet about it, either.
My husband and I really don’t fight — I could not possibly recall the last time we had an actual disagreement beyond a sentence or two. That sounds boring to some people, but the truth is, we just get along really well. We went through some growing pains when our first child was a baby, but in spite of some touch-and-go moments as we sorted out our new parenting roles, we came out the other side of that brilliantly. My husband is the kind of guy who makes the lunches in the morning, lets me sleep in a bit and brings me a cup of coffee, even though he got up with the baby too. He’s that awesome. And that easy-going. Nothing gets him worked up enough for arguing.
Nothing apparently, except for the host of The Apprentice.
Last week as the two of us were headed to Target, my poor 5-year-old, squeaking from her car seat behind the passenger seat, implored, “Guys! Stop fighting!” as we were in the middle of an exasperated venting session about all of the foolishness. Somewhere in-between my high-pitched strains about Mexico and walls and Ohio, and my husband interjecting his thoughts regarding steelworkers and the disenfranchised, my tiny poppet decided she couldn’t stand it any longer and felt the need to step in.
“We’re not fighting, sweetie, promise!” I assured her. “We’re just having a discussion!” The words made me snicker, because while we really weren’t fighting, that’s precisely what my parents said when they were fighting with one another.
“Errrr, it sure sounds like fighting to me!” she replied, skeptically, her tiny hands twisting back and forth to further signify her disappointment and distrust.
My husband told her that we were just talking about the president, and who would be the next president, and why we wanted to talk about boring grown up stuff like this, so she needn’t be alarmed. For the moment, we set the whole conversation aside, put on the 5-year-old’s favorite record, Sia’s “1000 Forms of Fear,” and had a dance party instead of a “discussion” for the rest of our errand.
When I think about how stressed my husband and I are about this whole election, I can only be grateful that we are on the same side of the issues and candidates. Given my penchant for loud debate, no good in our marriage could come from disagreeing this election cycle. In the past, while we’ve voted for opposing candidates for the presidency, we both respected each other’s choices even if we ultimately disagreed. This time, there’s something ultimately unifying about a common enemy; yet, it feels more stressful than when we actually disagreed.
For anyone who might be married to someone that is an avid supporter of the presumptive Republican nominee, may the odds be ever in your favor.