It was the end of October when my husband and I discovered that we were voting for different candidates in the presidential election.
“I can’t believe you,” he said before abruptly walking away. I knew my usually calm husband was angry. I felt he had just cut me off without really trying to understand my point of view. My feelings were hurt.
The rest of that day and into the next we didn’t talk much. Our usual displays of affection disappeared. He didn’t come up behind me to caress my shoulders and back as I made supper. At bedtime we didn’t cuddle up together and talk about the day’s events before we went to sleep.
Despite our political differences, I made the choice to continue to do things for my husband to show how much I care. For example, I folded a load of laundry even though that’s technically his job. I still loved him after all, and I truly wanted to do things to make life easier for him.
I soon noticed that he was doing the same for me. He cleaned up the kitchen after supper when I was nursing the baby, even though I usually do that. When I was getting a little exasperated because the children continued to look at their screens after I had told them to get ready to go for the millionth time, he emerged from the office to tell them to listen to and respect their mother. I knew he was upset with me, but he was choosing to love me and help me anyway.
Even though the election hadn’t changed our commitment to each other, our relationship still felt strained. We weren’t giving each other the silent treatment, but we weren’t talking much. Neither of us is very good on our feet and we need to time to think about things and formulate our words to better express our thoughts.
I sent him some emails to explain my point of view while he slept next to me. I knew he would read them the following morning. When he did, he responded with his point of view. We sent each other a few more emails and texts despite the fact that could talk to each other face to face because we both work from home. But that’s how we “talked” about it.
In the end, he decided he had acted kind of like a jerk for not giving me the benefit of the doubt. He recognized that I had good reasons for making the choice I did even if he still would choose differently. It made me glad to know that having a disagreement didn’t mean that we stopped loving or showing respect to each other.
The election might be over, but we still talk politics. I know disagreements are inevitable, but our bond is stronger than any political differences that might drive us apart. I’m happy to know that even if tempers flare in the heat of the moment, we will choose to listen to each other and try to understand the other’s point of view.
We can’t always see eye to eye on everything, but we can always choose to show love and respect each other. Just like my husband’s loving actions spoke more loudly to me than his anger, I’m positive our willingness to try to understand each other will speak volumes even as we express disagreement.
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