E02 Political Discourse and Marriage

Episode 02!  Below I discuss the 5 steps that help prevent divorce when Trent and I are discussing current political and social issues.  We are not one in the same politically which results in some interesting discussions.  Most importantly we try to remain respectful and honor one another's individuality.  To do that we try to stick to these 5 rules:

1.  Don't Yell (super hard for me)

2.  Stay on Topic (Trent... this one is particularly for you and your incessant habit of arguing semantics instead of the topic at hand)

3.  No Name Calling - that goes for politicians and pundits as well.  The name calling can become inadvertently (or purposefully) personal far to easily.

4.  Love Timer - seems juvenile, but this works for us.  A timer that forces us to reflect on the conversations, our differences and what brought us together.  There is a world outside of our political views that is beautifully vast and full of culture.  Our politics are not what brought us together - our love and respect for one anther; our personhood did.

5.  Active Listening which is great in any situation.  I could talk for hours on this subject alone and how we have become such a self obsessed species, that we could stand to work on this with everyone in our lives.  Hearing and listening are completely separate and different acts.

How'd we get here?  The Women's March in DC.  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was just a couple weeks ago and Marley was studying key words like protest, picket, character, etc... in his class.  So we were asked as parents to use those words in the house in conversation so the kids could become familiar with them.  Conveniently the Women's march was that following weekend (after we received the email).  Our friends were going to DC, and the kids are very good friends with their children (we carpool and they are the other half of the Woodburn Village - I can't wait to discuss that further) - so it gave me a great opportunity to use these terms.

My husband noticed it on my screen that Saturday morning.  He immediately asked about it and I told him I was explaining it to the kids - in their terms.  His reply 'they asked? or you offered?'.  I explained that we received an email from the teacher and I felt it was a great way to connect with them about the words being used in school.  Also - the kids have been exposed to the political climate as of late through their peers and what has been said in their company (a whole other blog worthy topic on appropriate political discourse with children).

But why shouldn't I be able to talk to them about it?  The smug reply he had was enough to set me off.  And we did.  We debated, we got personal, we threatened our marriage over words and hurt feelings.  Over semantics, miscommunication, hearing but not listening.  We almost destroyed our family through blind passion and anger.  My husband left for work that afternoon with our foundation crumbling - tears in my eyes and fear in my bones.

And then I received this text message.

Beat 5 - my husband is a police officer.  He's had guns pointed at him, been attacked by drug users, dealt with over doses - you get it.  It's dangerous.  I can't stand when things are left like this.  Everyday he goes to work vowing to protect and serve us - our community, you and I, he takes the risk that he may not return home.

I know that seems dark - but it's the truth.  And the fear resting in my bones was just that.  The tears - shame and guilt that I couldn't let my pride down for the brief moment it takes to recognize our differences.  

The beauty in our individually and how much I love that man.  After this exchange we had a very important discussion on how to handle conversations like this in the future.  And then I received this:

pussy hats are the pink knitted caps seen at the Woman's Marches - they are worn to bring feminine solidarity - and I love to knit and yes, my husband knows how to as well.

We decided not to pretend we DON'T have our differences.  We've chosen to embrace our mental autonomy.  To honor our personhood and never, NEVER let one another forget how much they are loved and cherished.  May this be a lesson for all of us.  That we are here, and our actions and words effect one another delivered passively or for purpose.  Take care in these days when the political climate is hot and liberties may be at stake - that our words truly reflect the greater good.

authored by Chelsea Crutcher