I received a late night SOS text from a friend who had just had a steaming argument with her partner of 5 years about same-sex marriage.
They’d never discussed it before, because it’s not particularly relevant to them but she was shocked to find him so vehemently anti marriage between two people of the same sex.
Shocked is actually an understatement. She was horrified.
Who is this guy she’s in love with? How could her kind, loving, open minded guy be so WRONG?
Could she get past this?
When you can’t agree with your partner because their opinion is cringeworthy it can feel like a bit of a biggie. I was totally in her court, but instead of jumping in and bad mouthing him for his beliefs I admitted something I had been keeping a secret.
I’m dating a Liberal.
Don’t judge me.
I’m not especially politically minded, but I do know that the Liberal Party and I do not hold many similar beliefs and our current government have disappointed me more times than Santa. Mind you, Labor is also shameful so really we’re in big trouble, anyhoo…..
Although we’ve been friends for 10 years, my guy and I had never discussed politics, and it was on one of our very early dates that it all came out over a brewskie.
I was perturbed.
We didn’t agree on anything political; most heatedly – asylum seekers. He’s such an emotionally intellegent, smart, well-read dude, how could he possibly have it so wrong?
He suggests it’s because he’s a realist and I’m an idealist, but I just think he’s a big meanie and I want to save the world, naturally….but I realised that day that we needed to create a conversational no-go zone to be avoided at all costs.
It’s not the asylum seekers, per se, that we argue about but the fact that allowing them right of passage encourages the black market enterprise which is people smuggling. He’s not anti-asylum seekers, but greedy, cavalier, and ruthless people smugglers really get his goat.
I argue for the humans, desperate for a chance of living in peace.
It’s a complicated subject.
(To be honest, it might actually be two different arguments but it seems like one but who cares because I’m right and he’s totally wrong)
After I admitted this to my friend I gave it all some more thought.
Do we need to have all the same views as our partners?
Of course not.
Fundamentally, you’d bloody hope you agree on most things because if you’re butting heads all the time it gets fairly boring, but as long as you agree on the important stuff that is directly relevant to your lives, then everyone is entitled to their own views.
Even if they’re wrong.
I threw it to my Facebook peeps and I got heaps of responses. I especially loved these two-
“Mine (husband) is a cringeworthy redneck. Hates cats, boat people and gay marriage – then will come out with some on-point, emotionally intelligent insight that floors me. I think that’s worse because he’s obviously got the smarts. We argue but it’s mostly productive debate. We agree on some big stuff too, though, so it all evens out.”
“My hubby and I have different views but we agree to disagree except when it comes to the kids then I am afraid we argue it out he likes sport it bores me so we have different television sets life can be interesting but he is a great bloke and I am a dynamite woman so life is good.”
Basically, if you fear your partners views are cringeworthy, maybe mention that while you respect their opinion you’d die of shame if they voiced them in certain situations and try to come to a compromise. Even cringeworthy opinions have a right to life, but keeping them contained may help your social life.
I brought up the people smuggling issue again the other night, to see if after all of these months we can talk about it like grown ups. We can’t.
Our irreconcilably different views on the matter escalated into the closest thing we’ve ever had to an argument after about 45 seconds, and my voice was raised and I was about to be unkind. So I said drop it.
The point is, you don’t always have to agree, but then you don’t always have to be right. So let it go.
It more important to be kind than it is to be right.
Do you agree to disagree on anything major in your relationship?