When the U.S. elections revealed that Donald Trump would be the next President, I sat and sobbed while my husband comforted me and rubbed my back with one hand. With the other hand, he was tweeting celebratory and congratulatory messages to those who had put Trump into power.
Even though we are Australian, we knew the effects of this American election would reach our shores. For my husband, this revelation brought great joy. I, however, found it a heavy burden to bear.
So I cried -- not because I thought Clinton would have done great things for the American people, and in turn, the rest of the world, but because as a feminist and an advocate of woman's rights, I was terrified by what it meant for women all over the globe that such a person could be elected President of the most powerful nation in the Western world.
When it comes to our social and political opinions, we disagree vehemently on almost every topic.
And my husband was celebrating, not because he thought Trump was a good or decent man, but because he believed that he was going to generate a degree of change which would have universal benefits, on everything from global economic growth to better national border protection.
When it comes to our social and political opinions, we disagree vehemently on almost every topic. Our views oppose to the point where I have often wondered how we have come out of these arguments without physical wounds, so scathing and indignant are our beliefs.
After the election of President Trump, I was upset for many days. My husband could simply not understand what on earth could be so distressing.
He tried, he asked questions, he listened as I raged. But how could he, a man for whom this Administration signalled the hope and change that he was optimistic would reach our Australian shores, possibly understand?
How could he understand what it felt like to know that women everywhere had just been told that their bodily autonomy, their personal and sexual safety, was not as important as the influence of a rich, old man?
How could he understand the fear I had, knowing that so many would now think that assaulting a woman was okay? That it was allowed? How could he understand how much more danger women everywhere were now in, how small and irrelevant and unimportant we now felt. How much we felt we simply did not matter.
How could I explain how vulnerable I felt?
I couldn't. But I tried. And he tried to understand. And we went round and round in circles. Him, unable to see the human element of my arguments. Me, unable to see the "greater good" in his convictions.
Our days began to look a little like this:
8.00 am: Eat breakfast together, discuss plans for the day.
8.04 am: She throws pan on floor while screaming about why most recent cabinet appointments are abhorrent.
10.30 am: Share cup of tea and watch child play outside.
10.37 am: He storms away while muttering about his wife's inability to understand that it is not, in fact, possible to accept every single refugee into the country.
1.15 pm: Take walk along the beach; hold hands.
1.24 pm: She tries to push him into the ocean when he begins ranting about the ignorance of the Women's March protesters.
4.05 pm: Take a drive together.
4.10 pm: He raises voice that she just needs to listen when he is trying to explain the necessity of border protection and she is yelling loudly over the top of him.
6.30 pm: Sit down to dinner.
6.33 pm: She throws herself face down into her food when he simply refuses to understand that women's rights as human rights are actually just as important as our country's economic growth.
So how do people who so strongly disagree with values they each hold onto so strongly, make a marriage work?
We look deeper than the arguments. We look at each other... at the passionate, committed humans that we are and we find gratitude in being married to someone who cares so much.
Although we may not agree on what we think political leaders should be investing their energy into, we do agree on supporting one another.
When the fire of the argument subsides and we are left with only the smouldering embers, we kiss. We smile. We tell each other something we really value about the other person.
Because although we may not agree on what we think political leaders should be investing their energy into, we do agree on supporting one another -- listening to each other's views, defending one another when someone turns against us, continuing to talk to each other.
We might be fighting different battles, but we know we are facing the same war.
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