Ask Marwa: #Jan25 Political Discussion Victim
Date posted: May 18, 2011
I really need your help; this might be the first time for you to receive such problem. My husband and I are happily married for 8 years now and we are getting along very well, but recently after the 25th of January revolution, things are getting s intense between the two of us; his political views are vastly different from my own. We could not discuss elections, domestic policy, the constitution, or any political subject without turning each other and ourselves into yelling, red-faced ogres. I recently really feel that our political differences will be the reason for our breakup; I can say that the way in which we addressed these differences certainly poisoned our love. In our discussions we were stubborn, argumentative, dismissive and downright mean. I decided then to avoid talking with him about any political issues, but still he triggers me and tries to engage me into discussions I don’t want to go through. That Relationship taught me a lot about how not to talk about politics with a loved one. I felt that those debates affected our relationship tremendously and made us fall out of love. Please help.
Dear Political Discussion Victim
This is indeed the first time I receive such a problem:) I wonder how the two of you managed to keep such differences bottled up and shoved down for 8 years! Political opinions are not separable from any other opinion in life in general and in a relationship in particular; opinions about where to spend money, how to raise kids, how to discipline kids, where to go on vacation, the role of women, the role of men, the overall outlook on authority and authority figures, and your personal code of ethics – all of those opinions and views are an extension – or a reflection – of your political views.
For example, if a man sympathizes with former president Mubarak and is pro-stability at the price of freedom is bound to be a little dictator at his own household and demands respect and gratitude from his family no matter how oppressive he is – just because he puts food on the table. If a woman is pro-Mubarak and his regime, then this woman would not mind having an abusive husband as long as he takes care of the bills. She is most likely to care more about social norms and decorum than about her own sense of worth and pride.
Someone who is pro-Mubarak will raise kids who are taught to obey and never to question their all-knowing parents; whereas an anti-Mubarak parent is more likely to appreciate freedom of choice and freedom of expression when it comes to bringing up kids.
This is why I am surprised that the two of you managed to keep your different approaches to life in the dark that long and that far.
Now your options are
- Start your own revolution
- Give in and give up
Of course you know that starting your own revolution will come at a price – basically the loss of stability in your family! If you look at your different political views as a reflection of how incompatible you are, then you will have to fix this situation by rebelling against it – this can lead to divorce! Toppling your husband! Starting over! Purging your life! This is want a revolution is all about after all.
Option two also comes with a price; you maintain your marital life and “stability” but choose to be silent forever! You will only enjoy the amount of freedom your husband allows you, you will only choose from the options he approves of, and you will only express opinions that do not push his buttons.
The two options will not only impact you, they will also impact your kids. With the first option, your kids might not understand the reason you “rebelled against” their father. But if they did, and if they appreciated freedom as much as you do, then this would be a miracle. With the second option, your kids might blame you for the rest of your life for being passive and submissive or they might enjoy the stable family life in our patriarchal society. How your kids react depends on how you bring them up and how similar or different they turn out when compared to you or their father.