The Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Conventions happen every four years. Two weeks every four years, my husband and I find ourselves and our marriage on the edge of a cliff, where one false word could send the whole thing over. Why? I am a proud black woman and a member of the Democratic Party. Hubs is a very proud white man, and also a card-carrying Republican. This year could have broken us if we didn’t have a few ground rules for our marriage during the conventions.
These rules are not as refined and dignified as they sound. It was not an organized and mutual meeting that created them. Instead, they are evolving reminders that we both have to raise kids, run a household, and still love each other once these damn conventions are over. Essentially, these rules were made out of a desperate attempt to retain our marriage once the political madness is done.
1. We Watch The Conventions In Separate Rooms
One of the first rules made out of mutual respect for the other person, watching the conventions in separate spaces allows both of us the luxury or reacting to the speakers in our own way, without fear of offending the other person. This means that I could yell, “Pence you are a liar liar-face,” throughout the governor’s speech without sparking a bickering match with hubs. It means that he can shout, “Hell yeah,” at every Hillary/Benghazi punchline without me roll my eyes so hard that you could hear it across the room. This is also the way we can view the conventions and go to bed afterwards without anger.
2. We Have A “Safe Word”
This is one of the rules that sort of evolved over 18 years of marriage, and this our sixth convention season. When hubs would get so full of my Democrat crap talk about his party, he says, “Alright,” in a tone that both stops the argument and shows his disgust. I adopted the same way of saying, “alright,” when I got full of his Republican propaganda-speak. This year, that “alright” has become our cease-and-desist safe word to mean that the speaker has gone too far and it’s time to stop the debate. It is a word to signify a stalemate, not a win, a battle to be taken up when the other party regroups at a later date. This year, we honor not just the word, but the tone to keep ourselves from going too far.
3. Fact-Checking Is Legit & Honored
I actually used this to educate hubs about the Black Lives Matter hashtag and why it clashes with the All Lives Matter one. He also used it to make me reluctantly admit to some of Trump’s better qualities. We count ourselves as intellectuals and as such, we honor the facts above all else. If I can prove an argument wrong, like Melania’s plagiarizing First Lady Obama, then whatever his feelings may be, hubs has to honor it and vice versa. This rule keeps our fights fair and our debates somewhat productive. Although, we do sometimes get bogged down in debates over credible sources, but that’s another matter.
4. We Are Always Honest With The Kids
Our biracial children range in age from 19 to 9 months (ages 19, 17, 16, 13, 3, 9 months). We decided that they need to form their own opinions on politics, especially since the oldest two are going to be voting in the upcoming election. This means that hubs had to swallow his pride and discuss the fact that yes, there are racists in the Republican party who are getting more of a voice than they need to have. By the same token, I did have to admit that Hillary’s email scandal was technically against some laws. Answer the kids questions with facts, no propaganda, no party lines and agenda. Them’s the rules. We both find this hard to do, but you best believe the other is keeping tabs, so no cheating.
5. Whatever Happens, We Don’t Let It Intrude On Family
Convention debates and talks take place while in the car driving to the grocery store, while sitting in the living room watching another program, or while on the phone as we commute for work. It never takes place in bed, while watching the little kids play, or over a meal. The latter are sacred family spaces that must be maintained throughout the convention season in order to be intact after the season ends.
Today, I am trolling hubby’s Facebook account with Bring it On gifs spoofing the Melania plagiarism debacle. He is countering with lying Hillary memes. At one point, he threatened to send funds to the Trump campaign. I called his bluff with a promise to pledge double to Hillary. We both know that this is all in fun. Our political leanings are only one part of the person we fell in love with all those years ago. This one part does not define the person, and we will not let it define our marriage.