Tête-à-tête

Last night, we had a fight. By fight, I mean more of a debate. But there were definitely raised voices, impassioned arguments, a couple of potshots, somebody trying to play devil’s advocate, and lots of you can’t be serious and how can you really think that being thrown around. It revolved around politics, war, immigration, refugees and ethics – Nathan called me naive and idealistic, I called him xenophobic and embittered. We traded heated barbs literally for hours until somebody had to go to the bathroom and two tired puppies reminded us that it was 1am on a school night. We stomped off to bed without any resolution. And by the time we woke up, it had evaporated. The morning was smiles and hugs and co-operation and all good things. Everybody always says that you shouldn’t go to bed angry, but in this instance, sleep gave us both some distance enough to cool down. Some things really do need to be resolved then and there, but not this. I know he’s never going to see things from my point of view on these issues, or vice versa. But in the scheme of things, does it matter? It just doesn’t seem like a fundamental incompatibility to me, or to him – just a difference of opinion, on something that will (hopefully) never directly intrude into our relationship. The fact that we could argue so passionately but stick to attacking the point rather than the person… it was nice. Communication issues seem to be a sticking point for so many people, and although we are far from perfect, it feels good that we can disagree without the world ending.

Basically, I like to hope that everybody is intrinsically good. I believe in things like tolerance, freedom, peace, compassion, presuming innocence, and respecting others’ views and right to choose for themselves as long as it doesn’t infringe on anybody else. I believe we have a responsibility to our fellow humans that transcends artificial constructs like the state, religion and culture. I would have been right at home in the Flower Power era. Nathan is a bit more (I would say) hard-hearted about these things, and thinks I’m being too wide-eyed and simple. Maybe I am, or maybe I just feel like the alternative is assuming the worst in people and always feeling threatened by a menacing ‘other’. I won’t budge and neither will he, but who knows how these worldviews could change in a life-or-death situation. I guess at the core of it, we love each other, and that’s so much bigger than not being opinion twins on everything.

Tonight, we remembered our manners and conversation was much more polite. Amongst other things, we talked about which qualities from each of us we would most like to see in our hypothetical future children. My favourite one: he hoped that our kids would be opinionated like me. Coming from somebody who was in total disagreement with me less than twenty-four hours ago, this meant a lot. He would rather we have strong opinions – even if he disagreed – rather than have none at all. There is selflessness and maturity in that, that I really love – when I add everything together about him, and about him and I together, he is totally worth betting forever on.

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