Another blog! Obvs.
Welcome to the inaugural post of Third Wave Wife, a blog dedicated to exploring the contradictory nature of being a raging, patriarchy-smashing, feminist in an oh so privileged, hetero-normative marriage.
Anyway, let’s kick this thing off with a relevant topic: I hate the word “wife.” This might seem odd considering my choice of titles.
In general I bristle at the idea of being identified by my marital status and wife, especially, seems to imply faceless women standing behind their men. Growing up in an extremely religious community it was a badge of honor, but also a finish line; like a first lady, with inherent responsibilities but shielded from any real risk or consequences. Even when I was fanatically conservative (and I was fanatical) I knew being a wife meant being a support beam; a coat rack with a smart suit dress, a choir director.
The ol’ ball and chain and I are equals. A unit. From the beginning we used to say, “you take care of me and I’ll take care of you.” We are partners. We split bills. We go dutch. We split cat-feeding duties. I am no man’s “wife.”
Plus it sounds old. So old.
So, what then? Partner? People assume business. Or gay, and though I have no objections to being thought of as gay, it doesn’t seem honest. Mate? Too animal kingdom. Love? Too sappy. Lover? TMI. Significant Other? I mean, who’s going to say that on a regular basis? Better half? Just writing that made me gag.
The thing about labels is that, despite every ex-Midwestern, ironic t-shirt wearing, pseudo-spiritual person’s objections, we need them. ‘Cause, you know, humans communicate through language. And we can sit here and explain that, “this is the person with whom my heart is bound by love, a deep spiritual connection, and a legal agreement, but who is also my equal and an individual in her own right with separate but just as important aspirations and dreams,” or you can say, “hey, this is my wife” and we can keep drinking our cheap beers and discussing the merits of Whedon’s Astonishing X Men. And sometimes we have to take things that have terrible baggage and make them our own. Like marriage.
So there you go. I’m embracing “wife.” It’s ugly and has an ugly past, but things evolve. I’m reclaiming it. I’m putting on my wife badge and proudly declaring that I can be happily married and still fight for truth, justice, and the feminist way. Now, excuse me while I go order delivery, like the selfless, angel of domesticity I am.