What’s in a Name?

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

July 18th, 2009

So I am at an after-work work function yesterday and some guy is talking about his wife, then another person (a woman I know) asks me who the guy is that’s listed as one of my contacts on LinkedIn…and I say without thinking…”oh, that’s my husband.”

I’ve actually never called him “my husband” before. Usually, I say “my partner”. But “husband” popped out of my mouth quite unexpectedly.

There was a pregnant pause as the woman and guy “digested” what I’d said. They weren’t mean or anything, but it was just awkward enough that I felt kind of sad and irritated all at once. I quickly recovered with “You know, I mean, my partner.” And the conversation continued.

But I’m still thinking about it two days later and I’m wondering, what is so unnerving to people for me to talk about having a husband? Sometimes when I refer to him as “my partner”, people ask me if I’m in business with him. What’s the right ”label” for him that’s not going to make America squirm in its collective lawn chair?

I realize it’s one of those things that’s not a big deal. We’ll get by, and keep loving each other, and paying the mortgage, and feeding the hound, no matter what I call him, or people at work call us, or the government calls us.

But, sometimes, when I’m resting in my own back yard Adirondack chair, smelling the neighbor’s grill smoke wafting like summer’s bounty through the dusky evening, thinking about how blessed we all are and how grateful I am to share my life with this man…sometimes I realize that it’s a very big deal.

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