Is identity more than a name?

“Everybody calls her by her name, even those who don’t know how to say it. I prefer to call her ‘my wife.’ Because nobody else can. The marriage relationship is supposed to be set apart. Different from every other relationship, even the relationship with our kids. So, when I say ‘my wife,’ it is special. It shows she is special to me, and I’m special to her. I love that.”

The excerpt above is taken from a piece written by Jackie Bledsoe (click here to read it in full) and it got me thinking about how I refer to my wife, Candice.

Couple holding hands

Upon reflection, whether I refer to my wife by name or by her relationship to me depends very much on the context of the comments – what I am talking about and with whom. In conversations with mutual friends I tend to use her name, however, with people that don’t know her so well I would generally refer to her by our relationship.

The context of a conversation is more than just the individuals taking part. The culture in which the conversation takes place is also significant.

I recall an interview with a Christian jazz musician who, because of the connotations in the culture in which he worked, always introduced his wife by saying, “This is my girlfriend – we’ve been married for X years.” There’s something about that that I like. It has the ring of a relationship that is young, fresh and exciting. But having said that, I won’t be adopting the practice.

In my experience, too many people have negative attitudes towards their spouse, referring to “the wife” in a derogatory way, as though she were a kill-joy that they’d be better off without. That is so sad.

Yes, my wife is my girlfriend, but not only that; she is my best friend and the one to whom I have committed myself for the rest of our lives. So in this respect I am completely in agreement with Jackie – My wife is the most special person in the world and however I refer to her it will be with the utmost respect.

So, ladies and gentlemen, what about you?
How do you refer to your spouse?
Have you even given it any thought?

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *