i didn't marry my husband

I try to avoid calling Dan "my husband."   Not because he's not, or that I don't love being married to him, but because he's so much more than that one word has the ability to communicate. And truly, husband is only one small role that he plays in my life. He is so much more than "my husband" and to refer to him as just "my husband" doesn't do justice to who he is as a human. Dan isn't my husband. He's kindhearted, brilliant, hilarious, brave, adventurous. He's a friend, a son, a lover, a musician, a cook, a brewer, a business man, maybe someday: a father. Dan is not my husband. He is an incredible human being who was carefully crafted by an infinite God, and it does him no justice to call him simply "my husband."  I don't like the ownership that it places over him.  Truly he is my husband, not anyone else's husband, but he's not mine.  I don't own him.  He is a person independent of our relationship.  He has friends, family, interests outside of our marriage.  It is true that we belong to one another in a way that is deep, spiritual, and life altering, but this doesn't give me ownership over his personhood.

This isn't to say that I never call him my husband.  We are married and it's a clarifying adjective to explain our relationship.  But he is "Dan, my husband" not, "my husband, Dan.  Husband is an adjective, not a noun.  Dan is who he is, not "husband."  I don't love my husband.  I love Dan.  Perhaps this distinction feels unnecessary or that I'm getting caught up in the details of semantics too much.  But I feel that by constantly reminding myself that I'm married to a human being, not the role of husband, I am forced to approach our marriage honestly.  Husband has so much tied to it.  What a husband should do, what society's idea of husband is, what other husbands are like, what other husbands do.  By taking my focus away from all that by eliminating the word entirely, I'm forced to be married to only Dan, not any of those other ideas of husbands.

I should clarify that this usually doesn't bother me in regular "IRL" conversations, it seems like people typically refer to their significant others by their given name, not their title.  I have no problem using "husband" to describe Dan's relation to me in my daily conversations with people I meet.  I had initially written some of that first paragraph on Facebook and a friend responded, "Maybe 'Husband' is meant to mean all that."  And I think she's right.  I realized I'm more referring to seeing this word in online contexts (facebook, blogs, etc.) It doesn't really bother me when I hear it in person, but online I quite often see people constantly referring to "my husband" (or wife) but never even say what that person's name is. There's no sense that the writer acknowledges their husband/wife's existence outside of their relationship as a spouse (Though I suspect that in some cases this is to protect their spouse's privacy, or perhaps the newlywed excitement of getting used to the new title).

Personally, I'm not one for pet names and generally avoid gratuitous PDA, so I'm just not the kind of girl who enjoys using descriptors like "hubby" or "wifey" in the first place.  This isn't to say that people who do get enjoyment out of that or feel loved when those terms of endearment/titles are used are wrong or terrible people or anything.  When it comes to sharing life online, though, I want to be intentional about words.  I want to communicate first that Dan is an amazing person, completely separate of his relationship to me.  It's because he's so incredible that I don't want to relegate him to the cookie cutter mold of "husband."

It's a shame that sometimes words lose their deep meaning in lieu of knee jerk instant associations.  I think about words like "liberal" "conservative" "Christian" "religion" and more, which have lost much of their true depth to stereotypes and easy definitions.  Husband and wife often have that same problem, maybe not so much in our daily conversations, but definitely on blogs and social media.  It's easy to write people as two dimensional, even yourself.  But I love Daniel.  He's not on the blog a ton, but when he is I hope I can communicate to the best of my ability that he is so much more than my husband.

Photos by Arrow & Apple