Sunday, April 30, 2017

Why I Have A “Partner,” Not A “Husband”

When I post an article, it doesn't mean I necessarily agree with it but want to stimulate thinking and conversation . . .

Why I Have A “Partner,” Not A “Husband”
Words are powerful, and adopting terms previously used to constrain and police us is dangerous.

Johannus M. Steger  |  04/26/2017

Yes, in December I married the man who is legally my “husband.” There is no denying that, and we were bond by legal stance and by the actual cords we had that tied our hands together. (Pagan wedding ― he’s an atheist, I am not.)

There is nothing wrong with the term, “husband.” However, there is everything wrong with the concept. Throughout the history of humankind, the words “husband” and “wife” have been used in the legal marriage of a man and a woman. Now, don’t get your knickers in a twist, this isn’t one of those Anti-Gay Marriage posts… bear with me.

This term was one of ownership. Throughout history, a husband owned his wife. Now, being two men ,  we escape this reality, right? Surely, these social standards are not presented upon the bonding of two presumably white males. (I say presumably because I’m Native American, but as my doctor would tell you ,  I don’t get enough sun. What she means is I get no sun.)

Well, guess what, you’re wrong. We are not excluded from the binding of social terms and the society’s baring of them. This is the complex answer of why I want people to stop asking why I say, “my partner,” and not “my husband.” Because I am not his husband, nor is he mine. We are not in ownership of one another. Neither of us “wears the pants” in the family. I am not his “man-wife” or whatever crazy analytic bullshit heterosexual people have cooked up for us.

But it goes deeper than that.

A husband and a wife often have a dynamic  ― one of which we do not fit. Now, there are a lot of modern hetero couples who share in the wonderful world that my partner and I do. You know that world… the one where you and your significant other actively share in each other’s lives rather than melding into one uni-person where everyone starts referring to you as “You,” instead of “you two.”

There is this weird dynamic that still exists where the husband brings home the bacon, and his dutiful wife does the dishes, and mops the floors. If that’s for you, great, but it’s not MY reality.

I am all for the happy family, I fully support you doing whatever is right for you. Just please support me in being... not that.

My partner and I are a team, first and foremost. He supports me in my endeavors, he helps me out with my disability, we both take care of chores, we both cook, we both bring home the bacon  —  and hell, sometimes we bring it home as a joint effort. We are the gears inside a clock and our love is the oil, and we will continue to tick and tock and enjoy our union together.

Neither of us feels the need to “be the man” in our relationship, and god forbid you ask me about our sex life, I will physically spit rainbow dust on you. I don’t know how, but I will find a way. Don’t tempt me.

It’s never about that for us. It’s about compromise, both of our needs being met, and finding success together. We don’t have a struggle for the top of the dynamic, we don’t argue over finances. (I know that sounds shocking — but it’s true.) We do argue… it would be abnormal if we didn’t, but when we argue it’s over stupid things that are quickly forgotten.

In full truth, sometimes I will cutely refer to him as “hubby” as a pet name, but 99.9 percent of the time I will say “my partner” or “my significant other.” I am in no way ashamed of him. I am not hiding anything. I am truthfully telling you that there is no role in our relationship. We are a unit, not a boss/employee scenario.

Now, I am not telling you to go out and change the way you talk about your significant other, that’s your business and the words could mean something entirely different for you. I am saying, just for the sake of having it out there, that it’s honestly none of your business why anyone says it one way or another.

Stop. Making. Other. People’s. Lives. Your. Business.

Because they are not your business. If it has no impact on your life, then let it go. Seriously, do not make me start playing Frozen.

Let it go.

I understand the curiosity. We are, after all, only human. We seek knowledge when we feel confused, and we seek to hide when something is so different we fear the change of it. We are horribly fearful creatures. This likely has to do with the fact that evolution has us walking upright with no protection on our stomachs. But I digress…

The short answer is that my partner and I both prefer the term “partner.” It’s gender neutral, it’s inclusive, it doesn’t denote ownership, it’s just a good word.

Try it for a spin, if you want. I don’t honestly care. This post is for educational purposes, really.

If you have any questions  —  about writing, I hope ― then let’s chat! If you don’t, then let me summarize: Historical terms have bad reputations, and my partner and I don’t feel comfortable with the term “husband.” We are just happier the way we are, we are partners and that’s how we like it.

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Ballantyne Moyes said...

I think this is very well said. I am not in a relationship myself but, were I to be, I would share the same views as the writer. I think a lot of people attach too much to labels, so much so that we can become lost as individuals. If I were to give myself a "label" it would simply be that I am a human being, like all my fellow human beings on this planet.

I send my best wishes to the author of this article and to you as the blog owner. You always provide interesting topics to read and great pictures to view. Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just wish I had someone to call anything :-)

SteveXS said...

Dear Anonymous, keeping everything of which I have two crossed for you!

SteveXS said...

Hi Ballantyne, I feel pretty much the same way. There are too many labels used to separate us one from the other. I'm totally fine with folks who are comfortable with "husband" terminology (right, Scooter?). But I'm also sympathetic to those who've thought it through as this author has done. "Partner" has some great connotations but it doesn't cover everything. The same goes for lover, soul mate, and the rest. We need new or reinvigorated vocabulary. And as anyone who reads this blog knows, I reject the pressure from some narrow quarters to apply "queer" to everyone who has same-sex sex. It's a hateful word, as awful as the N-word we've consigned to the trash heap. I'd go so far as to say anyone using the N-word defines themselves as trash. For me, it's the same with the Q-word.