24 January 2011

Terminology of Significant Others

I am waiting for one of two things.
1).  The term "partners" toovertake "husband/wife" in heterosexual couples
2).  The term "husband/wife" to overtake "partners" in homosexual couples

If heterosexual couples continue to use the terms "husband/wife" for our significant others, why can't homosexual couples use the same terms?  Is it still too weird for a man to take a husband, or a woman to take a wife?

As such, I'm not too big of a fan of the term "partners" when "husband" and "wife" are still floating around out there.  It's not demeaning in any way, but "husband/wife" still kind of dictates a sense inequality.  If they are truly on equal grounds, why not refer to each other with the same terminology?  The term "partners" at least denotes a sense of mutuality.  When you are partners with someone, you split the work evenly between you.  If you are someone's husband or wife, the work split tends to be previously dictated by past roles.  With today's society (or counter-culture) being as focused on equality as it is, the terms "husband" and "wife" are slightly outdated.  

However, I do not like the distinction wrought with the use of "partners" and "husband/wife".  It denotes that separation between homosexual and heterosexual.  People are placed into certain labels (white, black, Pakistani, Asian, South American, etc.) because those labels exist.  In a world where more people want equality, we should take away these labels and just live with everybody knowing that they are people and nothing more.  This extends beyond ethnic background.  The world need not give a damn that you like your own gender.  A husband is a male who is married; a wife is a woman who is married.  What difference does it make that a wife can have a wife and a husband can have a husband?  More importantly, why do you care?

"Husband/wife" have a longstanding history in time.  Their meaning is cultivated by the old couples who have been together for 62 years and counting, by a young couple still enamored by their wedding vows, by a family suffering through two pre-teens and an angsty teenager.  What does it matter that couples are single-gendered?  They are still going to share the same amount of love for each other.  They are still living a lifestyle similar to yours.  So why must "partners" separate them from the terms "husband/wife" or something similar?

Your opinion is important.  Please continue this discussion in the comment section below.

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