Monday, March 31, 2014

Friend, lover, partner, spouse.... the power of words

Joyful couplesare  marrying in England and Wales now.  Just not in the increasingly-irrelevant C of E.

British actor Simon Callow plans to marry his partner, now that same sex marriage is legal in England.  He writes, 
[W]e shall, by the very act of marrying become different people: we shall be husbands to each other. 
And every time I introduce him to people as my husband, the word will echo with the extraordinary force of novelty. Every time I say the word it will mean something, taking even me by surprise. And everything that is contained in that word — all the promise of care, of protection, of obligation, of responsibility, of strength, of growth — all that will inform our lives. Words matter profoundly. Partner, lover, boyfriend are all perfectly good words, denoting very particular relationships. But husband eclipses them all; husband sinks roots, husband brings forth life. And marriage — that’s another of those big words you grow into. Giving gay men and women their birthright — the right to participate fully in this great human invention — will change all our lives. All that remains is the elimination of envy, resentment, hatred, which still, day in and day out, plague gay people everywhere, especially young people, bullied and humiliated. But gay marriage, the formation of enduring and openly celebrated, correctly named, relationships will change the world as surely as love transforms everything.
Words have meaning. When I use the word "wife" to refer to my beloved*, there is no doubt what I mean.  It means we are married, committed, tied together as strongly as we can be. It is the greatest joy of my life.

*(Of course, some people get confused about what that makes me....leading to the question "if she's your wife, are you her husband?"  which I've explained elsewhere) 

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