‘Wedding rings are a symbol of ownership. We don’t wear them. I don’t identify with the word ‘wife.’: Married woman talks terms of marriage, ‘We are in a partnership’

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“My ‘husband’ and I decided to call each other ‘partners’ instead of ‘husband’ and ‘wife.’

My partner and I are as equal as you can get in household responsibilities as possible, without keeping actual score. Of course, there is no way to be truly equal.  We both share responsibilities for cooking, cleaning, parenting and work duties.

Of course we do find ourselves frequently fitting into gender roles, as most heteronormative couples will, but we don’t do those things in conflict with our individual identities. We both work for a company that we co-own. We share two beautiful children, a home, and various other property. When it comes to who is going to clean the toilet or take the trash out, it’s whoever notices it needs to be done first. I still make play dates with other moms: my partner hasn’t quite found a common community amongst dads. My partner still does the gross things, like kill bugs. I am a fully committed feminist, and I will kill a bug if I need to. However, I view a live-in bug killer as a perk of marriage, and I am going to take full advantage of that.

We don’t wear wedding rings. We haven’t for years. At first, it was just like an every now and then thing when I didn’t feel like wearing jewelry or left it in the kitchen after washing dishes. Over time, it became a symbol of ownership and possession.

Using the term ‘partner’ doesn’t out anyone. It’s an inclusive term which allows LGBTQ friends to feel more comfortable using the term without the fear of being outed.

Most religious texts use the term ‘wife’ as another form of property the husband owns. The husband is the boss, the husband is the provider. The father gives away the daughter (his property) to her husband to take care of. The woman is now the husband’s responsibility. The woman is the submissive who follows the husbands lead. I don’t feel like I identify with any of these things. Therefore, easy decision. There aren’t many definitions of the word ‘wife’ I personally identify with.

The term ‘partner’ puts me on equal grounds with my partner. We are individuals who are committed to each other and committed to loving each other exactly for who we are. We both work to keep our house running. We both carpool the kids and change diapers. We make decisions together. He does not own me, and I do not own him. I do not determine his happiness nor he mine. We are in a partnership.”

Courtesy of Brooke Cagle

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