Why Is “Husband” a Taboo Word?
Marriage is under attack from all sides in our society. Sometimes the battle lines are clear, but other times the attack is way more subtle – so subtle, in fact, that I’m not even sure those involved realize what they’re doing. But the damage is being done just the same.
“Partner” Is Not the Same as “Husband”
My husband and I are expecting another baby in the summer, so of course this brings us back to the exciting world of prenatal appointments, birth groups, and ultrasounds. And as I contemplate the future, I think back on the past, of the great experience I had with the birth of my son Clayton.
But as I think back on the all the prep that I did for that first birth – all the birth classes we attended, all the articles and books I read – I remember one word that was conspicuously absent – husband.
My birth instructor didn’t asked us about our husbands; she asked about our partners. The books didn’t give me advice on how to prepare my husband to help with labor but how to prepare my partner.
And I wanted to stand up and say, “He is way more than just my partner. He’s my husband. Ever heard of that word? It means we made a life-long commitment to each other. Sound familiar, anyone?”
And while I never actually made this awkward speech, this vocabulary shift more than rubbed me the wrong way. It saddened and frustrated me.
Our Words Have Meaning
Words are extremely powerful. When we stop asking young women about their husbands and start asking them about their partners, we’re saying that being married isn’t really that important. That it’s just as good to have a baby with a partner, that being husband and wife doesn’t really make a difference.
But that’s 100% wrong. In this world where we want to have everything perfect for our babies, don’t people realize that what the kids need most is to see mom and dad happily married? That this one aspect affects their lives more than anything else we can give them?
Now I realize that not every pregnancy situation is ideal. But that’s my point – giving birth without being married is not ideal.
But that’s not the message we’re sending young couples when we make husband a taboo word.
We’re Changing the Definition of Normal
And that’s the real issue. We are not simply saying that having a baby without being married is acceptable. We are going much farther than that. We are changing the very definition of what is normal and what is best in our society.
When we switch out the word husband for partner, we stop putting up a picture of what is best, of what is ideal: a family with a mom and dad who are happily married.
And without an ideal to strive for, what direction do you think most couples are going to go?
Defending Marriage Is Worth an Awkward Moment
Now, of course, the reason people would give for this subtle vocabulary shift would be that they don’t want to make someone feel uncomfortable. But to that I say – but think of the cost!
Of course we shouldn’t intentionally embarrass an unwed mom-to-be, but that unwed couple sitting in a birth class needs to hear a subtle message that being married is the best thing they can do for their child.
What if a couple might actually start considering that they should get married!? Perish the thought! How could we ever let such a thing happen!?
Seriously, what are we thinking?
When we truly care about people, we care less about saying something that may offend them and more about saying what they need to hear. [Tweet this.]
Of course, it’s probably not a midwife or doctor’s place to confront a couple about their marital status, but it’s a whole nother thing to be so concerned about an awkward moment that we abandon the word husband, that we change the model of what is ideal. That we sacrifice the great institution of marriage on the altar of political correctness.
We Can’t Let Our Kids Be the Casualties.
So what does this mean for us? It means that we need to realize just how much the institution of marriage is under attack from all sides. It means that we are the last and possibly only line of defense between the misguided ideals of our society and our impressionable children and students. It means that we must do everything we can to combat false ideas of marriage and teach (i.e. show) our kids not only the importance of marriage but what marriage should look like.
It means we’ve got our work cut out for us but that our work is more important than ever.
So let’s teach the kids how important a husband and wife are. Let’s teach them the value of marriage, the commitment it requires, and the joy that it produces.
And if you find yourself in a PC birth group, just throw out the word husband a few times. 🙂
Where have you seen marriage under attack in your day-to-day life? How can we pass on the value and true meaning of marriage to the next generation? Share your thoughts with a comment below.
Photo by Nina Matthews Photography