A few days ago I was conversing with a new acquaintance and heard them twice refer to their spouse as “the wife”. This is not the first person I have heard say this. I have also heard people refer to their child as “the kid”. There is something sadly detached and dishonoring about these references, and for some reason they seem to be used exclusively by men.
I have never heard a woman say “the husband” or “the kid”. But there are some men walking around on the planet who use these references when they talk about their families. Consider the different feelings evoked by the following pairs of statements:
I took the wife out for dinner. I took my wife out for dinner.
The wife and I went to Hawaii. My wife and I went to Hawaii.
I gave the kid a bicycle for Christmas. I gave my son a bicycle for Christmas.
What is it with “the wife” and “the kid”? It is so unfeeling! It is so detached! It is so uncaring! It lacks not only belonging, but affection.
How hard is it to say “my wife” or “my son” or “my daughter”? It isn’t hard! Yet, I keep hearing these disconnected references to the people that should be the most important and most beloved people in their lives. I don’t think it is just a mere matter of words, either. Our words reflect our attitudes and when I hear those particular words the attitude I hear is not a tender or loving one.
Do these men wish they were not married? Do they view their beloved bride as a thing instead of as a precious soul? Do they have a fear of intimacy that drives their need to maintain an emotional distance? Are they afraid to belong to someone?
Whatever the cause, it truly grieves me. So, to all you wives out there, I hereby declare you beloved brides! To all you kids out there, I declare you beloved sons and daughters! We should not let anyone undermine our value. We each have value simply because we were created by God in his image and given the gift of life!