Perhaps it’s because I was only engaged for five months. Maybe it’s because I was too lazy to spit out the extra syllables. But whatever the case, it was hard for me to utter the phrase “my fiancée.” For the two years prior she had been my girl, my lady, my shorty, my boo and even my wifey. No matter the cliché term, I was able to spit the words out with ease. But when it came to the fancy French word with the cute accent over the first “e,” I got tongue-tied.
Force of habit allowed me to perpetually replace my wife-to-be’s given name with “my girl.” It didn’t seem like such a big deal to me because I’d made a clear commitment to her for the long haul. But she had other views: “I’m not your ‘girl’ anymore,” she explained one evening. “I’m your fiancée.” Although she was calm as could be, I got the sense that if I knew what was good for me, I better fall in line and use our new designations regardless of their quick expiration date.
Over the course of our almost six months of marriage, the transition from fiancée to wife has been much easier—in terms of conversation usage. During the course of my day I constantly find myself referencing her as such; and oftentimes when we talk during my lunch break I greet her as “my wife, my life.” I’m not sure when that phrase evolved as part of our daily dialogue but it’s much more than a catchy couplet. It is the mantra for my marriage. From the moment that I said I do, my wife became the focal point of my life. More specifically, the me mentality disappeared in lieu of the we.
Prior to this point of my life, I always thought of a family as a group of people. You know, mothers, daughters, sons, cousins, aunts, uncles and sometime even fathers (that sarcasm is just my own daddy issues, don't mind me). The point is I never really thought of two people as being a “family.” But in the wake of my wife and I relocating to a new city with only ourselves as familiar faces, it’s shed light on the fact that we are a family. Yeah, we’ve talked about starting a family somewhere down the line, but it wasn’t until recently that we realized we already have.
The idea of 'we' is interesting. While just two individuals can make up a family unit, the actions of each impact the whole. When my wife is frustrated about something—no matter how big or small, it’s not just her problem...it’s ours. I can’t just walk away or roll over at night and let her “figure it out.” If it’s an issue for her, it’s an issue for me and vice versa.
In her blog post last week, my wife wrote about her struggles with the notion of potentially becoming a housewife. There was one line in particular that struck a chord with me; the one where she worried about whether or not I would one day “resent” her for being a stay-at-home wife. I was quick to inform her that would never be the case. We made a promise to each other to weather the storm through it all. When she has a bill, I have a bill. When I get paid, we get paid. And when she’s happy, I’m happy. At the end of the day in the land of we that’s all that matters. “I’m not your ‘man’ anymore,” I explained to her. “I’m your husband… and you’re my wife, my life.”
How important is it for you and your partner to operate as a cohesive unit? Do you see a future for a relationship that lacks the 'we' mentality? Sound off!
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.