Husfriend and Wifi
So, last week I came across an article in the NY Times that blew me away. Feel free to read it on your own but the most staggering comment was from their interview with Mr. Valenzuela, a gay man, who said:
“There’s something deeply heteronormative about ‘husband’ that feels like a betrayal of my very queer identity. Like, if I say it, people will picture him wearing a cardigan reading the newspaper by the fireplace. I do say ‘husband’ more now, but a tiny part of me cringes with shame when I do.”
Whoa?! What’s he saying? He’s saying that the term “husband” seems to normalize the traditional view of heterosexual marriage, and that offends him. How should we respond to this?
Well, you know what? He’s right. There is something inside of us that understands that marriage exists as a lifelong commitment between a man and woman. That is the definition of marriage, even though our culture wants to “redefine” it into something else. They try to refer to “same-sex marriage”, but if the word marriage could refer to a same-sex union then there would be no reason to specify “same-sex”. They could just say marriage, but this isn’t possible because the very definition of marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.
Then we get to the terms husband and wife. Sounds very simple, right? We all know what husband and wife mean; we cannot escape it. And Mr. Valenzuela is right, using the terms does normalize traditional, heterosexual marriage because it has been embedded in our very nature. This speaks to the heart of Christianity. Christians view marriage as the greatest earthly example of the Gospel. It embodies the sacrificial love of Jesus for His bride, the Church (Eph 5:25-33) and we cannot get away from it.
Now we are in a cultural climate where people are attempting to redefine marriage, redefine husband, and redefine wife. They are coming up with many alternatives: “husfriends”, “hersbands”, “wusbands”, and “support staff”, just to name a few, but with each one of these we cannot help but be reminded of what they are referring to. Same-sex marriage is a perversion of marriage, so it makes sense that even the terms used to describe its participants will be perversions. So, even in their assertion of same-sex marriage as something new and different they cannot help but appeal to the traditional, normal understanding of husbands and wives.