Why it’s okay to hate your husband and other tales from a bad wife

Husband is eating a mushroom but by the sound of things he might as well be crunching on concrete. That he is at least 500km away from me at the moment does nothing to dampen the sound of his chewing or my anger. “You know people wont even be surprised when I kill you, in fact they’d be shocked I put up with your chewing for so long” It’s pure nastiness on my part, he can’t help it. Somehow Husband’s mouth was designed to amplify. Husband decides to distract me by changing the topic but only succeeds in increasing the volume of the concrete crushing and shifting the sound closer to that part of the brain that triggers violence. I look at him through narrowed eyes, ready to spit out the snarky, mean comment I have ready for him, but I find myself stifling a laugh instead. He moves to hide himself behind and wall and continues the conversation in a manner that is impossibly cute. This must be madness, this desire to want to kill him and kiss him at the same time. Perhaps this is what marriage has done to me, I’ve been made mad by living in such close quarters with another human. I veer between laughter and anger before the former wins and I realise that this man, destroyer of mushrooms and of quiet spaces, is my Husband. Mine, and well, I do like collect things, so I might as well keep this one.

Husband once asked me why it is that I refer to him as such in this blog. I wonder if it is symbolic somehow, as if through marriage, I have stripped him of his name and so labelled him “Husband”. It would make a great change from the norm of women having to cast aside their names for the sake of marriage, so I think I’ll stick to that version. It is incredibly hypocritical, in light of what I’ve just written, that I am very often annoyed at Husband when I am introduced as his wife. Maybe it’s because Husband has a habit of gesturing to me and saying “This is my wife” in a way that makes it seem as though he’s forgotten my name or if he was simply pointing out his new running shoes (in fact that might get more enthusiasm). Is it wrong to be introduced by my name (provided he can actually recall it) or perhaps by something fantastic and awe inspiring? This is Denira, reader of books, slayer of ignorance! It’s not too much to ask that this man, to whom I have bestowed the title of Husband, alludes to my greatness at very opportunity, is it? Also, if I’m being honest, I really don’t like the word “wife”, which is probably why I’m so cavalier about brandishing the title of “bad wife”. Wife, even the word sounds subservient, like you’d find it hiding in a kitchen cupboard because it forgot to salt it’s husband’s socks or wash his food, or something backward like that. Every time I say the word I want to shrug it off, it’s much the same for when I find a bug on me unexpectedly, there is a shaking of my shoulders and head and a completely paranoid check to make sure it’s really gone. I don’t like it. I don’t like it just as much as I don’t like the men who hide from their wives, who can’t be themselves around their wives. You know who I’m talking about, those men who seemed to have decided to marry their mothers. Those men who make it seem as if when they’ve managed an escape from the house, their wives are waiting for them clad in a housecoat with curlers in their hair, rolling pin in hand. The word wife makes me feel old and irrelevant, like I am incomplete, only one part of whole. There’s too much dependency in the word for someone who believes herself, alone to be enough. It’s too definitive and not powerful enough a word to encapsulate who I am. Yes, I am married but is that all I am? Will the world only ever see me as first a daughter, then a wife and finally as mother? No, that certainly will not do.

So, I am happy to be a bad wife, if it means that you’ll find me reading a book while Husband washes the dishes or if you’ll see Husband cooking dinner while I tell my puppies that I love them. I am happy to be a bad wife, if Husband is my partner, the looney human that I love spending time with, the keeper of all of my secrets and the person I can eat chips with in bed. I am happy to be a bad wife who challenges Husband, who speaks her mind and who isn’t afraid to be called “bossy”. I am happy to be a bad wife who is able to not only see Husband’s potential by my own and who is unwilling to comprise on any of our dreams. I am happy to be a bad wife who will admit that Husband frustrates, disappoints me and hurts me, he is not perfect, and neither am I. I am happy to be a bad wife who knows that apart from myself, there is no one else I’d rather be with, that Husband is my choice. I’m not a bad wife so that I can wear the badge, although the idea of the badge does appeal to me (I feel like I should start a Bad Wife Club). I’m a bad wife until we find power in the word “wife”, until it loses it dependency and until we stop selling the myth that a woman is only complete with a man.

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