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February 27, 2012 2:31 pm

Why I Don’t Have A “Hubby”

avatar by Mimi Hecht

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Wedding couple. Photo: wiki commons.

So, what exactly is a “Hubby?”
Is it a shorter husband? A chubbier, plumper husband? Is it an extremely cute husband? Is it a pet named after your husband?

I remember being taken aback when this abbreviation for “husband” emerged from the mouths of friends and was found splattered all over peoples’ Facebook statuses. Watching the new lingo take on many forms—”Hubs,” “Hubster” and so on—only deepened my alarm. I wondered, why isn’t anyone calling this out?  Is no one else concerned? Why couldn’t women call their spouses by their honorable title? What is this need to “cutesify” and shorten the appropriate title for an esteemed role? Why are women increasingly unable to say “husband” when this noble position is so central to their lives?

Potentially worse than “Hubby” or “Hubster” is the acronym “DH.” “DH” stands for “Dear Husband” and is officially a part of the Urban Dictionary. When I first saw it going around, it took me a second to decipher. I refused to believe woman had resorted to referring to their husbands with two letters. But more telling is the way this acronym gets used. In my Facebook feed alone, I see at least one daily post from friends who are actually belittling and embarrassing their husband, yet refer to him by “DH.”

In case you haven’t seen these, here are some examples that reflect actual FB updates.

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“DH said he would do the dishes. It’s now 9:00 and he’s passed out on the couch. Did he think I meant tomorrow?” or “My DH says he wants a Xbox for his birthday, but I can’t bring myself to support such a habit! What would you do?”

Or from the blogger at DummyHubby.com: “I know for a FACT that DH has seen what garbage cans look like, knows what their purpose is, and knows the general locations of said garbage cans in our house.  But for whatever reason, he doesn’t seem to get the concept of actually USING them.”

In all these examples, the wife is using “dear” as a way of excusing the belittling that follows. Like as if saying “DH” makes it okay or proves she loves him anyway. And even when the “DH” is referenced in a positive light, it’s still insulting. Like, “DH bought me a diamond bangle for our anniversary! He’s the best!” The wife is praising her husband, yet he doesn’t deserve a respectable mention?

I couldn’t see this as something inconsequential. The trend was picking up and, the more I thought about it, the more clearly I saw how it represented a bigger ill in the way we’re treating our marriages.

Women today have this attitude that they are allowed to reference their husbands casually when sharing, complaining and relating. Made possible by the myriads of mom-groups and other public social outlets, this sense of entitlement is dangerous. For many women, it seems that sharing a new common term strengthens the camaraderie and opens the gates for them to let it all out. Saying “Hubby” or “DH” seems to give wives a license to kvetch, publicize and overall disrespect—albeit often subtly—their spouse.

Perhaps more damaging is using “Hubby” of “DH” for the cutesy factor. I’ve had friends tell me they think it’s sweet, endearing. But, for real people? Not only are you completely making a joke of something real, but you’re using the same word that thousands of other women also use to refer to their husbands. How personal and meaningful can it really be? Moreover, what’s with this need to be cutesy? Has our focus on publicizing our lives completely eroded the confidence in our marriages, to the point that we actually think saying “husband” is boring, dry…not good enough? And is this need to be “cutesy”not all too often a display of connection and confidence that may not actually exist behind the curtain? Sure, these are vast claims that surely don’t apply to every “user,” but its certainly something to think about.

It’s as if saying “husband” would hold us to a higher duty that we just, well…can’t live up to.

What well-intended woman with a dose of sensitivity can’t admit that saying “Hubby” or “DH” (and certainly its usage) is making a mockery of something that demands all our sensitivity and reverence?

Honestly, I would like to meet the woman that enjoys her husband calling her “wifey.”

If we truly honored the divine nature of our marital unions, our sensitivity and focus wouldn’t be something reserved for the bedroom. It would be reflected in all our gestures, actions—and certainly in our speech.

In fact, perhaps it begins with speech.

When I was twenty, I asked Manis Friedman how I can tell if a man, a potential suitor, truly honors and respects marriage. He answered simply, “It’s in the way he talks.” Does he say things like “his woman” when referring to someone’s wife? Does he laugh at marriage jokes? Propagate stereotypes? In essence, Rabbi Friedman was telling me that if someone is casual about marriage in the way they talk, in the way they actually reference marriage, then it’s likely that they lack the appropriate awe and reverence it requires.

As a writer, I couldn’t agree more. I am sensitive to how words not only communicate a concept but actually contribute to a state of mind. I beseech women everywhere to consider the effects of their language when speaking of their husbands. It’s the difference between respect and belittling; between casualness and importance; essentially between care and disregard.

With marriage getting bashed and humiliated at every turn today, it’s all the more critical for us to be committed to its preservation. We can turn back the hand, starting with our speech. Call your husband what he is. Use his name. Have a little respect for a relationship that is more important than your pet. Start building up your marriage and the sanctity within it, right down to your words. Because if we don’t start there, if we allow our very speech to minimize our spouse, how can we possibly say we’re giving our marriage all that we’ve got?

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  • John McNab

    I had no idea that any woman understood just how irritating are these women who publicly mock men , even their own husbands and think they are cute or amusing for doing it. They are not cute or amusing..they are actually rude and irritating.
    Good op-ed.

  • salvage

    >With marriage getting bashed and humiliated at every turn today,

    Huh? What are you talking about?

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