I wish to register a complaint. My complaint is with the jargon one has to work with when discussing your married relationships should you have been married more than once. The vocabulary of past marriages really is rather limiting in choice and makes no-one look good. Nor does it allow one to fully explain one’s situation without having to digress.
When I talk about my “first wife” it implies several things. Firstly that I’ve had more than one wife – which is fair enough. Secondly that the first marriage ended in divorce – it didn’t. And finally that I’m the kind of reprehensible dirtbag that can’t honour my wedding vows – I’m not. For me the biggest problem with the phrase is it implies that I’m talking about someone who no longer means much to me, when quite the opposite is true.
I suppose I could say “widower” but then that implies things that aren’t true too. The main one being that I’m still on my own – which again I’m not. Widower is also a gloomy word to bring into conversation with strangers and I’ve seen enough sympathetic yet patronising facial expressions to last a lifetime.
Then should I talk about my “second wife” that has many of the problems of talking about my “first wife” appear again. Divorce, lack of importance of either party and yet again the implication I’m an untrustworthy dirtbag rear their ugly heads again. The alternative “current wife” does an even better job of implying that not only am I on my second wife I’m likely to have a third, fourth and fifth in short order.
Why the need for any of these phrases? The subject tends to come up with people especially in relation to the twins. They know all about having two mummies and our daughter in particular will raise the subject.
What I want is a short snappy phrase that says “I have been lucky to meet, fall in love and marry two amazing women. The first of whom died tragically following the birth of our twins. Subsequently I found love again and married, but both remain in my heart. And I’m not a dirtbag. Okay?” Clearly this could get a lot snappier.
What I want is something that doesn’t describe my wives in a chronological number sequence that implies lack of real importance to each unit in the sequence and plans afoot to increase the number.