Mr. and Mrs. Smith

A few years ago, I asked a teacher friend of mine why did she adopt her husband’s surname.  She said it was because if she got pregnant in the future, she did not want her students to think that she had a baby out of wedlock.  I thought that was a fair enough answer though it did make me wonder, why is there no martial differentiation for men (i.e. a “Mr” can refer to a bachelor or a married man) but there is a martial segregation for women (think “Miss” versus “Mrs).

As my wedding date draws nearer, the matter of “marital differentiation” has returned to haunt me.  One thing I noted recently is that during weddings, people always refer to the newlyweds as “Mr and Mrs So-and-So”. 

This bugs me.

While the term “Mrs So-and-So” is used lovingly, it makes me feel as though the woman has lost her identity.  After all, our name is our most obvious form of identification.  To “lose” my name this way would make me feel as though the 30 years that I’ve lived as a single did not count for anything.  In the same vein, I’ve always rebelled against learning how to cook because I resent the saying, “a woman’s place is in the kitchen”.  That’s just so bloody degrading. 

The bible says in Matthew 19:5 that, “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh…”.  I think that spells out an ideal marriage – a union of a man and a woman in love; not the subjugation of a woman after she weds.

So here’s an early warning to all well-meaning friends.  Do not refer to me as “Mrs” after my wedding.  You will surely get a earful from me.

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January 2009