8:58 am

Drop the Labels

goodA friend of mine recently sent me a picture of a young woman that someone had sent him with the text “I have found your future wife. She is wife material.” The woman was radiant-pouty-lipped and raven haired, and she looked like she had just stepped off a New York runway (except for the fact that she was holding a microphone, which means she is probably talented, brave, and perhaps even famous!). Later in the evening, I found myself ruminating over what the term “wife material” even means. As I went about my evening routine (which probably does not fit into my friend’s definition of “wife material”) working on my computer, planning my week’s classes, plucking my eyebrows, and taking a long bath, I found myself filled with anxiety and questioning my value as a wife. I mean, I am a wife, because I am married, but am I wife material? So as this question continued to befuddle me, I googled, “what does the term wife material mean?” And bam! There it was, on Yahoo Answers. Nine responses to this all-important question. I won’t bore you with all the depth and emotional maturity buried (deep, way deep) within the answers but here is a summary:

“Perhaps because you're loyal, trust worthy and easy to be around on a daily basis.” (Are you kidding me? Easy to be around on a DAILY basis??)

“I would think it means you look like a woman they think they can trust but then again it might mean that you are good looking, has a great sense of humor and acts like a lady. You know what guys want don't you? A lady in the living room and a highly sexed woman in the bedroom.” (Does that mean no more farting during Justified?)

“In my experience, it simply means you did something that impressed him.” (I totally did that. On our first date. And never again.)

By this time, I’m feeling really good about myself and my role as my husband’s wife (Not). And before my anxiety got the best of me I decided I would just ask the question. While having dinner (prepared by Rich) I asked him “Am I a good wife?” The response I got was classic “my husband material”- first the look of confusion, then the sinking in, then pure laughter, followed by, “What on earth are you talking about?” I explained what I had been feeling since I saw the picture with the caption “wife material” and that I felt completely inept at this role because I fall short according to Yahoo.

Rich reminded me of something I teach to my students in classes and in teacher training, and to my children as often as they will let me. Drop the labels. Be good and kind. Make good choices. Be in service to others. Be humble and grateful. And most importantly, know deep within your being that you are ENOUGH. The labels that we place on ourselves tell us the stories of what we should look like and how we should behave in doing so. They are simply untrue conversations designed to keep us from living an authentically beautiful existence. And while it was important for me to share my feelings with Rich, do I really need him to affirm that I am living up to some standard that Yahoo has placed on my role as his partner? I think not. While words of affirmation is one of the “Five Love Languages” as made popular in the 1990’s by author Gary Chapman (and also include gifts, quality of time, acts of service and physical touch), I believe the most important thing is that we love ourselves enough to affirm ourselves- and THAT is something we should do on a daily basis.

Love Katrina