General Question

janbb's avatar

Minor pet peeve time: How do you feel about men saying "the wife"?

Asked by janbb (59208points) April 2nd, 2020

I“ll start. To me, saying “the wife” instead of “my wife” sounds impersonal and degrading. I’ve never heard anyone say “the husband.” I’m not accusing anyone here or elsewhere of intentionally using it derogatorily but it really grates on me.

Feel free to disagree and bicker. it’s a change of topic anyway.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

49 Answers

Caravanfan's avatar

I don’t say “the wife”. I say “the boss”.

janbb's avatar

@Caravanfan “The boss” doesn’t bother me at all.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t refer to my wife that way, but I do call my son The Boy.
I do like it when I hear people refer to their wives as My Bride.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It could be worse.I knew someone who called her husband “Big Daddy”.

stanleybmanly's avatar

My wife says “the husband” all the time. In fact she’s where I got the habit. In the early days, I was introduced as “the boyfriend” to all of her acquaintances, most of whom would admonish her on the spot (to her delight). Her girlfriends understand (I think) that for me “the wife” is my snide reference to her aloofness. It is used as an alternative to the other 3rd person reference (the Queen) usually reserved for use with the same girlfriends.

janbb's avatar

@stanleybmanly Interesting. I’ve heard “the boyfriend” used on tV shows but never “the husband.” You may be excused in that case, perhaps.

@filmfann Your wife is just a dear.

stanleybmanly's avatar

In the old days, the girlfriends would call on the land line and ask for “the queen”. Then one of them made the mistake of calling her queenie, which she quickly put down like the Irish rebellion.

janbb's avatar

^^ I’m glad she runs a tight ship!

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is something imperial about her, and you may rest assured that she regards me and my common friends with the contempt you believe I deserve.

janbb's avatar

O Dad, say it ain’t so.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But it is and as such she must remain isolated from you and others of your ilk.

rebbel's avatar

If it’s not said as a one of, joking remark, it disgusts me.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I sometimes call my mom “the Mother” and she hates it. She said that “Queen Mother” would be OK, however.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

My dad was known far and wide (I’m talking India, Hawaii, Europe . . .) for talking about the “Warden” my mom was a sweetheart. And my mom would laugh and give him a hug, she did keep him in line though.

janbb's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I’m not talking about teasing. I’m talking specifically about “the wife” which I read as impersonal and somewhat demeaning. My family tease all the time.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t like, but I wouldn’t get bent out of shape if I heard it once in a blue moon. Not that I think you are.

My husband calls me boss sometimes. I don’t like it very much. He calls me bossy sometimes too, somehow that bothers me less. What I hate the most is when he says, “yes dear.” I’ve told him not to do it.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Yes. Just as bad of saying “my current wife”.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, ugh, I hate it. Right along with “hubby.”

cookieman's avatar

I refer to my wife by her name. Isn’t that why we have names?

SergeantQueen's avatar

It’s better than saying “that bitch”

I don’t like it. Just call her by her name. I also hate “hubby” as well.
Comes off as impersonal and rude. She’s your wife not a random woman.

ucme's avatar

Oh Fluther, you never fail to amuse me :D
I call my wife <<<< that, her name, pet, love, darling, sweetheart & yes, sometimes “the wife”
That last one, the one that seems to be causing so much fuss lol, is a term of endearment used sparingly & in a particularly nuanced context.
It’s similar to others used over here decades ago like “her indoors” or “she who must be obeyed” just old time sayings for no other reason than accepted banter.

By all means though, translate it how you please, the wife read this question & laughed ;-}

SergeantQueen's avatar

@ucme in that context it’s fine. When both are happily together. My parents are legally married but not really, they don’t like each other and fight constantly. My dad says “the wife” so for me it just comes off as rude because I know he doesn’t mean it kindly. I associate it differently

anniereborn's avatar

It bugs me a lot.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Note to self: stop saying “the wife”.

stanleybmanly's avatar

My wife doesn’t hesitate to rib me. I’ve been called the ball & chain, the mid husband, househusband, the “kept man”,” “captain romance”, “mr. useless” and BUNKY! I don’t care. The wife knows I adore her, and neither of us are one bit insecure regarding our affection for one another. She just came in from the garden, masked and gloved in combat fatigues and a big floppy hat —she cracks me up. Doorbell just rang. She can’t hear it without her hearing aids. Deaf as a post. And nosy I ran downstairs to answer the door. “ Where are YOU going in such a hurry?” Turned out to be DHL I’m told it’s more elastic for masks.

kritiper's avatar

Not as bad as calling the wife “the little woman.” Or calling women in general “gals” or “broads.”

Brian1946's avatar


My wife vehemently agrees- she hates it when I call her “hubby”! ;-0

Dutchess_lll's avatar

It implies possession. No I don’t like it.

janbb's avatar

@kritiper Hard to imagine anyone saying “the little woman” after about the 1950s!!

SQUEEKY2's avatar

If I want a rise out of Mrs Squeeky I will yell WOMAN!
I have never referd to her as the wife, I have said boss a number of times.

kritiper's avatar

@janbb None the less…

jca2's avatar

I don’t mind it terribly. I wouldn’t admonish someone for saying it. It’s not something I hear too often, maybe once in a while, in passing. “I’m going to check with the wife first.”

My cousin’s husband is British upper class and he refers to my cousin as “the boss.”

Sometimes I will refer to my friend’s husbands as their “hubby.” None of my friends have ever said it bothers them.

Jonsblond's avatar

It doesn’t bother me.

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s all about the way in which such a thing is said. But I don’t think I would ever think to say “the wife”. It seems like it might kind of tend to imply some degree of a resentful expression about a not-great relationship, from a self-righteous position. But I think it might be possible to also say those words and have it be some sort of not-actually-problematic loving humor, and/or a tease that no one would take seriously, or something.

johnpowell's avatar

My sisters husband calls my sister “mama” and it just grosses me out every time he says it. I guess I could kinda see that if they had kids together, but they don’t.

JLeslie's avatar

@johnpowell Is he Spanish speaking? Although, even in Latin American culture usually men don’t do that. I see lots of women use mommy with female children or with their female friends. mommy and momita.

KNOWITALL's avatar

It doesn’t bother me at all, common tongue in cheek humor.
@stanley You married to Jackie Kennedy? Ha! Funny description.

ragingloli's avatar

It sounds antagonist, dehumanising, and devaluing.
Just a few steps above “the house dragon”.

jca2's avatar

@ragingloli: “Kitchen wench.”

raum's avatar

I actually find it a bit endearing.

In my circle of friends, I’ve noticed the use of “the wife” and “the husband” right after a couple gets married. Mostly laughing at the novelty of it all.

Though we are all friends with each other before getting married. I think I would feel differently about it if they were using that term when speaking to people that I didn’t know.

tinyfaery's avatar

I call my wife, “the wife” and she calls me, “the wife”, so I think we are even.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ragingloli I never heard the housedragon term before. That’s funny!

ragingloli's avatar

The term “Hausdrache” (house dragon) is very common in Germany.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Makes sense. It’s a wonderful term which instantly designates the relationship between a household of unwieldy kids, clueless husband, and the one on whose shoulders household discipline falls by default. As Frederick the Great paraphrased Machiavelli “in such matters it is better to be feared than to be loved”.

raum's avatar

House dragon actually sounds kind of cool. Probably because I’m utterly clueless about the cultural context of the term.

deni's avatar

Do not enjoy that. Only thing worse is “hubby” yikessssss

Dutchess_lll's avatar

“Hubs” ok @Deni?

Brian1946's avatar


I’ll certainly never call you “hubby”. ;-)

snowberry's avatar

I call him hubby when I don’t want to use his name. “My husband” doesn’t work for me as well. He doesn’t mind. I don’t know how he refers to me if I’m not around. He calls me Wifey at home.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther