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LGBTQ Married Life

๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Presentando a Mi Media Naranja

There are two words for husband in Spanish, but I only use one to refer to mi media naranja, the Complimentary Spouse:

Marido.

A few English speakers have tried to tell me that the correct word is esposo

Really? ยฟCรณmo te atreves a cuestionarme?

There are two reasons why esposo is not the right word. One is conventional, and the other has to do with same-sex marriage.

First, marido is the word I’ve always used for husband. Growing up in Madrid, marido y mujer meant husband and wife. No one used esposo y esposa in everyday language. They are formal words, like those you’d find in legal documents.1

Second, there is no feminine version of marido.2

That’s critical for me because I no longer speak Spanish well. I forget essential words and stumble over verbs all the time. Recently, I couldn’t remember the word for spoon and had to ask for un tenedor para sopa.3 The few times I have said esposo, the person I was talking to assumed I meant esposa. I’d assume the same if I were dealing with someone with the vocabulary and grammar skills of a discombobulated toddler.

With marido, there’s no confusion. People get it right away.

Because of how gender works in Spanish grammar, saying somos esposos is open to interpretation. Most people will assume it refers to an opposite-sex married couple. But somos maridos is unambiguous. It means we’re husbands.

Being out and visible makes a difference, no matter where you are or what language you’re speaking. Not only is marido the right word to use, but it’s also the right word to describe the other half of my orange.

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1 I think American schools teach esposo y esposa because it follows the simple, predictable pattern for pairs of masculine and feminine nouns. I’m talking about simple, well-known words like perro y perra, professor y professora, or cazafantasmo y cazafantasma.

2 The word marida exists, but it’s not a noun, and it doesn’t mean wife.

3 Britt says I speak Spanish better than I think I do. On a train from Segovia to Madrid a few years ago, I turned to him and said, “You know, I really wish I could still speak Spanish well.”

“At lunch, you explained Critical Race Theory to the couple next to us,” he said.4

“I’m not sure it made sense,” I said. “I probably sounded no smarter than a six-year-old.”

“They clearly understood you,” Britt said. “And a lot people protesting CRT sound no smarter than a six-year-old โ€ฆ in their native language.โ€

4 No, I did not turn to them abruptly and say, “Can you pass the salt and, also, do you want to hear about controversial U.S. social issues?” We struck up a conversation about how great the restaurant was, and we ended up chatting all lunch. They asked about CRT because something was recently on the news in Spain, but they didn’t fully understand it.