I’d like to introduce my [adjective] wife

Today, my wife and I watched the 2013 United States Presidential Inauguration, and we noticed how much time was given to talking about what Mrs. Obama and their two daughters were wearing, as well as what Mrs. Biden was wearing, yet they didn’t spend any time talking about what the President or Vice President were wearing. It reminds me of how much we communicate that a woman’s value is in her appearance. This post was originally published in August 2011

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much recently. There’s a very good reason for that. I’ve been getting married! You may have also noticed the blog name change as well. If you haven’t, the blog title is currently Richard Matson-Daley instead of Richard L. Daley. Getting married has brought into the practical world many of the things that were simply theoretical beliefs (like what I’ve believed about the significance of names). This is one of those things.

You’ve probably heard the standard introduction from speakers, pastors and others that goes like “I’d like to introduce my beautiful wife…”. It’s pretty ubiquitous, and (at least in my case) very true. My wife is beautiful. Stunning in fact, and I have no problem saying so. Unfortunately, the ubiquity is what makes that statement problematic.

Recently I happened upon a blog post that led to an article that points out the same thing, that when we meet little girls (like younger than 10) we often compliment them on their appearance. We tell them that they are wearing a really pretty dress, that their hair is beautiful, or simply that they are really cute. And when that is consistently the first thing, and often the only thing we compliment them on, we teach them that the thing that is most important is how they look.

Obviously, little girls are more than that. And I don’t think that anyone who compliments a six-year-old girl on the ribbons in her hair thinks that those ribbons form the entirety of their character. But the ubiquity and primacy of these compliments perpetuate the idea that beauty is a prerequisite for worth, if you are a girl. And if nothing else is said, it implies that beauty is the entirety of a girl’s worth.

And the truth is, beauty isn’t why I’m married. I’m married because my wife is brilliant, she graduated from seminary this year with an almost perfect GPA. I’m married because my wife is caring, she cares about individuals, communities and the world. She works really hard at all she does, and gets an amazing amount done. And there’s a host of other reasons, not just because of her looks. And while I could introduce her as my beautiful wife, she is so much more than that.

So I’d like to introduce you to my brilliant, caring, hard working, capable, godly wife Katie Matson-Daley. Oh, and she happens to be beautiful too.

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