I’m a bit finicky about my words, at times. But there are some terms I will switch out interchangeably with ease – such as spouse and husband, though a slight tendency towards the former.
Isn’t “husband” more common? Isn’t it correct? Some people don’t even know what “spouse” is supposed to mean, or will assume it’s not a man because you don’t say “husband”!
I make it pretty well known that I am bi – I am attracted to same gender and other gendered people. True, many people would consider this “pan” and not “bi” but for me bi was a difficult title to find and have accepted, so I’m not ready to trade it out.
As a result, I don’t think anyone should assume the gender of any of my partners. I don’t mind someone asking, but I do mind assuming. Seeing that I am female and jumping to the conclusion that it means my partner must be male is a peeve of mine, as it is a symptom of heteronormativity (by default someone is straight until clearly expressed otherwise) and bi-erasure (you can be gay, or straight, but not really in the middle). By using the term “spouse” I encourage ambiguity, I lead people to ask instead of assuming. It’s a small way of normalizing non-straight relationships in the day-to-day world.
Plus, I just generally like a gender-neutral term better! Why does it matter what gender my partner is?
And then there’s the fact that my spouse is currently a student and home maker… because while most people would use “house-husband” I love the rhythm and rhyme of “house-spouse”!
So in the end, I will use both terms, and yes my spouse is male, but over all I tend towards, and prefer, spouse. Before we were married I used “S.O.” or “Significant Other” for the same kinds of reason (minus the rhyme) and still do from time to time – a piece of paper doesn’t make it less accurate, but generally I go to spouse to pick my battles when it comes to confusion.