It’s weird when your spouse calls you by your first name.
“You call your friends by their first name, not your wife,” I told Sajan the other day when out of the blue he called me “Sheena.”
Now this is not something I knew before marriage. What I did know is that in the Kerala/Malayalee culture, you never hear a wife utter her husband’s first name, simply as a matter of respect in the culture. Wives call their husbands “Achayan,” what you might even call an affectionate term.
At our first get-together at our new house with family friends, my mothers heard me call Sajan by his first name. I needed his help emptying the trash or something like that.
“You don’t call your husband by his first name in front of elders,” my mom said. Sajan’s mom affirmed my mom’s sentiment.
“Can I call him sugar pie then?”
That didn’t seem to fly either. “Sajanachayan” was their preferred method for me to beckon my husband. Hmm. I think I’ll just stick with “Hey, you, husband.” I’m just not used to rocking the achayan.
Anyway, back to the original point. Sajan and I tend to call each other baby or boo. My personal poll has confirmed many other couples do the same. I think I make up a new name for Sajan on a daily basis, but getting into that right now would take this post off the charts for cheesiness, and I myself might even throw up from the cheese factor. Only in public do we call each other by our first names. Unless, of course, the elders are around and we’re in “hey you” mode.
Bottom line: Husband and wife have a deep, sacred, awe-inspiring relationship. First names just don’t cut it.
What do you think? Do you know of other couples who are perfectly fine using first names?
Read the precursor to this post, Five Things We’ve Learned about Marriage.