Monday, February 14, 2011

Work Spouse and Valentine Gifts

I suppose this proves I'm behind the times, or just don't think like the rest of the world, but this morning I was shocked when I heard the Fox News commentator use the the term "work spouse" in a feature story about Valentine's Day gift giving.

"What on earth is a work spouse?" I thought.

Well, here's a definition:
A man or woman in the workplace with whom one shares a special relationship having bonds similar to those of a marriage: special confidences, loyalties, shared jokes and experiences, and unusual degree of honesty or openness.
Bonds similar to marriage? Really? What this sounds like to me is friendship, not marriage. While many people do marry their best friend because such a depth of compatibility draws them together, marriage is so much more than having bonds. There is a relationship much deeper than superficial bonds; there is intimacy that I, in no way, shape or form share with a co-worker.

I have several special friendships with people from many different facets of my busy life, none of whom substitute for my husband. I think the term is ridiculous. I also consider it offensive to marriage and to the the sacramental vows the majority of couples enter when they marry.

In answer to the Fox News Team's question about what one work spouse should get for another on Valentines Day, the answer is: NOTHING!

Buy your spouse of Valentine gift if you choose to celebrate the secular holiday...otherwise, save your cash for therapy if you think its appropriate to have a work spouse!


Allison said...

It's language like "work spouse" that makes it harder to argue against homosexual marriage. The attacks on marriage just don't stop. It's all fun and games until two families are torn apart by the need to actually marry the "work spouse"....

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Until now, I haven't heard of the term 'workspouse', but I have seen those kinds of relationships at my place of work. I'm wondering if one such relationship contributed to the break-up of a co-worker's marriage, especially since the two are now living together. Sad.

Catherine Liberatore said...

Amen, Kathy! The whole "work spouse" thing is an atrocity. The worst part is that these relationships often have some bizarre clandestine elements to them.

Anonymous said...

The first time I heard the term was about 10 to 15 years ago. It was used as a joke back in those days to describe a person who kept all administrative issues under control. Kind of like a real wife does at home. She keeps the home running so that her husband's job is easier. The work wife took care of many tasks so that the man's job at work was easier. This person wasn't necessarily a secretary. In fact, it would not have been appropriate to call the secretary a work wife. I know someone whose wife referred to her husband's right hand man at work as his work wife. It was meant entirely in jest. I didn't know it had become a well used term. The definition you cited was not the one I would have used at least back then.