I mean how do I refer to him?
This is the one question that the law relating to Civil Partnerships seems to have totally overlooked.
If you're engaged, then you are each other’s fiancé after which, if and when you marry, you have a range of possibilities: husband and wife, hubby and missus or her-indoors and him-down-the-pub…
But what word or words do I use when I want to say, "Hello, have you met David, he’s my -----------"?
OK, you could say, "my Civil Partner…" and in some instances (legal, medical or when someone at a party is coming on strong to one’s said CP) these indeed may be the words that should be used.
But it’s really not functional in a normal, everyday kind of way. So what is?
You can’t abbreviate to "my cp" because it sounds weird - sort of damp and oozy - and to the hard of hearing could easily be misheard as "seedy". Apart from which, in the sexual arena, CP has an altogether different meaning and one that is probably best to avoid using if one is to not wanting to excite the prurient or shock those of a nervous disposition.
What about just "Partner" then: well, yes, but… I called him that when we just lived together and people who aren’t wed or civil-partnered call their whatevertheyares partners so that won't quite do... And there is still the potential for confusion with the Other Kind of partner - as in Bradford & Bingley or Gabbitas & Thring…
I’ve never favoured those ubiquitous gay terms such as lover - which sounds too temporary and uncommitted - or boyfriend which is patently ludicrous when used by gents who are not too many bus-rides away from their free bus-passes!
There is of course spouse which is a Middle English word derived from the Old French spous which comes, in turn, from the Latin sponsus, from past participle of spondre: meaning to pledge or, in other words, one promised or betrothed to another.
But the law does not permit this option, as can be seen from various government notices in which spouse and civil partner are comparable by clearly distinct terms.
Our friend, Qenny charmingly refers to his whateveryoucallit as My Lovely Husband™ which is fun but, as he says, is his ™!
Incidentally, the history of the word ‘husband’ is, in itself, fascinating…
The English word husband, even though it is a basic kinship term, is not a native English word. It comes ultimately from the Old Norse word hsbndi, meaning "master of a house," which was borrowed into Old English as hsbnda.So there we are, any suggestions would be helpful - meanwhile, maybe we’ll use Magician and Assistant!
The second element in hsbndi, bndi, means "a man who has land and stock" and comes from the Old Norse verb ba, meaning "to live, dwell, have a household." The master of the house was usually a spouse as well, of course, and it would seem that the main modern sense of husband arises from this overlap.
When the Norsemen settled in Anglo-Saxon England, they would often take Anglo-Saxon women as their wives; it was then natural to refer to the husband using the Norse word for the concept, and to refer to the wife with her Anglo-Saxon (Old English) designation, wf, "woman, wife" (Modern English wife). Interestingly, Old English did have a feminine word related to Old Norse hsbndi that meant "mistress of a house," namely, hsbonde. Had this word survived into Modern English, it would have sounded identical to husband.