My Mama or My Wife: Who’s the No. 1 Woman in a Man’s Life?

[ 0 ] February 6, 2012 |
My Mama or My Wife Whos the No. 1 Woman in a Mans Life

My Mama or My Wife Whos the No. 1 Woman in a Mans Life

It’s funny how there are certain questions in life that you never think about until you have to. I found myself faced with one of those questions the other day: Who do I love more my mama or my wife?

At any other point in my life if I were posed with a question that pitted my mother against any other person, place or thing in the world and the woman who gave me life would win hands down every time. No questions asked. None needed. But recently my ability to answer such a question with absolute and immediate conviction began to waver a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother unconditionally and with all my heart but I can say similar things about my wife. Unlike the latter, though, the Mrs. is someone I chose to love. Somehow that makes this different.

These thoughts came to mind the other day at work when HR gave me life insurance paperwork to update post-wedding. For 35 years (technically less since I never filled out a W4 until my teens) my mother always occupied the top spot on any beneficiary form, followed by my siblings in descending order by age. But as I stared at the paperwork and looked at the blank space for primary benefactor I was unsure of whose name to fill in: my mama or my wife. Beyond that, what was the percentage each woman in my life should receive. A 50/50 split seemed fair, but what about my siblings who have always been part of the equation? Plus, one of them is still technically a minor.

The fair thing seemed to be to split the pot three ways and then divide the last one into thirds so mama and wife would get 33% a piece, and my siblings could get 11% each. It seemed fair in theory, but somehow these arbitrary numbers felt wrong. My mother and wife only get 33% of my (financial) love. And my siblings get a measly 11% a pop?

I sought out the counsel of someone who may have possibly gone through a similar decision-making process for a possible solution to my conundrum. A married friend on IM suggested simply splitting things down the middle between my mama and my wife 50/50 and just nixing my siblings altogether. But I’ve known them all their lives and they’ve always held a spot on my secondary dependent list. Does a wife’s position trump three blood relatives with a simple “I Do” and vow of eternal love and loyalty? That’s not to say I, or anyone else, should love my wife more than my actual family, but there’s a different level of love in that relationship and in a sense more obligation attached. My bills are now her debt, and in the event of my demise she would be solely responsible for that, along with any offspring we produce.

See, getting a wife shuffles the deck of life. My mother always played the role of Queen in my life, while I was the King and my siblings served as other trump cards in my suit. Once my wife came into the game she completed my top 5 check by being my Ace of Spades. If that’s truly her role in my life and the cards analogy holds true then I have my answer: My wife (technically) outranks my mother.

Now, that’s not something I say with malice or ill intent to my mother, because she will always be my rock. It’s just now I have two primary women in my life. It’s something I think even my mother understands and saw coming. Before leaving our wedding reception she said something to me that I initially brushed off but now I get it: “I love you and I’m proud of you. Now I’m you’re No. 2, but you’ll always be my No. 1 son… Shhh, don’t tell your brothers.”

Does a spouse automatically trump a parent’s role in your life? Should your spouse receive more than your parents in your will? Do you think it’s possible to split the love equally between your parents or your spouse or does someone always wind up coming in second place?

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