I’ve always wondered about this word.
No, not always. Only since I’ve been married.
Before I was married, I thought the “man of the house” called the shots and made all the decisions. The “little woman” would take care of him, the kids, and listen attentively.
Then I got married.
Before marriage, “husband” meant the person taking care of the house and wife. Similarly, the shepherd is the one who herds sheep; but we also say that the shepherd “husbands” the sheep.
In much the same way, back when the word was invented, the husband was the one who took care of and nurtured the household. This definition goes way back, like 5,000 years back.
After marriage, I learned three things. First, women are smart. Really smart. Like smarter than me smart.
Second, I was lucky to marry someone smart and sensitive and patient, so she waited for me to figure out numbers one and three.
Third, letting her make most of the decisions makes my life much easier.
Which brings us back to husband. The idea of it being the person taking care of the house and the bonds within it didn’t mean only men back then. But the English decided to mess with it, and replaced the word “wer” (the person married to the “wife”) with “husband.”
I’m fairly sure that the highly caste-oriented English meant the word to mean that the man was the master. But in today’s environment, I’m not so sure.
So, what does it mean today? Is the man, the “husband,” the master of the house? Or does the word mean that he is the one that the wife has to take care of, the one to be “husbanded?”