13th February 2022

Wedding Readings for Feminists – “Wife” by Ada Limón

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Welcome back to our Sunday segment, Wedding Readings Ideas. Here we source and share some of our favourite texts perfect for weddings. This week we are focusing on wedding readings for feminists. We try and include a variety of ideas so that there is a reading suggestion for every kind of speech at every kind of wedding!

However, if you are looking for a reading suggestion for a specific event, please feel free to leave us a comment. We would love to help you source one.


The Reading

This week’s reading is Wife by Ada Limón.


I’m not yet comfortable with the word,
its short clean woosh that sounds like
life. At dinner last night my single girls
said in admonition, “It’s not wife-approved”
about a friend’s upcoming trip. Their
eyes rolled up and over and out their
pretty young heads. Wife, why does it
sound like a job? “I need a wife” the famous
feminist wrote, “a wife that will keep my
clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced
if need be.” A word that could be made
easily into maid. A wife that does, fixes
soothes, honors, obeys, Housewife,
fishwife, bad wife, good wife, what’s
the word for someone who stares long
into the morning, unable to even fix tea
some days, the kettle steaming over
loud like a train whistle, she who cries
in the mornings, she who tears a hole
in the earth and cannot stop grieving,
the one who wants to love you, but often
isn’t good at even that, the one who
doesn’t want to be diminished
by how much she wants to be yours.

Why We love It

This is one of our favourite wedding readings for feminists, because it is a touching exploration of the word “wife”, taking into account the history behind it. We love the way this poem includes a twist on the traditional wedding vows, which illustrates the old fashioned notions of the word “obey”. Despite the careful deconstruction of what it means to be a wife, the poem remains deeply romantic. The final couplet reinforces how much the author loves their partner, even though they feel inadequate.

If you like this reading, keep your eyes peeled next Sunday and every Sunday from here on out. We will share more wedding readings for feminists, second weddings, vow renewals, and more.