A Letter to My Superhero Wife

Hey, babe, you are my superhero!

I have been doing some research, and I want to share something with you.

You might not know this, but the modern usage of that term “superhero” has evolved from its first use. Today it is used of fictional characters with special powers. And even though there are a few heroines who receive that title, in modern culture the word “superhero” usually brings male figures to mind: Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Ironman, man, man, man . . .

Well, the word really was not originally created to refer to male figures at all. For a period of time, it was not intended as a designation for men with special powers but, rather, as a designation to be used by godly men for their wives.

See, when a thankful man thinks about his awesome wife, he needs a vocabulary capable of expressing his amazement. Silence won’t do in those moments of sincere wonder over his perfect companion.

A man needs interjections.

For example, you already know that the word “woman” itself was coined when Adam saw Eve for the first time. “Wo, man!” was an expression used by the first man about his wife. It captured his wonder perfectly. For the earliest men, the expression itself was used as a noun. A husband would refer to his wife this way in his sentences, especially when he prayed: “God, thank you for my ‘Wo, man!’” Eventually, the phrase became the noun “woman.”

Well, as words will do, they can lose their impact with familiarity. “Woman” became the ordinary word for a man’s wife, no matter how moved he was by God’s goodness to him. Therefore, in time men of wifely wonder would seek new ways to express their admiration.

This need for powerful expression led directly to the coining of the word “superhero.”

At some point, a man in history looked at his awesome wife and reached for a new phrase to capture his emotions. So he blurted out what came naturally from the inside: “Super her, O!”

It sounded a bit disjointed, but it was the fruit of his heart and mind straining to express his wonder. Though awkward, others quickly realized that the order of these words captured the main things quite well: adjective, object, exclamation.

The adjective needed to attribute greatness. The object needed identification with a pronoun. The exclamation needed to be simple and profound: “Super!” “Her!” “O!”

It was a phrase lofty, pointed, and heartfelt.

So it quickly caught on. Godly men everywhere were praying, “God, thank you for my ‘Super her, O!’”  Over time, they simply said: “God, thank you for my superhero!”

I’ll tell you something else, most people think that the word “hero” came first and that “superhero” is its intensification. But now you can see that this assumption is actually quite backwards.

The original phrase was shortened as awesome women everywhere were appreciated in their proper light by godly men. They were simply the “heroes” of society, worthy of wonder.

But somewhere along the line, society began to twist the usage. Men who were sinfully dissatisfied with their wives were unwilling to use the label “hero” for them, much less the adjective “super.” As these men gained popularity, the strength of their resistence increased.

They began to tell myths of women with supernatural abilities and only apply the label “superhero” to them. The whole attempt was an excuse to complain. By constructing “Wonder Woman” and “Super Woman,” they sought to breed discontent among other men who would compare their wives’ abilities to the abilities of these imagined females.

And it succeeded among men of ingratitude. Worthless men would soon begin to use the word “superhero” of male characters. Increasingly, women were underappreciated and marginalized by men. The repertoire of fictional men with special powers grew and grew until society had long forgotten the reason for the word’s coining. “Super Woman” became “Super Man” and superheros became male. Eventually, men became more enthralled with fictional tales than with the actual life stories of their wives.

But I want you to know something.

I am not a man who is unthankful to God for the woman he has given to me. I am not more impressed with fake movie feats than with the truly supernatural work that it took for you to commit to live your life with me. Nor will I be more in awe of flying men in tights than with your ability to be my wife, the mother of my children, and a respectable woman of class in our society. I am not going to be a husband who marvels at Marvel when it is so much better to wonder at my woman.

Like I said, I have been doing some research. And I have found that you are the best thing that ever happened to me. You are the greatest gift that God has given me in this world. I love to laugh with you and live with you. And I love to think about you.

And when I do that, I need interjections.

That’s why you are my “Super her, O!”–my superhero.

I love you and need you, not so much for your help but for the sense of wonder that you bring to me every day.

Glenn