In Zulu wife and woman are the same word -- umfazi. And man and husband are the same word -- indoda. It being inconceivable that a man could become a man, or a woman could become a woman, and not be married.
So, steeped as I am in tradition, I call her my wife, although also being completely current, I refer to her as my virtual SO in that I have never met her. I spoke to her on the phone once. She is not an imaginary woman.
She helps me, tells me little things, encourages me, is tender -- brings me up short now and then but even that comes within a violet-tinged context of great warmth.
I used to try to help her run her life and give her advice, but that never really worked. I think that what I do for her is give her a manageable project, something that doesn't take up too much of her time. It gives her the satisfaction of being a respected voice in my life.
There's a chain of responsibility anyway. I help other people.
It feels like love.
I'm watching TV now.