First, some background. My wife and I dated for 9 years before we got married. We've been married 19 years, so we've been together for a total of 28 years.
I am running for my local school board and needed to come up with a candidate statement to be printed in the voter guide. There is a strict limit of 200 words for the statement, so brevity is critical. I listed my quantitative qualifications as bullet points, including my relationaship with my wife, a 25-year veteran public school teacher.
When I have the luxury of being more loquacious, I would write/say something like
My wife — we've been together for 28 years — is a 25-year veteran public school teacher.
which indicates we're married (my wife) but also specifies the total length of the relationship (the use of together implies that it is not 28 years of marriage alone). If we had been married the whole time, I could have simply referred to her as my wife of 28 years, but that is not the case.
For the more taciturn statement, however, I need something shorter.
Now, the whole being married thing is not significant to me, but there are voters, even here in San Francisco, who view unmarried couples as less valid or even immoral, so when running for office, since we did actually get married, I might as well include that. But I also wanted to highlight that we had been together for the whole of her career and even before she went into the classroom.
So, is there a word or very short phrase that implies being married but also includes the time of the relationship prior to getting married (both dating and engagement)?
I checked for synonyms of married, but they all refer strictly to the post-marriage period. I also tried the synonyms of together, but didn't find any that really applied well to a relationship, let alone specifying the period before and after marriage.
I ended up leaving out the pre-marriage time in favor of specifying that we're married:
- 19 years married to a 25-year public school teacher
What I would have liked to have said was:
- 28 years _____ with/to a 25-year public school teacher
where the missing word would have included the notion of being married but not exculively so.
Any thoughts? I would also be open to rewording the statement as long as the word count is basically the same.
While this might be mostly curiosity on my part at this point, I will need to do another candidate statement in four (if I'm elected) or two (if I'm not elected) years.