Sweet Nothings

I’ve been watching HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” One of the tribes that we follow is the Khaleesi, who are very primitive and earthy. Their Khal (leader) is Drogo, a huge, well-muscled man (the actor who plays him will be starring in the new Conan the Barbarian film later this year), and his wife is a petite blond from another tribe. One thing that struck me about their relationship is that they refer to each other with pet names. She calls him “My Sun and Stars,” and he calls her “Moon of My Life.” It’s very sweet, but totally unexpected in that setting.

The Church website has a page on strengthening affection between marriage partners. One of the symptoms they give to look out for is “you use few terms of endearment.”

So how do you measure up? Do you and your honey bunny use terms of endearment, and if so, what are your favorites (come on, suck it up and just absorb the embarrassment of sharing!)? If not, do you see that as a “symptom” to watch out for in your relationship, per the church article?


  1. My wife long ago put me in my place. “I want you to call me by my name!”

  2. Latter-day Guy says:

    his wife is a petite blond from another tribe

    Well, the only (now) living heir to a (justifiably) deposed dynasty of another kingdom, really. :-)

  3. Me too, Bob.
    That’s because Dr. B. calls me your mother. As in, “Where is your mother?” and “Did your mother make dinner yet?” Does that count as a pet name?

  4. jJulie M. Smith says:

    I know a couple who uses different names when they are mad at each other. (IOW, if their real names were Fred and Ginger, they call each other Harold and Ruth when they are angry.) I think this is a brilliant idea, but I’m not entirely sure why.

  5. pengu9in@aol.com says:

    i love how all the TBms i know dont watch r rated movies, but they love game of thrones and dexter which have way more nudity , but its not officialy rated r so they’re covered. lol

  6. I call my wife Mi-chan (from my days in Japan). (“Mi” meaning “beautiful”.)

  7. Latter-day Guy says:

    Hey, hey now. Some of us watch Game of Thrones and R-rated films. (BTW, pengu9in, the spaces for your email address and moniker have switced places. I learned that the hard way too.)

  8. pengu9in, I love how you are an idiot. lol

    Bye, bye.

  9. HBO is defacto offlimits for *real* TBMers, especially after Big Love. The others are posers :) Love the high production values and assume that some of the over the top nudity and sex will settle down as it marches on just as it did in BL.

    Lots of “babe” in our house, but half the time I regret it. In our younger years we used “Grrr” and “Buff” – shorthand for girlfriend and boyfriend. That at least had an authentic homemade feel to it. Thinking about it now I realize I like using real names because it feels more personable and humanizing, especially in diminutive form if the name has one. It can help remind you that you are people and not just the family roles we fall into – a big risk in long marriages I think.

  10. reed russell says:

    Kumquat works for me. Corn flake is a close second.

  11. We have pet names, but they are never used in public.

    However, there is something endearing about referring to each other formally — as Mr and Mrs.

  12. Mommie Dearest says:

    My dh calls me Mommie Dearest. It’s playfully passive-aggressive that way, with a tinge of endearment and cynical sarcasm at the same time.

  13. Can’t believe Latter-day Guy missed the more glaring mistake, the tribe are the Dothraki, khaleesi is the title for the wife of the khal.

    Babe mostly, älskling (Swedish most directly translated as darling), and hun get thrown around too.

  14. andrew h says:

    Can any pet name really top this one from the movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”:

    “You’re my little chu-chi face My coo-chi, coo-chi, woo-chi little chu-chi face”

  15. He calls me “Tink” — short for TinkerBell. He claims it’s because I’m short and curvy like TinkerBell, but I sometimes suspect it’s because I can have a bit of a temper and am petulant at times too. I refuse to call him by his nickname that everyone else uses and instead use his full given name (I think it’s a beautiful name and shouldn’t be shortened).

  16. Kevin Barney says:

    Dwight no. 13, thanks so much for the correction. I haven’t read the books and from just listening to it got a little bit confused by the different words. (There’s a lot to absorb in that mythical world.)

    (It didn’t even occur to me that people wouldn’t watch Game of Thrones because of the violence and nudity, that’s how far gone I am. I watch R-rated films without giving it a second thought.)

  17. Latter-day Guy says:

    Gah. You’re right, Dwight. I totally missed that. BTW, Kevin, if you have any spare reading time, I cannot recommend the books highly enough. They’re fantastic.

  18. Matthew Chapman says:

    My wife insisted I never address her by her given name.

    Mostly, I called her, “sweetheart”, sometimes, “darling”, occasionally, “my darling sweetheart”.

    When in public, I generally introduced her as, “My remarkably intelligent and beautiful wife”, after which she would add, “I’m Elizabeth Chapman”.

  19. My wife read #1 and said “Well__ sometimes your ‘cookie face’ or ‘child bride’ are OK.

  20. I read the book Game of Thrones and got so depressed that I couldn’t bring myself to read the rest of them – in spite of the undeniable quality of Martin’s characters, plot and writing.


    The girl that Kevin Barney is talking about here is, along with her selfish and sadistic brother, the last living heir of a dynasty that was overthrown years ago. She’s lived in hiding her whole life. Her brother sells her as a child bride to this Genghis Khan sort of character (Drogo) at the age of… I think it was thirteen or less. On her wedding night, she watches several of the “Mongol warriors” butcher each other (a common tradition at the weddings), watches several of the female wedding dancers raped (another common tradition), gets a new horse as a present, and heads out to the hills to get deflowered by her husband.

    And her’s is probably the most cheerful personal story in the entire book, because she at least ends up enjoying her husband and new way of life.

    Which gives you a pretty good picture of how utterly grim the rest of the characters’ stories are. People are raped, killed, betrayed on an unbelievably regular basis. Great writing, and wonderfully vivid characters, but… but… It’s like Martin went out of his way to make things as gritty, dirty, and emotionally wrenching as possible.

    I guess the moment I decided to drop the series came when I came to the realization that George R.R. Martin was probably going to have EVERY LAST ONE of his female characters betrayed and raped. The misogyny was a bit much for me, and I didn’t check out the next book from the library.

  21. I haven’t read the book, but the series is nowhere near that bleak so far Seth. That doesn’t sound like something I’d enjoy reading though. I loved the pet names in the show just because it was so unexpected coming from this guy who is portrayed as such a savage.

    The pet names in my marriage are Love Buns and Babe. I’d rather not say which name goes with which person.

  22. Kevin Barney says:

    Seth, I have a friend who has read the books. He warned me not to get attached to any character…

  23. Latter-day Guy says:

    I guess the moment I decided to drop the series came when I came to the realization that George R.R. Martin was probably going to have EVERY LAST ONE of his female characters betrayed and raped.

    Betrayed, yeah. Raped, no, not quite. But everybody gets betrayed. Plus –– believe it or not –– you actually come to like Jamie Lannister. I’d never have believed it when I finished the first book, but he turns out to be cooler than you might imagine. The characters are all so well-realized and multi-dimensional; pretty much everyone has a good –– or at least understandable –– reason for doing what they do. (Apart from Cersei, whom I hate with the fire of a thousand suns.)

  24. No pet-name as such but I call my wife ‘B’ rather than Beth. I guess I consider that a term of endearment.

  25. Highly recommend the books. I wouldn’t call them dark–they’re not horror, and they don’t pretend to be–but I will warn that they can be brutal. War isn’t nice in the real world, and it’s not nice in these books. Even for the protagonists. I actually go back and re-read the series each time a new book comes out, which means I read them every five or six years…
    Yes, he’s slow. It’s a masterpiece. He should take his time and get it right.

    As far as “terms of endearment,” I can’t stand most of them. My wife called me “hubbie” a couple of times before I told her I hated it. I generally stick to “hey beautiful.” I really don’t think pet names are vital to a relationship, but I do think it helps to share little signs, whether they be words, looks, touches, etc.

  26. I thought the Game of Thrones was a rip off of Robert Jordan’s Game of Houses. Little did I know…

    45 years of marriage and no terms of endearment here. Most of the time my husband doesn’t even use my name; I am just ‘your mother’ or ‘she’. At least that way he doesn’t call me by his ex-wife’s name by accident!

  27. Robert Jordan’s books suffered from every last one of his female characters being, basically, the exact same character. It got very monotonous.

  28. I call both my husband and children “darling” or “dearest”. He calls me Babe on occasion. We also seem to like food pet names- Cupcake, Pumpkin, etc. My FIL insists on referring to my MIL as his “girlfriend”, which annoys me to no end.

  29. I’ve called my 9 year old daughter “weskit” ever since she was 3.

    No one knows where I got the nickname from, or what it means, but it stuck, and I’ve called her that ever since. She hated it for a while, but she seems to secretly enjoy the affection behind it now.

  30. Kristen Says No says:

    Muffinpiefacebutt. Really.
    We only call each other by our real names when we are mad.

  31. Kevin Barney says:

    Muffinpiefacebutt?! Holy cow, I think we have a winner!

  32. Pet names I use for my wife:

    deer head

    She calls me:

    muskrat hoof

  33. my brother-in-law addresses my sister as Oh My Queen.

  34. Foxy Roxy when I call her up as I am starting my commute home. Sweet peach and Mrs B when we’re around the house. She makes me laugh when she calls me Fred with Tires recalling a Herb Ritts exhibit we once attended while dating.

  35. I call my kids Bunny, Bean and Noodle. No husband to endear anymore, but there are people who don’t know Bean has another name, and they probably think I’m insane.

  36. Anonthistime says:

    Do pet names for, um, body parts count?

  37. When we moved to the south a few years ago, we started adding “Mr.” and “Miss” to our names. As in Mr. Jay and Miss Jane. It makes me feel all proper and ladylike and such. Other members of the extended family have started doing it, too.

  38. Kevin Barney says:

    Jen, that makes me think of the concluding scene of the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice…

  39. StillConfused says:

    My husband calls me “turbo”. I call my husband “husband”.

  40. I call my husband by his whole name because I like it. Everyone else uses a shoetened version. Also sometimes we call each other The Boss. We nickname our kids. We’ve got a Lala, and a Lola also known as Rollin’ cause the five year old can’t say Lauren, Jujube sometimes just known as Juju formerly known as Carrier Smidgin, now often called The Deputy, there is a Gawa short for Veronica because younger brother couldn’t say it, she also goes by Joy Joy double of her middle name also Roni, VJP, then Benj short for Benjamin but never Jimmy, and Samuel who has assumed the most alter egos Heart, but never darlin’, Puppy, Ninja Heart, Samuel Matthew Boomerang (he likes to be addressed by the entire title), Sammy Boy, he also likes to pretend his last name is his cousins last name because ours is a boring last name. My whole life wanting a common name for any if my names and my five year old thinks our last name is too boring.

  41. Thomas Parkin says:

    I’m making my way through the second Game of Thrones book, now. There have been some scenes that had me almost giving up. But, the characterizations are so vivid and the plot so multidimensional and involving. I did give up on the HBO series. It was interesting enough … but so so HBO, so sounds of thighs and whatnot. Plus, it kind of suffers in the same way any movie based on Dune suffers. There just isn’t time to deal with the intricacies that make the books so engaging.

    Thanks for the spoiler LDG, I was hoping Jaime was going to lose his head at any moment!!

  42. CS Eric says:

    She was “Cutie,” I was “Bear.” Not very imaginative.

    The kids she babysat called her “Hun.”

  43. Seth, when I read the book, Martin had terrible problems with scale. A unit would act like a platoon in one chapter, a brigade in another, a squad in another. It was if he needed to spend a week-end at a class on logistics and unit organization. Drove me batty reading the first book. [Ok, I used to work in simulations and my was around a lot of career military types growing up. I model those things in the back of my head, often, when reading. Elizabeth Moon gets it right, over and over again. Her writing plays in the background like graceful music. Martin was jarring, it broke out of my subconscious over and over.]

    Otherwise, I call my wife “Gorgeous” often. It just fits.

  44. Stephen, that’s a common problem with military fantasy writers – they don’t have a lick of military common sense.

    Terry Brooks and David Eddings (two of my childhood favorites) sucked at it (their battle strategies are horribly conceptualized). Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman, get around it by avoiding the military tactics and strategy as much as possible and keeping it personal. J.R.R. Tolkien compensates by keeping his tactics so basic and vague as to sound appropriately legendary. Most show a lack of medieval weaponry and fighting too.

    Just an example – how many fantasy novels have you read where the two-handed sword is presented as some sort of anti-armor tool?

    I’ll give you a hint – it was used for nothing of the sort. Trying to use it that way would have been a complete disaster.

    But anyway….

  45. Oh, I’ve never read Elizabeth Moon. Any series by her you would recommend?

  46. Not dark? Let’s just say that when my friend introduced me to the books (which happen to be his favorite) he said, “Well, just don’t get too attached to any of the characters.” And he was so right.

    As for the rest, I was only called a pet name when I wasn’t doing what my ex wanted.

  47. Matt W. says:

    Here are some terms of endearment I use with my wife.

    “I love you”

    “You are amazing”

    “You make my life better.”

    Don’t those count?

  48. Sugar-booger– stole that one from Jimmy Neutron
    Smottie– conjunction of “smokin’ hottie” which I take credit for
    Darlin’– by extension my sole daughter has become “little darlin'”

    We’ve used pet names all throughout our 20+ years of togetherness. Lately, the only real use for our actual given names is for her to signal to me her general dissatisfaction with some household chore I was assigned to perform and for me to signal to her that I’ve been looking at the bank statements.

  49. anonforthis says:

    My wife uses “swittert” (condensation of sweetheart). My daughter has been “Mimi” or “Amy Loohoo”. The boys have been “buddy” (me) or “baby” (my wife); the older boy often gets called by his initials. The youngest has initials that are great but not in this part of the country (didn’t dissuade us from using those names, though).

  50. Bro. Jones says:

    We have many, many pet names. Mine has mostly been Goober or Honey. The wife is any or all of: Boo, Bookin, Punkin, Noodle, Panookin, (Name)-amundala, Sweetness, Cuteness. Usually Noodle, because I call our daughter Noodle Jr.

  51. Ben Pratt says:

    I’ve heard and read lots of good things about Game of Thrones. Thanks for another push toward the library.

    As for sweet nothings, we have them, but we do not sell them for comment glory. We hold them sacred.

  52. Reggie L. says:

    No one else seems to have mentioned this, but the tribe Kevin is talking about are the Dothraki. Khaleesi is Danaerys’ title.

  53. Kevin Barney says:

    Reggie, that was picked up in 13 and 16, but thanks for the correction in any event. You are of course correct.

    In last night’s episode we get dragons!

  54. Elouise says:

    Dovie and others–At a high school reunion a few years ago, one classmate from 45 years ago regularly addressed her husband by his full name–let’s say, “Harry Richardson.” She’d say, “Do you want more salad, Harry Richardson?” “Did you find the coach, Harry Richardson?” I’d never heard that form of address between husband and wife before, but found something charming about it.
    It was clearly a fond and loving term, and definitely endearing to this bystander.

  55. My husband calls me Punky or Punk (short for Pumpkin, or possibly a commentary on my hairstyle and clothing choices when we married, or possibly on my figure as we very quickly added our first baby, whom he addressed as “Seed” for a long time.) I call him Bun-head. Our oldest is Bugnuts (’cause she was cute as a…), our boy is The Boy or Collywog, our middle girl is Spicy, or The Flea, and the littlest is The Tagger, or Eggie. We refer to our children as “it” when they are tiny (Oh, It’s hungry again… I think It wants changed), and our Minions when larger.I don’t know that any of those are terribly endearing.

    When I was a teenager, I was poking around in my parent’s senior yearbook, and came across a picture of a really cute football player… signed below was, “To Kitten… Love, Tiger.” So I was pretty convinced my mom had a hot, steamy romance… until she pointed out that “Tiger” was my father, and then it all seemed a little squicky.

    I do think pet names within a marriage make for at least some fun stories.

  56. My husband I and call each other Babys. Neither of us can remember where it started. We do it without thinking and every once in a while a friend with a sharp ear will say, “Did you just say Babys?” It’s tapered of a bit now that we have a baby. Sweetie is a stand-by favorite. We also have several varieties of “-pants,” you know, handsome pants, sexy pants, smarty pants.

    As far as the warning signs go, it’s not so much about actual terms of endearment as it is about preventing “negative sentiment override.” According to marriage researchers (i.e. John Gottman) the ratio of positive comments to negative in your relationship should be about 5:1.

  57. Bill and I call each other “hon.” Sometimes I call him “George” and he calls me “Martha.” When I’m trying to talk him into doing something, like painting, I call him “Sweetheart.” When he’s trying to talk me into doing something, like, uh….he calls me “baby.” When I’m mad at him I call him “you ********** jack******* ********!!” He never calls me bad names.