1. People & Relationships

Readers Respond: Pros and Cons to Changing Your Name When You Get Married

Responses: 205

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Tradition

For those who want to argue tradition, passing the last name and heirlooms of the mother came long before what is currently argued as the tradition of taking the husband's last name. Interestingly enough, during the earliest periods, persons didn't draw the connecting line between sexual intercourse resulting in a baby...you would say they just thought that females had some sort of power because they popped kids out at random. So, for those who argue tradition, adhering to tradition would ultimately mean taking the mother's last name. Keeping your last name doesn't mean anything about disrespect, etc. It means maintaining your individuality; men get to do this, no questions asked. One might argue that I might love a prospective husband less or respect him less if I don't take his last name as my own (not true at all); if we play this game, shouldn't it mean that he loves/respects me less for not taking mine?
—Guest Gwen

Where does your last name come from?

I commend women who keep their last name, give it to their children or hyphenate it, but I'm not so sure that I will myself. I am currently engaged and thought I would want to keep my last name - it's a part of who I am! But my last name is not my mother's last name, it is my father's. And my father's last name was not his mother's, it came from his father. I don't know what my name would be if we had passed names on from the women; the names are lost in history. I'm still undecided on what I'll do (currently engaged) but I gave my daughter her father's last name. I gave her my middle name as a way of passing on something from my side.
—Guest Alura Dawn

absolutely

Absolutely, women should change their name when married. It is a sign of respect to the man who shall probably provide for and protect her and their future children.
—Guest womenAreProperty

What is a rose...

Does choosing the last name of a person set the personality/honor of the family name? I'm female and I have my father's last name, which is maternal. I'm the only one of his eight children who is passing his last name on to the next generation; because of the eight boys and girls, only five of us have his last name. As for my daughter, she has my last name, not her father's. Since I reared her to be an independent person, she may keep her last name or she may adopt a new name. Who knows? It's the character of the person that demonstrates honor, respect, and concern. You can take the famous name "George Washington" and be a tyrant, which calls for reproach. What you choose should not be so important as to what you are adding to the history of the family and humanity as a whole. Whatever the name is, add character that is worth remembering generations to come; because a rose called by any other name is still a rose.
—Guest Audrie Noble Strength

Don't change your last name-50% divorce

You are not property. You take his name and rid yourself of your family to join his family as your own. This has got to stop. Many baby girls are being aborted for this reason…”she will be a burden on us, she will not carry our name, only a son will do, get rid of her” attitude exists! Women need to be proud of their birth families. Many kids don’t even know their mother's family name, which is their own blood. In my country, I can trace back at least 15 generations on both sides because I come from Spain, where all CHILDREN TAKE THE MOTHERS LAST NAME! I am shocked at how old fashioned American women are! American women are like from the 1800s. This is how my country works: Example: Father’s name: John Lopez Mano Mother’s Name: Maria Ortiz Silva child’s Name: Shelia Mano Silva This is the LAW IN MY COUNTRY! Child grows and gets married is: Husband: Adam Smith Seize Wife: Shelia Mano Silva (never changes name upon marriage) Child: Melissa Seize Silva 2nd Child
—Guest Tula Bell

It makes you think

I took my husband's name when I got married. But when we got divorced I changed it back. The ridiculous thing is that in FL they charge the woman to revert back, unless the judge agrees in the divorce proceedings. They do not have to. It was going to cost up to $800 for the privilege! Fortunately for me, the judge let me change back with no cost. Keep your own name.
—Guest Belinda

Last name change

I have mixed opinions on this matter. You see, I was born in the US but spent most of my life in another country where women do not change their last names when tthey get married. Now that I moved back to the US, with our baby, who has her daddy's last name, the question arises. I think that when you have a child you want for all three or more members of the same family to have the same last name. Before the baby, I never even thought of it. I do not think women should give up their identity. After all, that is the name I was born with, grew up with, got my college degree with and have been using in my job for so many years. What happens to that person? Does she disappear when she gets married? I don't know.
—Guest Tina

Personal Choice Continued

My family has several strong maternal lines in my ancestry. My direct maternal line has been here in the US since the 17-1800s. For awhile we had trouble tracing any of our family lines back to Europe because some of my ancestors arrived before the country existed so almost no records still exist. It turns out most of my family came over either during the time of the great famines in Ireland in the 1800s or the famines in Germany in the 1700s from what we can determine thus far. One of my direct line maternal ancestors was born in Pennsylvania in the mid 1770s my mom was just telling me the other day and is only like 4-6 generations back from me, and we're pretty sure her mother was born here as well just cant pin down the year. So I've even thought of possibly changing my last name even if i don't get married& adopting the surname of one of my maternal ancestors as a way to honor the strong matriachal lineage I have. Also, my dad's surname means "little dumpling". Ugh.
—Guest Charles

personal choice

So glad to see that at least one person said their husband changed their name to match theirs! :D I think it's a personal choice for everyone, I see nothing wrong with each keeping their own or hyphenating or any arrangement they come to, but it should be talked about before they even think about getting engaged much less married in my view, and not left until right before the wedding and then they find out they can't even agree on a name and no longer want to be together suddenly because of it. Personally, I've always been fascinated by the old tradition of women's surnames being the ones passed down where she keeps her name, the children have her name or a combination possibly, and often even the husband would hyphenate or just more likely outright change his name to match her surname. I've thought a lot about asking to change my name to my wife's if i ever meet someone and get married. Surprisingly, nearly all my female friends discourage this adamantly.
—Guest Charles

Try this!!

The majority of women who won't change their name is a psychological issue. Most of the time it means that you can not let go of the past, and in turn you feel as though you are giving up your dominance in the relationship. If names should not matter as some of the obvious liberals here have posted; then, what's the harm in changing your last name? If you don't, then you probably don't expect the relationship to last or you have another lover from whom you are trying to conceal facts.
—Guest okidoki

taking his name was my choice

I recently got married, and I am changing my name to his. I had been known in the past to say that I have spent years being the person I am and that I am proud of my name and would keep it. My husband was ok with whatever I decided to do. I chose to honor him by taking his name. Not what I expected but want to do. He has said that he was glad that I made that decision but did indeed leave it to me. I am, however, hyphenating at work for awhile just to keep confusion at a minimum.
—Guest elkendog

sad

I find it sad that women even have this dilemma at all. Men do not. They would waste no time pondering it. "What is in a name anyway? " Why, everything - your ethnicity, heritage, childhood, identity. Imagine being born a Fitzgerald and becoming a Capoyianes. You are 100% Irish, but now you are Greek. Ladies, by all means retain your name. As for children, they should get their mom's name. After all, you will always know who your mama is; papas can come and go. Another thought: couples could create a new name. The information age makes following ancestry a breeze, no need to carry a name.
—Guest dreyfus

1st world problems

Who cares? Either your with the tradition or your not. Why get married in the first place? If people know you're together shouldn't that in itself be good enough? When people know the couple involved, it most definitely isn't because of last names.
—Guest ben

new world, new norms

My husband comes from a very traditional family. Women changing their names is expected. I did not change my name. Is this a deal breaker? Heck no. Why? Because the world is not the same place it was 50 years ago. I am as much as a hislastname as he is a mylastname. Neither of us are our combined names either. We both have professional careers. It's not a feminist thing. It's a change in the world thing. Men are nurses, house keepers and stay at home dads. Women are welders, mechanics and engineers. The old world is dead and gone... so are the antiquated traditions.
—Guest Andie

Why Change your name

My husband and I have been fighting over this for a while now because I have kept my maiden name and even when I give him the list of people that he and I both know who never changed their names, he sees it as me not respecting him. He says it's very important to him and to me it isn't that big of an issue.
—Guest Amanda

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