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

Responses: 151

By

Change it

A woman should feel proud to take her husband's last name. On my wedding day I was so proud when they announced for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Our children carry his name. We are a family. The Bible says the two become one. You are to cleave on to your husband and leave your family. This means your name, too. If you truly love your husband, take his name.
—Guest sks

Meme

Bravo, Guest Sarah, the only truly intelligent post here.
—Guest GuestMe

Both should change

Marriage is a concept that two united people should embrace. So, both the husband and wife should change their names. If the wife's last name is to be hyphenated, then so is the husband's last name. That is honestly the fairest way to go.
—Guest Cassi

NO NAME CHANGE AFTER MARRIAGE

I am not in favor of changing name after marriage. If man can live whole his life with his birth name, why can't we? This tradition is so widespread that nowadays nobody even asks a girl whether she wants to change her name after marriage. Elder people do it themselves, and when some girls dared to change their name, they are forced to do that. Why so? I want to see women living their own identity for their entire life. I am not saying that women who choose to change their name after marriage can not have their own identity. But it must be her personal decision whether to stick with maiden name or accept her husband's name. Nobody should force her.
—Guest Aanal Bharat Trivedi

Stats show more women are changing

Statistically, the practice of women keeping their maiden name peaked in the early 90s and has declined ever since. More and more women (the vast majority - almost 90 percent in most studies) are choosing to change their name. Women who keep their name are a smaller and smaller minority. And guess what? The 90 percent who change their name don't turn into brainless robots! That's just a ridiculous fairy tale women tell themselves when they need the women's movement for intellectual and emotional support, when they're not strong enough to deal with the world on their own steam. Seriously, how many Stepford wives do you actually know? I think in my entire life I've met one. According to my women's studies profs, this mythical creature is everywhere. Ha. Here's a concept: I chose to date him. I chose to to marry him. I chose his name. All choices made by me. So, yeah. Not surrendering my identity there. I'm choosing my identity. Feminists are not often noted for their critical thinking.
—Guest Magdalena

Religious concerns for B-A-Christian me

The issue for me and I am engaged and he cares more about what I want to do, and he has a lovely last name, there are places with his name in America, my family's last name, because, "Hey I'm not a maiden, but i was independent younger and am more cooperative now, my family name is an embarrassing name that is one letter short of a bad word in English in my opinion. The issue I am struggling with is I overcame the issue of my family name made it a good thing, as good as my family. Also, religiously I feel God calls me by this whole name including last name, so if i take his last name I don't want to feel like I don't appreciate the name God gave me before marriage even when I was picked on most of my life into adulthood until I made the jokes and laughed with them about it and God helped me know myself by this name I was hurt by others for having. So, I need to figure out if I can, after all God did for me while he called me by this name he gave me, take another name when I marry my man. It's not easy.
—Guest crystal

What does it matter?

The relationship matters, not the name. If the commitment is strong, and your partner is happy, I don't believe he would care if you called yourself whatever name you feel comfortable with. I have been married 22 years. I still use my ex-husband's name because of my daughter. My son with my new husband has his name. I use both at times. With so many problems in the world right now, focus life's attention on making the world a better place. The name doesn't make the individual a better person the way they love their life does.
—Guest sjtw

IF IS NOT YOUR NATURAL NAME

I believe and know that the last name is given to us after birth from your blood that represents your father and mother. There is not explanation or normal thing to say by law. The woman has the husband's last name because they are married or because they have children. There is no way that the blood is transferred from the husband to the wife and alter the nature that is ridiculous to change their name. I understand when the woman is an ignorant or has bad reputation, she can adopt another last name to clean her history a little bit, but after divorced has to remove the last name of the ex-husband and go back to the real name and confront the reality and accept it good or bad.
—Guest RAQUEL

divided

I kept my ex's last name, and I am currently struggling with whether to drop my ex's name as we have three children. My common-law husband and I have a son as well, and I honestly want to hyphenate or perhaps use my ex's name as my middle name. I just don't know at this point, but it has nothing to do with independence. I love and adore my husband and I loathe my ex. I want to represent all my children and being that they are 10, 6, and 6, it is my worry that they will not understand the dynamics of it and feel that I no longer wish to have "their" name without recognizing that it is their "father's name" that I no longer wish to have, so I will most likely hyphenate both names [my common-law spouse doesn't care what my name is as it has nothing to do with our commitment to one another!]
—kitri2779

Why should I?

I have been married for over four years and I kept my maiden name. Our son got my husband's last name but I am not changing mine. We love each other and all that, but the name has been my identity from the time I was born until the 25 years until I got married, so can I imagine changing my name after having it for 25 years? Hell no! Besides, I would have the same last name as my MIL, so no thank you! ;) LOL! Honestly, I think it's too much to ask for and is unfair when the man doesn't change his name and marriage is supposed to be a "union of our souls" not our soul's last names!
—Guest Ashley

WHY!

If you are getting married, usually you don't think about the WHAT IF WE GET DIVORCED AND I HAVE TO CHANGE MY NAME BACK AND ALL THE HASSLE? That shouldn't matter because you are getting married with plans on staying together forever. It shouldn't matter if you change your name or not, but you shouldn't be thinking of the negative "what ifs."
—Guest Britni

think of your kids

My husband's family is of Portugese descent. Thus, his legal middle name is his mother's last name ("maiden" name, she did not change it). When two people marry, I like to see it as a blending of two lives, two families, not that one person "belongs" to another. When our daughter was born, we gave my last name as her middle name, and my husband's last name as her last name. This was not confusing for our family doctors, our daughter's school teacher, or others out in the community. They figured it out. We live in a very diverse, urban area where different traditions are continued and respected. How refreshing in the 21st century!
—LadyGiselle

Long term name

I was married 21 years then divorced, and I finally remarried. I have had my last married name for 36 years and that is my son's last name. I am just having a hard time losing that name. I just want to add my new husband's last name. Have you ever heard of this - keeping your ex-husband's last name? Also I am very close to my ex-husband's family and my new husband doesn't have a problem with me keeping it.
—Guest Jeanne

Throwback to Patriarchy

It's baffling to me that name changing still happens. It is a remnant of the patriarchal ideology which existed to identify which woman and which children belonged to an individual man; it was a way for a man's property to be identified. As we no longer see women in this light or define the relationship of marriage under these constraints, why would we still expect couples to follow this "tradition?" If it really is that important for families to have the same name, why not come up with a unique and new name to identify your individual family and have BOTH parties change their names?
—Guest amp

thartle

Those of you who think that a marriage is 50/50, apparently have not been married long or you have an unusual marriage. Sometimes it is 90/10, 60/40, etc. depending on who needs the most encouragement and help at the time. I think that children should have a "family name." If you don't want to change your name, then it is your choice. However, it should be understood that it is also the choice of your partner. Talk about these things before it becomes an issue. My son is about to marry and just found out after five years that his fiance does not want his name. He is devastated. It may not be important to all men, but it is important to some. Make sure that you communicate before you marry. God bless.
—Guest thartle
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