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

Responses: 218

By

Lm

I did not change my name when I married my husband, and our kids have both our names. My husband says he respects me for being a strong woman. I think most confident men don't think it's a big deal for their wives to take their name. If a woman chooses to do so, it's her business. But I think it's sad when a woman is forced to change her name.
—Guest Lm

Get A Grip!

You know, I think you're all a bottle cap short! My wife carries my name, which was her choice. It was no hassle for her. She carries her own identity. I have a previous fiancee from years ago who (I think) is married to this guy that sort of uses his original name, but sometimes uses her last name. Now, she uses her maiden name. (After all, she is one of those "professors of eduction" and demands that as a professor she be recognized as "doctor." She kept her maiden name for professional reasons and gave the children her maiden name. (She was always hell bent that her family name carry on). Okay, I guess. I understand professionalism, however, how confusing is this guy she married? He needs to regrow a "set" or figure out what name he wants to use. By "standards," children with mom's maiden name will be viewed either as having no father or a mom who is in control with no commitments. Isn't intelligence grand? We make problems where there were none (before egos). We've changed everything else in life that carries value.
—Guest Dave

The freedom of choice

I am getting married soon and will most likely take his last name. Don't get me wrong, I really like my last name, but I like the idea of sharing one last name. In this day and age, it's great to have the freedom to do whatever you like (different names, take his, take hers, hyphen or make up something entirely). In the culture my mother grew up in, it was common to take the mother's maiden name and use it as one of the middle names for all the children. When she got married, she bumped her maiden name to her middle name so it was always there. On my fiance's side, his mom made sure that her sons' middle names were all familial names (he has his grandmother's maiden name and his brother has their mom's maiden name). I'm doing the same with my children and I'm bumping my last name to my middle name. It's my way of honoring all branches of our family tree. The way I see it is that we are all so much more than our surnames. Call yourself what you like.
—Guest SDLady

Reasoning

I am very much a believer in independence but the whole truth is that names get carried on by men and these women that have these names wouldn't have them if it wasn't for the tradition of women taking their husband's last name.
—Guest Ch3wb4cc4

Compromise

I am a senior and to be honest it never came up when we got married. We did the traditional thing. If I were young today, then we would come up with a hyphenated name of the two family names and both of us would change to that.
—Guest Joe

Both sides are valid

It's a problem! I love my wife to be very much. I never tell her she can't do anything and support her in everything she wants to do. Her independence is one of the things that makes me so attracted to her. I always thought she would just take my name. But she has recently said she wants to keep her name. She has given good reasons for it too. And I respect it, but I have such a hard time with it. I feel rejected, I feel that having a [child] would feel split if everyone had different surnames. The hyphenated name doesn't sit well with me either. iI doesn't feel right or true or honest. And I'm not willing to change my name either. I have done a lot of research on it, and I have found that if a guy changes his name (in Canada), it changes right back to his birth certificate. When a woman changes hers, she can actually reserve the right to still use her maiden name even though she has taken a new one. It is a touchy and heated subject for us, where both sides are right.
—Guest John

What if you come from another culture?

In my country nowadays, most women keep their names and children are named after both parents, being the father's last name the first and the mom's the second. It's how we function and all forms are adapted to this. Even my mom never took my dad's name because she was known in her business for her maiden name, and in her time women used to do it. In Brazil, women not only don't change their names but the offspring carry her last name first, and daddy goes second. It just made more sense to them to name the baby after the person who was giving birth right there and avoid any confusion. I find that great. I wish I had my babies in Brazil. I might be marrying an American guy, and we joke about this. There's no way I will lose my name, my identity, my roots to a history I'm so proud about and if he can't understand that, I would think he is the one who is not ready for the commitment.
—Guest Margau MonteyRibera

Seriously?

If you're such a proud and unbending person that you would rather keep your name or add hyphens, you are nowhere near ready to be married. I agree if it's about feeling equal than both should adopt each others' name - man to take the wife's as middle name and wife to take man's as last name or vice versa don't care but your kids (if you plan on having any) deserve that feeling of family unity while their growing up. Can you imagine the poor kid who has to write out his hyphenated name everyday just because mommy and daddy were too stubborn and immature to settle on one name. Swallow your pride and take the leap wholeheartedly.
—Guest The battles over

Independence?

I'm a little confused by people who claim that when a woman keeps her name, it is a sign that she is too independent and doesn't really want to be married (or plan to stick it out, apparently). Very few men change their name; does that mean that virtually all men are still seeking independence and aren't really committed to their wives? Just seems like a lousy argument to me. I would say it's a personal choice.
—Guest Maria

Give me a break

Everyone saying "you want his money and his seed, take his name": you have got to be kidding me. I married my husband because I love him. I make my own money, as do most of the women I know. And in case you missed it: women have to carry that "seed" for nine months so that you can have someone to carry on your name. I'm not saying that there aren't valid reasons for taking your spouse's name (I can see how it makes things easier when you have kids), but personally my name is unique and I like it. I chose not to switch to something generic. Fortunately, my husband is secure enough to know that I love him no matter what my name is.
—Guest Christina

Brand New Name

I never even considered changing my name in my entire life until my now husband made it clear how important it was to him that we share a common surname. I love my birth surname and in my family there is an acknowledged identification with our surnames: "You're such a Smith," for example (not my real birth name). It was a point of humor and affection to share identifiable personality traits with my family. That said, I have two half siblings with different surnames than my birth name and they're no less my siblings for blood or name. My husband offered to take my family name before we married but he wasn't completely happy with that solution, so I couldn't really get on board with it. In the end, we took the favorite parts of our names to create a whole new name. I moved from New Zealand to the East Coast of the USA to be with him, so it's lovely to still have that connection to my family who are so far away. We love that it's a process we're going through together. Do what works for you.
—Guest Ms. NameChange

True Commitment

I believe wholeheartedly that a family should share one name. Why make it so confusing for everyone? I have been married twice. The first time, I made every excuse why it was best to hyphenate. The reality is, I hated his name and just wasn't that into him. It was confusing to people in my career, it was a pain to fill out forms, and it never felt right. This time, I did not hesitate to fully commit to my husband and our marriage. We now have three kids together and we are one united family. I didn't have to give up my identity. My husband has complete respect for me as an individual. I feel like people who make such a huge deal of the traditional name change have insecurities that go far beyond the name.
—Guest Stacy

Times have changed

It's an obvious choice but really no one should get down on the other either way. I have friends who were more than excited, honored, thrilled, touched, to take their husband's name. It was part of the ceremony and gave them great joy. I myself, however, kept my last name because it's part of my identity. Marriage is a very personal and individual idea for each person and how much a woman gives away of herself is different in every case. These days women don't usually take money off the man (and if they do that's fine too.) But many women work and earn just as much, sometimes more, than the man. Does that mean the man should take their name? In terms of taking the seed, it makes it seem like the baby is the man's when a baby is both equal parts mother and father, man and woman. But we have the added responsibility of carrying it. Men aren't doing us a favor by giving us a baby. That is just silly. Whatever your choose, it's a completely personal choice- so be comforted.
—Guest Grace

Do what you want

It's nobody's business but the couple, and everyone else needs to respect the decision, no matter the reason. I didn't change my name, but I respect the desire of other women to change their's.
—Guest KG

change

It is disrespectful to not change your name when you get married. All this new-age stuff needs to go out the door. That's what's wrong with American society, no respect for traditional values. If you want the guy's money and seed, you need to take his last name or just leave. Marriage is about blending together as one because you are now apart of each other .
—Guest johnny

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