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

Responses: 152


I was leaning a little....

But now I am certain. I LOVE my last name. His is ok. Mine is awesome. I do sacrifice a lot for our family- that is what mom's do, but the argument of "if you REALLY love them you will" is lame. If I didn't love him I wouldn't be marrying him. The fact that it IS an option says a lot. My family is unified because we spend time together and we love each other, not because our names are the same or different. He and I are a team. A united front seemingly against the world at times, but our front is made up of two. My biggest regret will be not being able to customize everything.
—Guest obvi O's

Middles Ages

In the Middle Ages if a man married an aristocrat woman he took her last name. I agree that a marriage is 50/50. Equality means that women have a choice to take a man's name as much as a man does a woman's. With the rampant rate of divorce should we even care about the semantics of name change?
—Guest Krista

Tradition (cont'd)

(cont'd) Also, those who hold so much value in a name, consider the value that used, and in many cases still is, held in the power of blood connection. Now, many people still argue there's a stronger connection between those related by blood. I don't believe that, either. If I adopt a kid, I'd love him/her the same as if I had given birth to a child. And my husband would too. The value we hold in blood relations was also a concept instilled in us from early on. People believed that keeping blood pure kept the family name pure. As a result, many married their own cousins. I sure am glad that tradition is dying out. When I asked my husband if he thought I didn't truly love him because I didn't change my name, he laughed. He said if he wanted the same last name, he could always change his to mine. Sure am glad our marriage isn't based on something so superficial. To those who think I should hyphenate:if I do, my husband will,as well,so it truly symbolizes joining 2 families
—Guest TFD

Isn't tradition so warm and fuzzy?

For those arguing that the Women's Movement has caused us to lose moral values, I would like to just point out that we're not losing morals, they're being viewed differently. For example, when women changed their names in the past, it wasn't because she "loved" her husband. It was because her family benefited from it. It may surprise some of you that love marriages are a relatively new concept. Also, when a woman changed her name, it wasn't because she was welcomed into his family. It was because she, essentially, lost her identity and became his property. When her name changed, she could no longer sign legal documents because she no longer existed--only her husband had that kind of power. That being said, a husband forcing his wife to have sex with him, was not viewed as rape. She was his property, of course she must have sex whenever he told her to. Are those the types of morals you miss? Is that the type of chivalry you refer to?
—Guest TFD


my name was the first gift i was ever given by my parents other than my life. i cannot see myself as any name other than my maiden name. while i love my boyfriend, and his last name, i will never be able to identify myself with his last name with the same sureness that i find in my own name. as for kids? i'd like to start a professional career and have time to enjoy my marriage before i even think about adding to my family. i totally respect anyone who chooses to take their husband's last name, heck, it's how i got mine (thanks mom)! but i believe that it is not necessary for me to shed my identity of 20 years in order to start a family.
—Guest mycorrhizae

Hell, yeah

I am changing my name. I want to have the same last name as my kids. I don't feel that a name change equates to inequality. I think it's great. I want to be one with my husband. It's not like I am changing my first name or anything.
—Guest emiskulmoski

Academic/Professional Names

It should be up to the couple. Personally, I wouldn't mind being known as Mrs. [Husband] on correspondence, etc., but as a woman setting out on an academic career, I worry that having publications out under both names would be confusing. Besides, I like my name as it is and the idea of going through so much paperwork, changing my signature, etc. just seems daunting. I do like the idea of taking your spouse's last name as a(nother) middle name; it seems like a lovely gesture for both partners, unifying the family without altering your own basic name. But whether I did that or not, on the whole I'd go with keeping my last name legally and professionally, and be fine with being Mr. and Mrs. X socially. The kids can have his name.
—Guest Amy


When I married 20 years. My decision was not to change my name, not then, now or in the future. We have a strong marriage and we love, respect and cherish each other. I believe we are individuals with equal rights, intellects, and decision making power. We based our marriage on a team collaboration and strong love. The name issue is one of respect. He did not change his name and never crossed my mind to ask him to do so. So why do I have to change mine? Love is beyond that requirement. When a man requires you to change something that is your identification as individual as a unique being and that is sooo important for him... start questioning how much respect does he really feels for you. No wonder many married women and moms feel they do not know who they are....
—Guest Dragonfly

Name Change on Marriage?

I married in 1975, 35 years ago, and then, as now, I am known by my own name. As has been pointed out, a woman is not her husband's property or chattel but a human being of equal worth who is entitled to retain her own identify, Becoming Mrs. John Smith, or whatever makes the man everything and the woman nothing but an afterthought, an insignificant appendage who exists oly in relation to him and is not a social and ecoomic actor in her own right. I do not understand commentators who imply that a woman who does not take her husband's name does not love him. I still love my husband deeply and always will, but I do not want his name - I have my own. And yes, we are a 'proper' married couple. Our union has stood the test of time and we now have three adult childrren and a grandson.
—Guest Susanna

Absolutley a personl decision

I have been with my husband of two weeks for 6 years. I had NO intention of changing my name as I am the last one in my family with this name as I was an only child and my father passed away 10 years ago. I wanted to keep this one last link to him. My husband said this was my decision and he would support me with whatever I choose. However a month before our wedding I decided to change my name. I decided this because I LOVE him and I want us to be viewed as a family unit. I am PROUD to take his name and have a fresh, positive start in my life. My relationship with my father and family has been rocky over the years so why was I clutching onto something that has negativity associated with it. My relationship with my husband is nothing but positive and I want to be linked to him in every way possible. I am a die hard feminist and DON't believe taking him name is compromising my standards and morals. This is 100% a personal decision based on YOUR life, but I say go for it!
—Guest San Diego

Change Name?

Not in a million. I was born with my name. It's mine. My fiance insisting that I change my name put an end to the engagement. I'm still with him and love him, but I don't have any interest in his last name. He said he liked an independent woman - until he tried to live with a real independent woman. I have no regrets. The name issue showed me more of his character and how dangerous it is for a woman that any man think of a woman as "his." We're well past worrying about having any kids, so that's not an issue either. My grown daughter recently took my name to honor me, as her father was a run-away dad. So, no regrets at all about staying true to myself.
—Guest Belle1231


Chivalry is not necessary, people should be respectful of each other male or female, you shouldn't just be polite because the other person is a woman. Chivalry is really only a man trying to impress a woman so he can hopefully have sex with her. Don't make out that women have batterd it with equality you can still be polite to women just make sure its for the right reasons. Men really need to get over the fact that women aren't just here for their pleasure and to attend to their every need.
—Guest guest


Educate, you need to be educated! How can you put something so silly up on the internet. Women don't need to be ladylike do you actually know what that word means....its old fashioned, and sexist. You are a man who has issues and I feel only wants a woman to replace his mother, to be quiet and do as you want, to serve you.....grow up!
—Guest guest

Complication made simple

People in this country make everything so complicated. In mine, your husband uses his', the kids you have together use your husband's last name and you use yours only or both your husband's and yours together. Is no big deal, nobody asks about it and everybody knows that your kids belong to you and your husband and that you are their mother. Simple!
—Guest Lorena

Lovin my name

I kept my last name and my husband kept his. I love my name. Why not? The only annoyance I have found thus far is facing the assumptions. When I recently got a new job, the HR person emailed me saying she noticed I didn't fill out my maiden name on my forms and assumed I had overlooked this line. Just today, I was arguing over the phone with USPS regarding their online Change-of-Address forms which don’t allow families to have more than one last name. Even before I could say any more than “the form didn't allow us to include both our last names,” the automatic response was: "Usually women will do a separate form for their maiden name if they still have mail coming under that name." Finally the guy understood my situation and I was then told that in cases like mine, a couple would have to fill out two separate forms as if they were individuals and not a family. You would think I lived in Podunk-USA, not Chicago. In my opinion, American society needs some updating and I'm happy help out.
—Guest Dana
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