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

Responses: 205

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Tradition calls for American women to change their name -- and take on the last name of their husband -- when they get married. Through the years, thanks to the Women's Movement some women have altered the tradition. Nowadays, some women take their original last name as a middle name or add a hyphen to include both their family-given last name and their husband's last name. Some have ignored tradition and kept their name as it is. It's a struggle for some women to decide which is the right decision. Tell us what you think. Should women change their names when they get married? Why or why not? Weigh In Now

Identity

Keeping my surname = keeping my identity. Plus, i am not going through all the paperwork necessary to indicate such change. My surname represents family history, my own self, and why should I ditch it just because tradition says so.
—Guest Anneleen

Womans right

I come from an Islamic society and in Islam its a woman's right to keep her fathers name. Yes she is his wife but she remains the daughter of her father she gets share in his inheritance and the name. Woman do not have the Y genes so you trace her identity via her father and if you take away her surname she is lost in history she is no one. by the way this law is 1400 year old and only in 19 century woman could own property in west.
—Guest uma

change in midstream

My wife gladly took on my name at the courthouse. I let her know I was ok with her keeping her family name or taking my last name. She took mine. Now, two years later she sporadically brings up that she likes her family name better and that mine is too common. It feels degrading and disrespectful that she plays this game with me. What should we do?
—Guest befuddled

Stop With The Selfishness...—Guest annie

....There is no I or ME in marriage; there is us and we. If that is the case, should you not both be taking a double barrel name? Rather than you taking his name? Doesn't make any sense to me.
—Guest Deek

Why does the female?

Why does the female have to "submit" and not the other way? Why does society thinks that the man is the "strong" of the relationship? qe females AREN'T anyone's PROPERTY. You put your name on your car because it's your property, and you want everybody to know it is yours. But wives aren't property. We are our own persons, so NO, don´t change your last name, or let him take yours.
—Guest Carla Möller

No good answer

My partner and I have discussed this and he argues strongly for me taking his name. My thought is that I would be more willing to take the name of someone who is selfless enough to be fine either way. Surely a man who is comfortable with whatever a woman chooses is making an equivalent sacrifice to a woman who might consider taking on a man's name.
—Guest Uncertain

selfishness

Reading some of this post and found out that most people lack maturity. For this reason a man shall leave his father's house and cling to his wife and both of them shall become one. Summary - if you use your maiden name, it most likely is still a man's name. Why all this unnecessary discussion? You have already decided that your marriage will not work. Simple.
—Guest tom

Keep your last name

I am originally from Yemen, as a women who grew in the Middle East, I'm so proud of my family and its origins. In this part of the world it's almost unthinkable to change your name after getting married because it means you want to erase who you are, and cut ties with your family's name. It would be very insulting to my family to change my name, and "abandon" my name just because I got married, and I am starting a new chapter in my life. More importantly, your future kids hold pride in who their uncles are (from mother's side) and by me holding that name, it still holds that tie, even if I didn't pass it to them. There are a lot of westernized Middle Easterners, who are "modern wannabes" and are changing there names, giving up the wisdom of thousands of years, at the time where feminists are trying to change that in the Western countries. It's just sad!
—Guest Wi

Stop With The Selfishness...

The "feminists" commenting here base their opinions on the fact that if you do change your last name it will mean a loss of individuality. Well, getting married signifies a partnership that is legally binding. Don't most people marry to be part of a team. I am getting married in a few weeks to the man I love and cannot wait to have his last name. I will be honored to call him my husband. Women need to seriously consider what the feminist movement is about and who is behind it. It was designed to destroy family values and the family unit in general. There is no I or ME in marriage; there is us and we. Are you so in love with yourself that you can't see the beauty in becoming one? You should really evaluate what marriage truly means to you and save yourself and the poor enamored fiance of yours the impending future heartache/divorce. Just my perspective.
—Guest annie

Equal

Guys have no right to pressure their women to take their family names. Create a better society, where both genders are treated equally. If you want to have a single family name, create a common family name or both men and women change their last names to a combined hyphenated family name. Women should not let their men treat them with any less [respect].
—Guest Guest Annon

Women are Equal to Men

Women aren't men's property. They should be treated as equals, not inferior to a male. Any woman can support herself, be independent, ambitious etc. And she does not have to bow down or sacrifice anything to a male, so she shouldn't have to give up her last name. My wife had dreams of becoming a doctor before we wed, and when we did she kept her last name. So, today she is not a Mrs., but Dr. with her original last name, and our children's names are hyphenated, so at the age in which they choose which they would like to keep/use they can. My wife went through all those years of school to become a doctor; she deserves to wear her last name on her coat with pride and not mine.
—Guest Doesn't Matter

changing your last name shows unity

Women change their last name not to lose their identity but to show unity with their husband. See, I am a Christian man and I know marriage is where two people become one, they share one life, one bill, one partner, and one way of life but in this unity the man is the head of that relationship like Jesus is the head of the church. And the way the order is, men submit to God, women submit to their husbands, kids submit to the parents, and even the Bible says that the man must leave his mother and father and cleave unto his wife and they should become one flesh. So, the wife changing her last name is a sign of submission, not slavery, but her submitting unto him just like we call ourselves Christians because we follow Christ. So does the wife follow her husband. That's why she becomes a Mrs. See, you can't have self in a marriage. Keeping your last name is the same as keeping yourself. See, the husband gives up a lot to take care of that woman and that woman gives up a lot to respect and honor her husband.
—Guest demetrius frank

Do whatever you want

I have a hyphenated last name from birth, not because of marriage. However when I get married, I'm keeping my surnames. It's my identity. It's who I am, whatever makes you comfortable. Do what you want.
—Guest Christina

mixed opinions

Well, I think it is different for all people, and it depends on the circumstances. The first time I married I had applied to the nursing board with my maiden name and could not change it. So, i left it and just never got around to changing it, but the marriage was a bust. With my husband now, I was eager to change my name, and I love my new name and three of my boys have the name, so i am happy that I changed my name. And sometimes I proudly sign my husband's name with Mrs. in front of it. So, it's just a matter of what a couple wants.
—Guest K Hyatt

just respect and understand.

I've been dating my partner for quite some time now, long enough that we started to talk about marriage and me changing my name to his. I let him know my discomfort. I told him that I love my last name and it's who I am. I love it not just because it's mine, I'm proud of the legacy my last name carries. For me to change it just because I got married means that I forfeit my title and my family legacy as if I am a stranger to my own family and forced to start a new life and foundation with another. Also what happens to my kids, them taking his last name makes me feel less connected to them as if they're not mine, that I gave nothing of me to them that they could carry on. My point is that just because you want to spend the rest of your life with someone doesn't mean ladies have to give up their name. That goes for either sex. If one argues that it's a man's world by tradition then making her change her name as if it is nothing is disrespectful to her father and her family bloodline.
—Guest medina

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Pros and Cons to Changing Your Name When You Get Married

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