to take or not to take (your husbands last name)

Jocelyn - posted on 02/10/2010 ( 32 moms have responded )

5,165

42

275

I Am Not a Mrs.

I don't have a maiden name nor a married name. I have a name. And my name is Emma Waverman. It is the name I was born with and the name I write under; it’s the name on my birth certificate and degrees, the one the kid's school uses when they call and what I answer to. In short, I did not change my name.

I kept my name because it is who I am. My husband I met when we were young but our marriage is a partnership. Changing my name would have meant that I was subsuming myself to be part of a married unit. Marriage may be about compromise but it’s not about bending to an archaic traditional view of husband and wife.

I am sure its nice for the whole family to have one name, and it’s nice to have the same name as your kids. And sometimes when we travel together I feel like the odd-person out. And sometimes it is confusing. But so what? None of those reasons were good enough to convince me to throw out my name and take my husband’s. And yes, the kids have my husband’s name and they have Waverman in there as a middle name, so yes their legal names are long but it makes it a lot easier when crossing the border.

184923443v7_350x350_Front_Color-White[1] Sorry to get all judgy on you, but if you changed your name then I have lost a little respect for you. I am sure people have lots of personal reasons to want to jettison their last name. But the tradition of changing one’s name is straight from the patriarchy, it denotes ownership clear and simple. I never considered doing it, and I am a little bit shocked when people I know and admire do.

One of the most romantic conversations my husband (then fiancée)and I had was on this topic. A few days before the wedding I said to him: Is there any part of you that wants me to change my name? His answer: You wouldn’t be you if you wanted to change your name.

That is my kind of romance.

I understand that most women change their names because they want their family to be a unit. I find that faulty logic – you are a unit, it doesn’t matter what your last name is. A name doesn’t make a family.

In fact, my mother and father have been divorced for 35 years and she still has his name because she didn’t change it back when they split and she didn’t take her second husband’s name. So she lives on with her other husband’s name. Understandably but maybe a little cynically, she advises just to stay out of the whole mess and stick with what you were born with.

We have friends who combined their last names into a new name, and friends who combined their middle names into a whole new name (Benjamin and Marie into Benmar). We have friends who have both hyphenated, or just the woman hyphenated or just the kids. And it all works out.

In Quebec it is extremely difficult to change your name because of marriage and it seems like the tradition is dying in Canada. But in the U.S. the last estimate was that 90 percent of women change their names. We lived in the U.S. for two years after we were married and I was shocked at the amount of pressure and questioning I got for keeping my name. From credit card companies to our landlord; everyone made me feel like I was some kind of pariah for not being a Mrs. . But that is better than crying a few weeks before my wedding like my cousin did because she wanted to keep her name and her mother was forcing her to take her husband to-be’s.

The Lucy Stone League is an American organization that is committed to “equal rights for women and men to create, retain, modify and keep their own names”. They are named after Lucy Stone (1818-1893), a suffragette who famously said, “ "A wife should no more take her husband's name than he should her's. My name is my identity and must not be lost." She was also the first woman to legally keep her name after marriage.

And now that same-sex marriage is legal: do we expect partners of the same sex to change their names? Probably not, we only expect it when it is a woman and a man. And why is that?

So ladies, what are your thought? Did you take your hubby last name? Is this just a dated patriarchal tradition? Do you consider yourself "owned" by your hubby because you took his last name? Or is this a romantic tradition? Do you think it makes it easier on a family to have all the same name? Does it matter whose name you have?

http://www.embracethechaos.ca/2010/02/i-... I am including the link because you should read the comments as well.

For me, legally I am still a "Hildebrand", but I am slowing starting to change to "Smith". I don't really feel that strongly one way or another about it. It is only a last name, and I believe that a name does not define you as a person. One of the reasons that I did decide to change my name was because I had already given my kids their fathers last name. It would just make it easier if we all matched lol. Easier doctor appointments, easier traveling, easier filling out forms, etc. My hubby is pretty traditional, and even though he never told me specifically that he wanted me to take his last name, I knew that he would have been a bit hurt if I didn't. Sure it may be an old out-dated tradition that dates back to when women became the property of their husbands, but there are so many traditions that are like that (that have since lost the original meaning) I was told once that the wedding ring dates back thousands of years when husbands use to tie a string around their wives finger to remind them not to go to far. And the ancient Romans used to capture women and put a ring on their finger to show that they were owned (the woman had no voice in this decision). I think that as we are becoming more "modern" as a whole, little traditions are slowly being lost. I'm not a huge fan of traditions (in general) but I think that's it's nice to see women still taking their husbands last name, men still opening doors for the ladies, little things like that.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

32 Comments

View replies by

Jennifer - posted on 03/07/2010

145

11

15

I made the choice that I would never change my name back when I was in high school. My name is unique, and I'm the last of the line. Unless someone else randomly got my last name, it'll die off when I do. My first serious boyfriend was disappointed when I told him I would never take his last name if we got married. My husband could care less either way. Our children will all get his last name, but he wouldn't care if they all get mine. But, it's not fun being at the end of the alphabet, and his name is still pretty uncommon. At least people know how to pronounce his name and don't usually have problems spelling it or pronouncing it. We talked about hyphenating, but can you imagine the headache that will cause when they are in school? Just filling out all those Scantron bubbles (if they still use them) will take an eternity!

I find it pretty ridiculous to lose respect for someone for changing their last name. People do a lot of things out of tradition, like getting married, the white wedding dress, the cake, the party, etc. Tradition doesn't automatically mean something is wrong or bad. People call me by my husband's name all the time, and I respond. No point it making a big deal out of it. It doesn't make me any less of a person. I think it's pretty ridiculous to judge someone as less simply for choosing to change their last name.

Jess - posted on 03/07/2010

1,806

3

97

I don't plan to change my name. My daughter has her fathers last name. This is only because we both have long last names and it wouldn't be fair to give her both ! But I have always said that my name is mine. Its been that way since I was born and I don't want to change it. I will proudly wear my pretty shiny rings knowing they mean nothing more than my husband paid through his butt to get my to say yes.... but Im not owned. I plain to walk myself down the isle and there will be no question about "who presents this women"...... nor will my partner ask my father's permission to marry me. Im not property and I don't need to be asked for ! So I will not conform, and I will save myself the hassel of having to buy a new passport and change my drivers license !!!

Tah - posted on 03/07/2010

7,412

22

400

I took my husband's name without a second thought, it doesn't make me any less the person I was when we met, doesn't change the person who earned my degrees, licenses or certifications. It didn't make me his slave or toss my individuality into the wind never to be blown my way again. When i married my husband, yes, I became his helpmate and we became one.



He became the head of the household and is to love me as christ loves the church is my belief. And that he does. It doesn't mean we are not best friends and partners. He does not come and say "You are a Dula and what I say goes"..To be honest, i have made many decisions and was so good abou it he still thinks it was him. Look at how smart I am.



My first name is "Asetah" my name means" to make and create", and yes i like to take words and create with them as i have written books and am in the process of finishing a book now and work on publishing. The fact that my last name went from Davis to Dula does make me any less the little girl who wrote poems and songs. The young adult who wrote children's stories specifically for my children to help them deal with big events..losing a tooth, first day of school, sleeping in your own room. And now that i am married and have taken my husbands last night, I am still that same person.



I am old-fashioned, My mother took my father's last name and it made her no less the person she was and she was happy and proud to do so, as am I. If you want to keep your name, be my guess, but i am proud to have the name of this man, my best friend, my rock when i am weak, my partner, the love of my life. The real bonus...i kept the same initials....lol....

[deleted account]

If its an old tradition why bother getting married because that tradition is just as old. I gladly took my husbands name and was proud to do so and if some poor feminist somewhere has lost respect for me whoopy doo. Childbirth is an even older tradition maybe all the feminists ought to stop doing that too lmao. Why the hell anyone else cares what anyone else is doing i dont understand.

[deleted account]

Completely a personal choice. Call yourself what you like. I changed my name because back then you did.



It's only a name, and I think if your identity stands or falls with only a name you've got problems.

Michelle - posted on 02/13/2010

387

38

27

Jo lol you're so funny.....

on a serious note, that is why I would do that lol.... for those phone calls, and so that my son doesn't have to yell gangsta talk back at someone lol

ME - posted on 02/13/2010

2,978

18

193

Jo...I almost peed my pants you made me laugh so hard...at 38 weeks pregnant thats not terribly hard to do, I guess...but still...

Cathelijn - posted on 02/13/2010

521

16

21

It is a personal choice I am ''officially'' still van Diessen everywhere. But I like the Asante- van Diessen I have on Facebook :-) My daughter has her dad's last name I wanted to make her asante-van Diessen but we thought it would be to big a pain to spel to people.

I just can't be asked to change all my documents to Asante or Asante- van Diessen.



My mum used to have my dad's last name then they got divorced she changed back to her maiden name and they got back together and she kept her maiden name.



Who cares anyway it is just a name if you like the other one better take it!

[deleted account]

I'm neither for or against, it's a personal choice. I don't have my husbands last name for immigration reasons. When we got married I had to keep my last name. I have the option of changing it now, but I havn't got round to doing anything about it.

?? - posted on 02/12/2010

4,974

0

172

I'm such a dumbass I probably would have started singin "Hey dirtay, babay I gotchur muneh don'tcha worry! Said hey dirtay, babay I gotchur muneh" and hung up. Or said "BITCH I AIN'T GOTCHUR MONEY WTF YOU THINK I AM SUM SORTA SHUGAH MOMMA PFFFFT PLEASSSSSSSE BOY YOU BETTER RECOGNIZE!!" and hung up.... and after hanging up I would have called the police lol

[deleted account]

Michelle, that is a great idea. My dad has volunteered in corrections since I was 10. Upon release, one of the offenders called our house and asked for money. I was the one (about age 14 at the time) who answered the phone and I was scared to death!

Michelle - posted on 02/12/2010

387

38

27

Mary, I can see that kind of reasoning. For example, I'm getting ready to look for jobs in corrections. Once I'm married or have changed my name, I can introduce myself to the offenders as Michelle Neal, and they won't be able to easily track me down to my home or my family.

ME - posted on 02/12/2010

2,978

18

193

It never occurred to me to take my husbands last name...My name is my name, why on earth would I want to change it??? (This is not directed at anyone's personal decision...just my thought process about the issue)...After I had my son, I realized that there are some reasons to change or hyphenate my name. I still haven't done it legally, but I do hyphenate my last name or answer to Mary Tyler without taking offense...I probably will not change it legally as long as I continue teaching...I prefer that my students NOT have my children's last name available to them...

[deleted account]

I didn't think twice about it either. I wanted my husband's last name and I wanted the same last name as my kids. I have always wanted that cohesive "family name" and even as a child I would talk about how I would someday drop my last name for my husband's. I honestly never thought about it.



If someone wants to keep their last name, I won't judge them, but I think it's a little strong to say that taking your husband's last name is submitting yourself to him. My husband and I love and respect each other very much. My taking his last name had nothing to do with saying I "belong" to him, it has everything to do with stating "we are a unit that works together under one name."

?? - posted on 02/11/2010

4,974

0

172

I'm too picky lol and I don't like having to redo things because I gave in and it ended up done the wrong way !! I'm glad Devon is learning ♥ makes things so much easier on me LOL

Krista - posted on 02/11/2010

12,562

16

847

Jo, somehow I don't see you being submissive to anybody or anything. :)

?? - posted on 02/11/2010

4,974

0

172

IF Devon and I ever get married -- I say "IF" because he's about as romantic as a big toe hangnail and the likelihood of marriage proposals ever getting past the "one day" stage is about a 2 on a scale of zero (being never) and umpteen billion (being now) -- I will take his name.

So that our family all have the same name, because we are a couple, a unit, a team. Because his name is easier to spell and pronounce than mine. Because I want too. Because I'm traditional in that sense. Because I don't really see a reason to make a big deal out of something that's pretty customary... and mainly because I think it's a really nice sentiment of commitment from a lady to a man to take his name and for him to trust her to honor his family name.

I don't think 'taking his last name' has anything to do with being submissive or have ANY negative implication of any sort unless a person gives it that implication.

[deleted account]

Michelle Lynn Neal...I don't have the same exact problem with my name but you reminded me of something I considered when changing my name.

I was Sara Lynn Potts before marriage and I wasn't sure if I was going to drop Lynn or Potts. Well, some of my family members think that you should be called by your first and middle name...so I'm often Sara Lynn. And I share a middle name with my mother and would like to pass that to a daughter (if I have another) so I kept Lynn. My offical name is Sara Lynn Hopkins.

When I was in high school some of my guy friends thought it would be funny if I married someone with the last name Moker. Then I would have been Sara Potts Moker (say it together). They actually looked for the name in the phone book. My nickname my junior and senior years in high school was...pot smoker. So much so that teachers called me that too. I still hear it when I bump into old friends around town. I am grateful that I fell in love with a Hopkins and not a Moker.

Michelle - posted on 02/11/2010

387

38

27

Also-- it's nice for a family to all have one name, and it's MUCH easier for women to change their name because of marriage-- no one fights it, or anything, you just show your marriage certificate and it's over. But to change your name legally like a man would have to or to change to a combo.... It's a big pain. a BIG pain. not worth it, I don't think.

Michelle - posted on 02/11/2010

387

38

27

You know, I have had three different last names over the course of my life. My mom had me when she was 16 and originally put my real father's name on the birth certificate. He was a douche. She then had it changed to her maiden name. Then she got married and had two kids with him, I grew up with him as my dad, so even when they divorced we continued with the adoption. His last name is legally my last name now. However, as I've mentioned in this forum before, he molested me when I was 12. I still have his last name, and that is why I am looking forward to taking Cody's last name because I will finally be able to be rid of the name Neal. I have been through a lot of hassle with that adoption to change my name to it, even after I took him to court. It's been a frustrating, traumatizing experience, and I can't wait to drop my last name forever. If my fiance and I decide to not get married and keep our relationship the way it is, I will still change my name to his.



My last name does not define me. My first name does not define me. It would be WEIRD, but I would be the same person if I changed my name to Kati or Sara or Amie or Lynn or whatever.



I think that because of all of this, my outlook on taking my future husband's name is that while it once was a symbol of ownership, now it is a symbol of our commitment and family, and one of the few traditions I'll be keeping in my life. If there was anything good to combine, I'd do it, but there's not really. And I do want the ease of having the same last name as my son and any future kids we may have, who will all have my fiance's last name.



Plus as a side note, my full name runs together like one word-- say it to yourself-- Michelle Lynn Neal. The last sound in the first and middle is the first sound in the middle and last so it just sounds like one word. I don't like it lol.

Sara - posted on 02/11/2010

9,313

50

586

I tried to talk Paul into combining names (Long and Butler), we could have been Paul and Sara Bong. Welcome to the Bongs. Or, we could have been the Bungs. Surprisingly, neither appealed to him.

Rosie - posted on 02/11/2010

8,657

30

321

when we were deciding on the whole name change thing we thought of combining our last names, and then decided 2 people changing their names would be too much. i changed my last name and don't have any problem with it. i feel my husband doesn't own me, and he doesn't feel that way either. it was never an issue. i'm glad that i have the opportunity to choose. how is changing my last name an issue with womens rights? if i were forced to keep it and not have the opportunity to change it, i'd say that is what would be an issue for womens rights.

i personally hated my last name because it was my bio-dad's. i couldn't wait to get rid of it! my oldest son's last name was my maiden name and last october when my husband adopted him we changed it to our last name. at first when discussing this he seemed to not have much of an opinion either way, but did say that it would be easier if his name was kept the same. after a LONG while thinking about it, i chose to change it to my husbands. in the long run it will be easier to have my husbands last name, and i did not want to burden my son with that last name any longer. i know he doesn't understand what that last name is to me, but for me all it does is remind me of the POS that brought me into this world. some might not understand this, but then you didn't live through what i lived through with my bio-dad.

Amie - posted on 02/11/2010

6,596

20

412

I'm kind of old fashioned but not at the same time. For name changing I am. I never even thought of not changing my name when Ryan and I got married.



It hasn't been that difficult either. I just had to wait a few weeks, mail in the request for our official marriage certificate, then forwarded it on to those who needed it.



I'm of the mind too if you're going to object to taking your husband's name because it's an "ownership" issue. Why get married in the first place? Marriage is a historic reference to "ownership". Your father paid a dowry (bride's family paying for the wedding in today's age) to your husband for him to marry you. The ring was a sign to remind women they were "owned". The entire institute of marriage used to be a display of ownership. That the husband ruled and the wife was the submissive. /:) Only a half wit would consider out dated ideas on marriage to be the same today.



My husband does not "own" me. He would laugh at the person who suggested he did. Mostly because he knows if he tried to even impose any type of "ownership" over me, I'd have his balls in a vice. Changing my name had nothing to do with ownership. It's just something that is. Our marriage would have been no less valid had I not changed my name but it's what we both wanted.



I have not lost my identity or any freedoms, as the woman in the article seems to imply to those who are married with their husband's names. Nor has my SIL who did take her husband's name (after being established in her career). My maiden name was unique, there was no one else anywhere with my name. Though my married name is unique as well. I've never understood why people think a name gives a person their personal identity. It's just a name, I'll still be ME even if I changed it to butt sniffing booger. Sure people would look at me weird with that name, probably make snap judgments too, but I'd still be ME. No label, person or thing can take that away.

Sara - posted on 02/11/2010

9,313

50

586

I just took my husband's name last year, and we've been married for five years this year. I was resistent to it for a long time, but once we had our daughter it started to change my mind. I compromised and took my husband's last name, but kept my maiden name as a second middle name, so legally I have 4 names now. :)

Jodi - posted on 02/11/2010

3,562

36

3907

I think we all have our reasons for our decision. I know I certainly do. With my first marriage, I didn't change my name. I had an established career, and I planned to continue working in that same workplace. My maiden name was on the title of the house, the mortgage, health insurance, all the important things. Often, to change these, it can be expensive and complicated. So I decided to keep my name. Probably just as well, in hindsight, LOL.



I changed my name with my second marriage, because there were too many surnames in our house, and we felt that it was confusing for the kids. I made this decision when I was pregnant with my youngest. Already we had me with my name, my son with his father's name, my husband daughter, who took her step-father's name, and then my husband and his son with my husband's name. You think this confuses you, imagine how confusing this must be for young children. So, by changing my name, I was reducing the confusion by one name, LOL.



Honestly, I don't think it is a loss of identity. Our identity shouldnt be about a name. It is about so much more. You could get married, not change you name, and end up and abused wreck cowering in a corner, and you lose more identity in that situation than changing your name!! Changing your name doesn't change who you are.

Krista - posted on 02/11/2010

12,562

16

847

Either way, you're going to have a man's name, in most cases, due to your maiden name being your dad's last name. So why is it so anti-feminism to use your husband's last name instead of your father's?

If I had been farther along in my career when we married, and had really established a name for myself, then yes, I would have kept my maiden name, and my husband would have been perfectly fine with it. But I didn't have this established professional reputation under my maiden name, plus it's hard to pronounce, and I have a brother who will hopefully pass on the family name anyway. So for me it was a pretty easy choice.

Sarah - posted on 02/11/2010

5,465

31

344

I totally agree with what Carol has said.
I couldn't WAIT to change my surname, i hated my maiden name for a start!
I like being a Mrs too! (makes me feel like a grown up! lol)
Originally, our eldest daughter had my maiden name and Moulton hyphenated for her surname. BIG mistake! The hassle it took to repeat it to people, and spell it! Plus her first name is Cadence which often needs to be spelled out too.......making a doctors appointment took about an hour! LOL!
So once we were married, we changed her surname to just Moulton.

I don't think i've lost any of my identity, it's just a name! :)

Johnny - posted on 02/10/2010

8,686

26

322

I don't judge women who don't change their names, and I get rather weary of being judged for doing so. We all have our preferences in this area and to some keeping their name is important to them, to others, it is not. I think that having the choice is what gives us equality. I did not want to keep my maiden name, why should I have to?



I looked forward to changing my last name. I had no particular problem with it, but it was boring and so normal. It was also at the beginning of the alphabet and I hated being first in line in school. My husband had a very unique surname that there are only a few of in North America. When I did that search that finds anyone with the same name as you, there was not a single other Carol S found. But my maiden name was Anderson and I actually knew 2 other Carol Andersons personally. So I thought it would be fun to change my name. Kind of like changing my hair. I'm still me, just with a new "look".



My husband does not own me or control me. It was not about some romantic tradition. He could not have cared less if I kept my name or changed it, it was entirely my business. Not one single person in my family or his expressed any opinion about it at all. In both of our families there are spouses who have changed their surnames and those who have kept their original name. No one made any assumptions about my choice. Actually, when I told him I was going to change my name, he asked if I wanted him to take my surname as a middle name. We also joked about getting a new last name instead, or melding our two last names together as Saprison or Andriken. If it was easier to do, we might have even done it just for our own enjoyment.



I like having the same name as my husband. I do feel like it made us a new unit. A team. And in a way it signified our commitment to stay together "til death do us part". His family is quite far away and is a part of a dying culture. In a way, it is nice to preserve them. Another part of my family that holds the Anderson name is exceedingly prolific. There are hundreds of my family roaming around here with our last name. It is nice to share in saving his . I do hope that my daughter does keep her last name, because it is so unique and special. But if she's the opposite of me and hates having a "weird" last name. I won't give her any grief if she changes it.



When I went into the bank to change my last name, I had the misfortune of running into a woman quite like the one who penned this story. She harassed me about changing my name. I simply explained that my name didn't define me. I would still and always be me, no matter what my name is. If, goddess forbid, my husband and I ever do divorce, I'll probably change it. But probably not back to my maiden name. Maybe I'll do like my aunt did when she divorced my uncle and go to the Kabalarians for a whole new name. Sounds like fun.

[deleted account]

I didn't think twice about changing my name to Mrs. Jason Hopkins. I guess I'm old fashioned. And my husband doesn't own me. We have great love and mutual respect for each other. It was never a question in my mind whether or not I was going to change my name.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms