Tuesday, May 24, 2011


That whole marriage thing is creeping up on me. I still haven't decided on a few things. The most important I guess would be whether or not I take Chris's name.

This is a huge dilemma for me. There are a limited number of family members in the US, and I have no brothers. My father's name will die in this country, but I have 3 male cousins in France who will carry it on. In France.

Apart from the whole familial thing, I feel like taking any man's name is an archaic and demeaning practice. I've never been a feminist, but really, women are no longer the property of men when they marry. Why should we be expected to continue be renamed when we marry? Something so blatantly about possession should be discontinued, and why women still accept this practice is beyond me. Probably something about romance, possession, and wanting to be possessed until they actually are owned? Who knows. I don't understand it.

Let me be clear: I'm not knocking those of you who have gotten married and taken your man's name. I will very likely end up doing the same. In fact, I'm pretty sure I will. If I didn't plan to have children, I wouldn't think twice about keeping my name. Unfortunate for me, Chris is unwilling to sacrifice his name, and as such, our children will have his name. If I want a connection to my own children in the name department, I better follow suit.

My resolution? Families make up their own names when they marry. Each man and woman gives up their past and starts anew. This is my ideal. Unfortunately, I seem pretty alone in this. Men are still unwilling to give up their name in society, and women are still avoiding the demand to stop the practice.

On principle, I would refuse to change my name. And I would suck it up and deal with the difference in names from my own children. Which, frankly, is complete bullshit. This is the only reason I will probably end up accepting his name. And it's not to say his name isn't good! I actually really like his last name. But it's his. Not ours.

Have any of you folks had this dilemma? How did you reconcile it? What are your thoughts on changing your name after wedding, as a woman?


Kate! said...

I can understand where you're coming from, completely. I took my husbands name, not to be his possession, but I like the idea of tradition. His family is wonderful- I like his parents more than my own. Being accepted into his family, name and all, felt right to me.

My mother was remarried when I was very young, so I don't really remember having the same name as her, and I didn't think twice about it. I think if you want to keep your name, then you should.

mesmeric said...

I have been with Jarred now for oh about 10 years and it took 7 years before I took his last name. It wasn't really a big deal to me with the kids honestly at first because no one seemed to care. It was when we started the whole school thing and people always assuming I wasn't their mother that I finally went ahead a did it. Truthfully his last name is better than my old one, I was just really lazy.

I say if you don't want to take the name don't. If you change your mind later you can always change it then.

Kate! said...

mesmeric is right- you don't have to change your name right away. I waited 6 months, and it was just out of pure laziness. You don't have to do anything until it feels right. Do what you think is right.

Michelle said...

My pre-married name was a very common anglo surname and my husband (who wasn't born in Australia and isn't of anglo heritage) has (by Australian standards) a very unusual surname.

When we got married (about 3.5 years ago) our married surname had a lot of discussion time. We felt that as a family we wanted the same surname and that was really important to us. Neither of us necessarily wanted to keep our birth surname but neither of us particularly wanted the others name. We seriously considered completely changing our surname to a totally new surname, but that turned out to be far too hard to come up with a suitable name!

So we ended up doing a hyphenation. A lot of people (never friends, just random people who think I care about their opinion!) have given us a hard time about the hypenation, but it was the option that worked for us.

We finally decided on hyphenation about 4 months after we got married. So we both have each other's surname but most importantly to us, we have the same surname.

So I guess you have to decide what is important to you and make a decision from that. My husband is the only man I know who has changed his name on marriage. It has been interesting to notice that on forms asking for personal details they often ask for a woman's 'maiden' name, but there is no equivalent for a man!

Sassafrass said...

Mes! I'm happy to see you stopped by! <3

I'm one of those folks who isn't into the whole hyphenation thing (unless he hyphenates too! Fair is fair!)

I love all your input, I'm grateful for every word.

Like you Mes, I don't want my name to be different from the kids' names.

I like his last name. But my family (particularly my father) gives me shit for not keeping my name, which causes some real guilt about giving it up.

Michelle said...

I just had a couple more thoughts - I used to work with a woman whose children had her surname, rather than the surname of the father (and they were a couple).

Or you could give your maiden name as a middle name to any children you may have?

Tasha said...

This is an issue for me, too.

In your case, hyphenation seems the best thing. Or, as I think I commented before, a combo--my Collins and Ashworth friends both took the name Collinsworth.

I will tell you that as a teacher, I've tried to stop assuming anything when it comes to kids'/parents' last names. It's a source of perpetual awkwardness, though.

Made by Hand on Planet Earth said...

Just wanted to chime in here. I kept my last name. I was hyphenated in a former life and didn't want to do that. I like my maiden name and wanted to keep it. Then we decided to give the kids my last name as their middle name and their dad's name their last name. It works for us, but we are not all of the same name, which in conservative Ohio some people don't understand. It hasn't caused any problems, really. I do sometimes identify myself by my husband's last name for people who don't "get it." But otherwise we are happy with the arrangement.