Survey

If anyone out there is still reading, I have a question.

Why did or didn’t you change your name when you got married?

Or, if you aren’t married, what do you think about changing or not changing your name?

I guess this is a question for the ladies mostly, but guys, feel free to chime in on why it is or isn’t important for your wife to change her name.

I have heard a lot of interesting comments over my decision to change my last name after getting married.  There were some assumptions from people (from both sides of the argument) about why I did.  And I’ll share my reasons later, but for now, I’m curious what y’all think.

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8 thoughts on “Survey

  1. I’m interested in the responses you get. I never understood why my dozens of wives decided to take (and in some cases keep) my name. I would never have taken theirs.

  2. We’ve already talked about this, so you know that lots of consideration went into this for us. For me in the end, it was mostly a practical consideration, related to the naming of our (eventual, prospective) children. Here’s why.

    We figured we probably wanted our whole family to have the same last name (hence the term family name), mostly for simplicity, a little for unity, whatevs.If we had not started out at that place, it would have been infinitely more complicated. Still, that left us five options:

    1. I change my name to become Mrs. L (spoiler alert: this is what happened)
    2. Mr. NDL changes his name to become Mr. MaidenName.
    3. Mr. NDL or I become Mr. or Mrs.Hyphenated-Name.
    4. We both change our names to Mr and Mrs Hyphenated-Name or to something else entirely (ala John Stewart and his wife or the mayor of LA and his now ex-wife. For the record, I voted for Awesome and Plame-Wilson as candidate names had we chosen this option).
    5. We keep our respective names and give our (eventual, prospective) children hyphenated names.

    So, we both decided for a variety of reasons that both taking an entirely new last name, while probably the coolest option, was out. Mr. NDL really did not want to give up his name- he’s the only boy in his family, and all of his Dad’s other relatives with the same name are in Poland, so he would be choosing to end his family name in the U.S. I could respect that decision, especially since he made it after having been open to discussion of doing something else, so him taking my name was out.

    This leaves only me changing my name and a variety of hyphenating options. I was kind of torn between the two until two things happened:

    1. Nate asked me (really nicely- with no pressure and not in any sort of property-ownership kind of way) to consider taking his name.
    2. The 2008 election happened, and as part of my job I had to look over voter-registration forms for a bajillion students at the University.

    FYI, judging by voter registration, there are a TON of (presumably unmarried) people in their late teens/early twenties with hyphenated last names, which led me to the question of what they will do when THEY get married. Hyphenate again? If not, whose name will their (eventual, prospective) children take? I felt like it could get a little out of hand.

    So, that ruled out hyphenating (for me) and left me taking Mr. NDL’s last name.

  3. I know that was a really long comment, but I also want to say that I think its possible that we might be right on the edge of some kind of cultural shift in the way we handle naming in this country. I have no actual idea, but its my suspicion based on all those voter registration forms that our (prospective, eventual) grandchildren might do things differently. All those hyphenated name people are going to have to do something, and I think we would have been in a totally different situation if my husband hadn’t felt like he had a responsibility to pass on his family name, or I had felt equal pressure. If that goes away, I don’t know what will happen.

    In other cultures, as I’m sure you know, people have totally different systems for naming, so it’s not like its impossible. If there is a shift of some kind, I’ll be interested to see what it is.

  4. I have a feeling my perspective is different, because I grew up with a different last name from the rest of my immediate family. And I never liked it. I always felt less connected – set apart – expendable. Also, practically speaking, it meant I was always having to explain myself. Every substitute teacher in elementary school knew that my parents were divorced and remarried; why was that really necessary?

    I was glad to accept Brian’s last name. It was a little weird at first, to be sure. And I would be offended to be referred to as “Mrs. Brian Gates” (which has come up for my mom in the past). I have my own identity, my own life. But I like that a name signifies unity, and, for me, permanency. For me, it was an easy decision.

    Then again, I’m easily one of your more traditional friends, so take that for what it’s worth. =)

  5. my answer will be the shortest and easiest to understand probably.

    my maiden name was Claunch and now my last name is Davis.

    if i ever divorce, i will most certainly be keeping that one. it’s the least i deserve under those traumatic circumstances.

    I also find it super offensive to be called “mrs. lane davis” but i have a feeling that nonsense will die out with our grandparents’ generation.

    also, is that just a southern thing?

  6. I just did it automatically. I wish, now, that I had kept my maiden name as my middle name instead of dropping it. So, I use Heather VanHoose Truett most places, but my legal name is Heather Ashley Truett.

    It is way easier with kids if both parents and children have the same last name.

  7. Pingback: What’s in a name anyway? « Walk with Me

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