I’d never judge a woman for going the traditional route and taking her husband’s last name after marriage, nor do I have anything to say about women who decide to keep their own name. Neither option made sense for my husband and me so he just decided to take mine instead.
- Neither of us didn’t want to lose our names. Soon after getting engaged, we had a conversation about this. I like my name—it’s unusual enough to be interesting and I’ve had it all my life (even if people do often mistake Renn for “wren” and spell it wrong because of it). Similarly, my husband didn’t want to lose his as he sees it as an important link to his family, which I totally get.
- Still, we did want to share a name as a symbol of our commitment. Since we were both reluctant to lose our original names, one or both of us taking one or the other wasn’t really an option. Still, we wanted to have the same name, especially because we plan on having kids in the future. We could have hyphenated our last name, but that didn’t seem appealing.
- I used to think keeping my name was a feminist statement. Before I met my husband, I went through a period of thinking that if I got married, I’d keep my own name because I refused to “belong” to my husband. It took me a long time to realize that my name wasn’t mine at all but my father’s, and what’s better about that? Why not just pick the name you like best, or do what we did and make a new one?
- We didn’t realize it was weird. To us, both taking the same new name was clearly the logical option. The process of changing our names was a little more complicated. In the UK, a new bride can automatically change to her husband’s last name just by presenting her marriage certificate, but for any other change, it’s a bit more difficult. However, seeing as I meet a fair amount of people with double-barrelled last names, either through marriage or inherited from their parents, I always assumed that both parties changing theirs was fairly common. However, it doesn’t seem like this is really the case.
- People accept my new name but still refer to my husband by his old one. After my marriage, I felt like most people were pretty quick to get accustomed to my new name. However, despite the fact that my husband made the same changes as I did (changing his name on Facebook, changing his work email, etc.) pretty much immediately, his friends and colleagues found it much harder to adapt. Even now, almost two years on, most people still just call him by his original name. Why can’t they accept that it’s changed?
- I’m pretty sure a lot of people find it emasculating. Maybe it’s because of this that they find it difficult to use his married name. Are they embarrassed? Do they think they’re doing him a favor by pretending it never happened? Either way, it doesn’t really bother us but we do find it weird—especially given that no-one seems to have had this same issue with me.
- People always wonder what will happen if we end up getting divorced. We get asked this question all the time. Well, what if? I’ve thought a lot about whether I’ll go back to my original name if the worst happens and we end up splitting up, and honestly, I don’t know. Most likely, I’ll just pick whichever name I like best. If my husband chooses to keep my name after we separate, that’s fine. It’s a pretty cool name.
- They assume I must have forced him into it. Again, no one we know has actually said this, but I have a sneaking suspicion that some of my husband’s friends and colleagues think I must have made him take my name and that I must wear the pants in our relationship. Well, it’s the 21st Century and there are plenty of pants for everyone. I don’t have much more to say about this, except that if anyone thinks I’d be with someone who’d need to be “forced” into doing something so un-radical as adding an extra four letters onto the end of his name, I can’t help them.
- We have a new name! In all seriousness, I like the fact that no one else has our name. Sure, we may pass it on in the future and if we do, we’ll no doubt make some of the same mistakes as our parents. But this way, at least we’ll be putting our own brand on it. Even without kids, though, we’re still a family. I like that our name is just for us and we have fun acting like it has a long and fascinating history behind it. What’s not to love?