Tradition is a strange thing to me and I have never understood why people do things just because familial or cultural habit dictates. “Well, it’s traditional” is just not a viable argument in my book. I realise that some elements of tradition are wonderful and it’s fantastic to take those on board but only if you truly want to and not because you feel you should. Take marriage for example, I’m really struggling to choose whether I want to change my surname or not. I know it is typically the done thing but some old age traditions these days make no sense at all so why should this one be any different? For example, do you know why the bride stands on the left of the groom? It is so his sword hand is free to ward off any man who may want to try and steal his woman away!
Are you ready to potentially defend my honour, Joe?!
I mean, seriously!
Anyway…my surname. Hated throughout my youth for being unusual and impossible to spell without repetitive instruction but loved in my adult life for standing for what I have become. Because of all the nightmares I have been through in the past, my name, to me denotes the strength I have developed and I’m afraid that by changing it, I will be left feeling identity-less. It’s taken a long time but I finally accept what I am. Will this all be destroyed needing me to start again?
Or am I just reading too much into it.
Here are my reasons for wanting to keep my name as it is:
- I use it for work and feel by changing it, I will have to start again in terms of contacts.
- I like it.
- I like the connection with my family.
- It’s unique. I don’t mind the fact I would have a different name to my children because I already do! Elsa and Jude have their father’s name (for now…) and Emmeline has Joe’s surname. I quite like being the black sheep, so to speak.
Reasons to change it:
- It’s Joe’s name and our connection could potentially be closer.
- It’s a pain in the butt spelling all our different names!
- If I take Emmeline away on my own, I may be questioned as to why we don’t have the same surname (clearly Britain’s port security system is entirely simplistic and stuck back in the dark ages.) I remember my mother having problems coming back from Paris because they have different surnames so this is what makes me wary.
- It’s just a name, I need to stop reading into things so deeply.
What are your thoughts?
I did a bit of a poll to find other people’s views on changing surnames and here are a few of their comments…
- One lady is unsure as to whether to change her name or not purely because her fiancés name is a bit dodgy…could you live forever with a funny name just for traditions sake? Haha Do you know anyone with a funny married surname?
- There were a few people that said they changed their name because they wanted the same name as their current or children.
- Scarily, one lady said that it’s just what you do when you’re married. You change your name to your husbands. I find this quite sad.
- A few people suggested something really great in that they gave their children her maiden name as a middle name so it at least lived on in some way. I love this idea but it’s a bit late for us now as Emmeline obviously already has a very cool middle name. This is actually a very Scottish thing to do, I have my Granny’s maiden name as my middle name because of this tradition (there’s that word again). Frances Whinge Whinge Wine
- Double-barrelling is a popular choice. And even more brilliantly, several people told me that their husband took on this newly formed name as well. I love, love, LOVE this. Why not show the same respect to your wife as she is showing to you?! However, make sure you first check how the two names sound together. I heard a particularly hilarious combination which negated any chance of a union of names for one couple!
What did concern me from all the comments was the repetitive suggestion that the woman needs to get her husbands approval for her decision. It is YOUR name and whilst I understand you discuss these things within a relationship, it is ultimately up to the woman as she is the one changing! I find it tragic the amount of people I spoke to that are harbouring an element of regret for changing their name. How sad that they may now have that feeling of loss that I mentioned before.
- Keeping your name because it connects you to your family. One lady told me that her mother passed away and out of respect, she kept her surname as a continual link to her. She said that she may change it one day but at the moment she isn’t ready. I think this is a lovely honour to her mother.
- Miraculously and very conveniently, one lady explained that she had no need to change her surname as she managed to fall in love with a guy with the same surname! How convenient is that?!?
- Work is a strong reason to retain your surname. If, for example, you work as a writer and everyone knows you by a certain name then it may be confusing to your readership if suddenly it appears as if a new person is reporting your news. Ideally, many people keep their maiden name for work because it is their brand as such, but their married name for family life which strikes a fabulous balance (in my opinion) between life and work.
- Respect for parents. A lady with a particularly cool sounding surname explained that as much as she loves her husband, her maiden name was given to her by her parents and she would always keep it as a way of giving back to them for all they have done for her.
- How about giving your child your maiden name as their first name? I guess this would only work if you have a nice surname that you could imagine shouting a million times a day.
I would love to hear your thoughts and rationale behind your choice of surname. Please do not be offended by my opinions for they are just that. Everyone does what they like with their name and ultimately marriage is about union and love and not an identity. I’m just an over thinker…perhaps that’s why I have to write a blog because I have too many thoughts to contain in my head.
Thank you to everyone who gave me the views that formed this post:
Becki from the Mum from Brum