I consider myself to be a flexible, tolerant and open- minded person, but when it comes to the taking of names upon marriage I am a traditionalist. I wanted to take my husband’s name. Not only because I love him, but because I wanted people to know that we were in fact married. There are lots of other options, let’s take a look at some.
1. The man taking the woman’s name. Not too common, and most states do not allow this to happen freely. The woman can change her name with the signing of the marriage license, but the man needs to go through the court system like anyone else wanting a legal name change. There have been numerous lawsuits to try and get this law changed, and according to Wikipedia, only California, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota allow men to change their name at the time of marriage.
2. Hyphenating by one or both people. This is more popular, but I find it very confusing. Inconsistent use of a hyphenated name can cause lots of legal problems. And what happens to the name of any future kids? If you have a daughter who then gets married, will her new name now need 2 hyphens?
3. Choosing a brand new name. Some people forego both current last names, and choose something entirely different. This choice seems kind of hollow to me. A random name has no history or connection to either of the people, and you will forever be referring to the man as, “You know… John Brown. He used to called be John Jones.”
4. The woman keeps her maiden name. I support this option, especially for women in the medical field or those with very public careers. But again, there is confusion on the naming of the kids. And does the woman want to be the only one in the family with a different last name? In Italy, the woman keeps her maiden name according to all legal records. But it is still common to be referred to by the husband’s name. .
Is taking the man’s name an increasingly outdated social tradition? What have you chosen to do, and why?