Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Disclaimer: Keep your name, don’t keep your name. If you made a choice that’s right for you, that’s good enough for me.
I do a lot of research before making decisions. I’m often praised as being very decisive because it when it comes down to actually stating my choice, I’m pretty quick. For example, we met with a wedding florist on Saturday and the meeting lasted maybe 15 minutes. I already knew what I wanted – I had spent hours looking at flowers and researching names and determining colors and textures. So, it seemed really easy and efficient and effortless to communicate what I wanted, but I’d already done the work.
The decision not to change my name has been similarly full of research and self-reflection and lots and lots of time. I read a lot of articles and I researched and I talked with George and my family and my friends.
When reading accounts from other women about why they did or did not choose to change their name after marriage, my decision seemed so much more complicated. On the pro-change-your-name side: I have plenty of brothers, I don’t have an ethnic attachment to my name, I love paperwork, and I do actually like George’s last name. And yet, on the con side: I’m a feminist, I hate double standards, I don’t want to lose that connection to my family, and I think my name is awesome. In this article, one of the women says, “It honestly never occurred to me to change my name.” Well, congratulations, sister, but it wasn’t so easy for me.
In my extensive reading, it seems like one of the main arguments to change your name is this sentimental idea of wanting to be a family with your new husband. I totally get that…it seems really nice. Something about this made me feel uncomfortable though, and it took me a long time to figure out why.
When George says his vows to me, he’s accepting me into his family without strings. No changes necessary.
My parents never asked me to change to be a part of their family. They never asked me to present myself differently, show love differently, or change my name or my address or my point of view. My family has always accepted me exactly as I am. I know I’m fortunate in this. I know that so many people have families who have asked them to change, and I never want my own children to feel that pain.
I want to be an example for our kids that we accept them just as they are. The choice to not change my name was not made in isolation, and this feels like one of those occasions when a choice George and I make is leading to us building the kind of family that we want. It’s a value we want our children to understand – that there are many types of families, and in our family, we accept you as you are.
Plus, I like my name so much that I stop to take pictures in front of it whenever given the opportunity.
For more reading on taking a spouse’s surname, I gained a lot from this article.