Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What's in a (married) name?

I’m not afraid to get this in print; my husband is well aware and I’m pretty sure my in-laws know, too.

My married name -- I’m just not a big fan of it.

No, I’m not a hardcore feminist, and no, I’m not usually disrespectful of historical English customs.

It's just that I spent 25 years getting used to my maiden name, Puckett, and then all of a sudden, I have to sign checks, use a different monogram and answer to Hord. Talk about an identity crisis.

Oh, and I don’t like the asymmetry of my first name being longer than my last. I know -- it’s a weird reason, but hey, we’re talking about my name here.

Married women and some radical-thinking husbands nowadays have tough choices to make. There are so many options: keep your birth name, take your married name, hyphenate the two family names, make your maiden name your middle name … the list goes on.

I’ve listened to friends struggle with the decision. Everyone seems to have their reasons – some cite professional motivations for keeping the maiden name, others say their partners would refuse to marry if the married name wasn't embraced once the honeymoon’s over.

My husband falls into the latter. He wanted me to be honored to have his name; I am, and I was OK with the decision because I believe our marriage is about compromise.

Puckett will always be a part of me. He knows that and I know that. And, honestly, Hord is slowly (slothlike, I tell ya) growing on me.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

At least he didn't ask you to change your first name to A-lee-sha. ;)

-A.

Anonymous said...

What’s in a name? Purpose, identity, unity, oneness, and family destiny. When a woman takes on her husband's name she is saying, she is one with him Hyphenated named wives don't whole heartedly become one with their husbands because they want to hold on to their independence.

Anonymous said...

If your marriage is about compromise, in what way did he compromise?

I think the tradition of taking a husband's name is so outdated. I don't plan to take my finance's name when we marry. Sure he grouched about it, but he came around.

Why is it that when people say marriage is a compromise, it's usually (not always) the woman that has compromise?

Rod said...

A few years ago, I worked with a married couple. The wife had chosen to keep her maiden name.

One of my less-polished coworkers was kidding around with the husband one day, and asked him "Aren't you man enough to make your wife take your name?"

I loved the husband's answer: "Yes, but I am also man enough not to!"

Anonymous said...

To Anon 1:11, some (or most, if not all) women who hyphenate their last names are NOT saying they don't want to "become one with their husbands." They can have many different reasons for not taking a husband's name completely! I left my maiden name in as an honor to my father, as a sign of respect for the first man to love me and first man I loved, the one who would do absolutely anything for me, the person I can trust more than anyone else in this world. I love my husband dearly, but he wasn't around to take care of me from the beginning of my life, my father was. So, even as another man becomes just as important to me, I needed my father to know that I'll always remember where I came from and who I am. And, my husband is man enough to understand why I have two last names now, as long as I go by his in public.

Anonymous said...

I completely understand what you are talking about.. I have been married to my husband now for two years and still havent changed my maiden name. I think I am going to once we are about to have kids but am still going to keep my maiden name as my middle name though.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 3:27
The man that first loved and created you is God. I'm glad you had a loving and responsible father, but God equipped him to father you. Each marriage was created for a purpose and it is to model Christ and the Church (read the book of Ephesians).
God created Mr. & Mrs. Adam (she became Eve after she ate from the forbidden tree, read Genesis Chapter 2). Just as a man should leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife; a wife is suppose to submit (help him accomplish the purpose and meet the responsibilities for the family) to her husband. Your good character can be a reflection on those who raised you, but we are to honor God only in our marriages. Again, marriage is about oneness and covenant, not convenience. To take your husband's name is to say, I am one with you. Fathers give daughters away at weddings for a reason...

Anonymous said...

I absolutely hated the sound of my maiden name and was glad to see it go. There was no drama over it being a part of me or any of that crap. I just didn't like the way it sounded. So, now I go by my middle name and my married name. No analysis...just like the sound of it. Hord may grow on you eventually!

Anonymous said...

Are you property of your husband? Or why not ask a husband to take the wife's last name?

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon at 3:27

You're wanting to honor your father and his name is honorable.

But think about this...."his" last name became YOUR last name because you mother DID NOT DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

Your father's name BECAME the family name.

Shouldn't YOUR children get the same??!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah....women really have to compromise in marriage. More than half the time it ends in divorce and then 70% of the time the wife gets the kids and the husband gets child support payments to make. She keeps the house and he's left paying for it and he only sees his kids on weekends. Once she starts dating her boyfriend spends more time with the kids than their actual dad does. In case you women wonder why there are no "good guys" out there looking to get married the reality is us single, attractive, successful, wealthy ones have seen this pattern happen too much to our friends. We're seeing the odds stacked WAY against us based on the high percentages of divorce and the vast majority being brought by women. And you say women have to compromise???? Please. We take ALL the risk. If it works out great for both of us. If not (which is usually the case) then we get screwed and you get half our stuff and the children if we had any. Where's the compromise there?

Anonymous said...

What name do the children take? If they get a hyphenated name, then what happens when they marry? If female, they then have three hyphenated names? Check out George Carlin's take on the whole thing.

Richsc said...

My wife went through the same identity crisis when we got married just over 12 years ago. I had no reason for her to change her name and use my last name...I just really...really wanted her to. So she did. And on the way home from the Soc. Sec. Office she was crying and saying how she felt she had lost her identity. I could see what she meant, and as a compromise, I deemed that day "Ann (Maiden Name) Day" And told her that we would celebrate this day as an anniversary of her name change and I would call her by her Maiden name all that day. A small gift, similar to a birthday present would be given each year on this day and usually a special diner. My way of telling her I understand and she will always be the same woman I married, regardless of the name she now goes by. To-date, I have only missed one of these days and that was this year due to it falling on Thanksgiving...with all the relatives visiting, and a 2 1/2 year old and 3 month old in the house, we both decided it would be ok to let it slide this year.

qtpi said...

I don't see the point of changing my identity as a result of loving my husband. Any children we have will get his surname.

The hyphen thing is silly, it just seems so awkward. I always feel bad for the kids with those names.

The ring on my finger says that I am one with my husband, not to mention the vows we made in front of our families and friends.

It isn't my independence I'm afraid of loosing, it is my identity.

Anonymous said...

I felt odd leaving my maiden name behind and struggled with the idea of keeping it, hyphenating, etc. I was about to keep the maiden name when I realized that name was my father's, the name before that, his father's, etc. I started thinking about all of the women in my family who had lost their names...how difficult it is trace family lineage on the maternal side when generations of women have given up their names... In the end, I thought about going back to the earliest female surname I could find in my family history... But then, geez, I just took my husband's name and didn't answer for about three years when people would call me Mrs. ____. I was like, why are you calling me by my mother-in-law's name? It's still an odd feeling for me after 15 years of marriage.