Pep Talk Tuesday {Changing Your Name}

Confession. I never changed my name when Andrew and I got married. It's not that I forgot to or just didn't have the time to make it down to the whatever office it is you go to to do it, but I consciously made the decision not to change my name for a bunch of various reasons. And while my decision has been frowned upon by some and misunderstood by others, I am glad I have finally found the courage to talk about my thoughts and feelings on the ever so controversial tradition. Because all my life - even when I was a little girl and I used to add celebrities last names to my own first name only to frown in disapproval because it didn't feel right - I've known that changing my last name hasn't been the right decision for me. And here I am almost six months after I've declared my love and made a commitment to a man I love more than words, and to be perfectly honest, I am content with the choice I made; not to be confused with how I feel about how the choice I made affects Andrew; because that's a whole other story.

While a younger version of myself would have thought that taking a man's last name is a romantic and selfless gesture (alright I'll be honest, I still kind of feel this way), I've come to realize that either you change your last name or you don't and depending on your decision, society has a pretty stereotyped picture painted of the kind of woman you are. That alone, has made me so seething with anger I've wanted to pull a Madonna and legally go by Rhi. No Rhi Middle Last. No Rhi Middle Maiden Hislast. Just Rhi. This way I won't be a feminist loving too proud for her own good wife who refused to change her name but I will also avoid being the woman I fear the most, the one who feels like she has no choice in a matter regarding her own name and essentially her identity.

{My Story} Let's me tell you, my situation is a bit of a toughie. I was born Rhiannon Nicole Banda and that is my legal name. My parents were married when I was four years old and socially, slapped on my Dad's last name to the Banda thus making me Rhiannon Nicole Banda Hyphen Dadslast. To try to get people to spell, pronounce and understand the first name Rhiannon when you're shy and 5 five years old is one thing. But trying to get people to understand you 'really do have two last names, and one is kind of weird and although it says I'm registered as Rhiannon Banda there really is another last name on there!' well it gets sort of old and for a few years I actually took it upon myself to do a little name swap of my own. I became Rhiannon Scott for a short period of time. I'd come home with artwork proudly displaying Rhiannon Scott. And my Mom would politely remind me that that wasn't my name. 

During high school and college, the whole name thing proved to be a problem when it came to gymnastics meets, getting a license, registering for anything and everything, creating passwords and accounts, travelling and so many other things we do in life that require an established title and identity. I was starting to realize my parents made one big faux paus; they never legalized the Banda-Scott combination. For my entire life I'd gone with the Banda-Scott. But in reality I was really only a Banda. Credit card companies wouldn't let me get a card with both names. But specific stores, the registrars office at school and so forth wouldn't let me use my card if the name on the card didn't match the name on file. My passport often didn't match the name my flights would be registered under. Sometimes people would assume my first name was Banda and last name was Scott. It was tiresome and humiliating. I used to think getting married would solve all of my problems. I'd become Rhiannon Nicole Finally-an-end-to-the-name-game. And life would be smooth sailing from there forward.

Yet the wedding came and went. and I am now sitting here unable to even change my name on facebook to my husbands last name. I could easily add his last name to my legal Banda which would make for a sort of fun to say Banda-Bosse (Apb's last name reads as "Bossy"). I could move my social name, the Banda-Scott, to my middle name (drop the Nicole) and take his last name. But I just don't want to and the connotations that come with my wants makes me upset. Why do I have to give up who I have been and who I believe to be as a reflection of my name because I have promised to love someone for the rest of my life? Could Andrew take my name or could we combine the two and both have the exact same last name? Why is it so frowned upon when woman like me just decide to keep things as is? I love my name and am proud of it and want to keep it as it's been my entire life.

Sometimes we get cards and they say to the Mr and Mrs Andrew Bosse. The romantic proud to be married to an awesome man side of me sort of lights up inside and remembers how good it feels to be a dotting, cutey patootie wifey poo. But the other side of me, the freelance journalist and author who has things published under her Rhiannon Banda-Scott,  the RBSBosse makes me feel like I am not in fact Andrew's wife but instead his property and some sort of counterpart to his identity. As in he is Andrew Bosse and I am the Andrew Bosse with boobs. And while I am aware that's so far from the truth, I can't help but feel like I'm giving up something I love and feel a sense of pride about, when he gets to still keep what he has used to represent himself and his accomplishments with for the last 28 years.

I love my husband more than I can write in any blog post. Should we ever have kids, I will gladly have them take their fathers name. And I have absolutely nothing against woman who choose to take their husbands name; I actually feel a twinge of guilt when I see all my friends new last names because it makes me feel sneaky and selfish and snooty for not changing mine too. I applaud women who change their name without hesitation it's just that the decision for me to do so, wasn't the right one. And I say wasn't rather than isn't because perhaps in a few months, or a few years I will feel differently and decide to make the change after all. But for now, here's a few things to consider if you too, want to burst into the tears at the thought of changing your name. 

{Talk It Out} And if talking means crying, and getting nervous and maybe raising your voice a little bit, then that's OK too. But really try to get to the root of your feelings if changing your name isn't sounding so peachy. There's a reason you feel the way you do and if you cannot articulate this to your partner (I am going to assume this from a females perspective) there's no way he's going to be able to understand your feelings of confusion/sadness/frustration/ and so forth. Perhaps there's some sort of solution the both of you can agree on if only you just discuss your feelings.

{Take Your Time} Just because you're going to be a wife in a few months, doesn't mean you have to change your name anytime before then. Actually, the last thing you should be stressed out about in the time leading up to your big day is the whole name dilemma. Weddings and everything that surrounds them are stressful and full of all sorts of emotion. Wait until a few weeks after the celebration to figure out what you want to do, once your emotions have had a chance to settle down.

{Be a Big Girl} When it comes to your name and deciding on what it should be for the rest of your life, do what you want. Not what your husband (or wife) wants, not want your parents want, not what the latest wedding magazine is telling you to do and definitely not what your mother-in-law wants. Do what feels right and best to you because it's you that has to live with your name, new or not, for the rest of your life. And if you make the wrong decision somewhere along the line that's cool too. Although complicated procedures, name changes are always possible. And just remember no matter what your stance is on the issue, you have a choice to decide what you want, where as some women before has had no options. Thank heavens for that.

What are your thoughts on a woman taking her husbands name?

Please, if you are going to leave a comment make sure it's nice. While I love hearing your thoughts and encourage healthy and helpful discussion, negative feedback and personal attacks on either myself or other bloggers isn't welcome here and I reserve the right to remove content I feel is negative or mean. Amen to that!

Update: I contemplated taking this post down simply because of my own personally driven feelings of inadequacy, but it's important to know my husband supports my decision to keep my own name and this has not been a topic of sore discussion between the two of us. We are very much in love as the next couple who has the same last name and do not see my decision as a way to hinder the process of him and I 'becming a family.' After a tearful phone conversation this morning while he was at work he immediately send me a text telling me not to remove my post and thoughts as it shows personality and character. He ended with a "Don't feel bad for your choices, let them empower you." His message is proof that no one else's opinions, thoughts, feelings or whatever should pressure you or make you feel a specific way because ultimately you and your spouses/partners happiness is the first priority. And we are just that.

47 Lovely Comments:

Megan said...

I definitely think that it is the woman's choice if she chooses to take her husband's last name or not. I grew up HATING my last name because it started with a W and I was always called last for every single thing. I know that sounds stupid, but in elementary school...that was a huge deal. Haha! I couldn't wait to change me name! I can definitely see how you feel torn. It is kinda funny that a woman, myself included, can so easily give up her life long last name. However, I still get SO giddy when someone calls me Mrs (married name) or when I get to sign my married name. I guess it's a double edged sword. Haha. I definitely don't think you should be ashamed though!

annelise said...

I don't think you should have to justify to anybody your decision to not change your name. Similarly, I don't think the decision to change your name is anyone's business but your own.

I don't think I would change mine (should the situation arise!). It would feel weird to me to be known by a different name. Both my first name and surname are uncommon and I regularly have to spell both out to people, but I like the individuality. It's me.

But also get the reasons why some women want to. That's cool. But I don't think anyone has the right to say whether you should or shouldn't. It's such a personal decision.

Side note, my hairdresser didn't want to change her name and her husband is such a cool guy that he suggested merging their names into a hyphenated Smith-Jones type name. It's not for everybody but I love that he was secure enough in himself to suggest changing his name and understood her reluctance in changing her own. :)

Holly said...

Good for you for standing up for what you want! I have thought about this subject, too. My parents had two daughters, no one to carry on the family name (if my sister and I decided to take our husbands last name). I've always thought that if I took my husbands name, I would give my maiden name to my first born, as a way for my to still keep it. Carman could work for a boy or a girl, right :)

keely @ luxe + lillies said...

I have always adored your blog, but love reading it even more now that some of these topics are on my mind.

I think its great that you are so proud of your name, and you shouldn't have to justify to anyone why you want to keep it!

I have always known I would take my husbands name someday, agreeing with the romantic notion of it. However, now that I'm actually at the point in my life where I am getting married- I realize how important my name really is to me.

At the end of the day, I'm still going to take his name, 23 years of spelling out my entire name and getting hung up on it because of all the "e"'s in it, I'm ready to be mrs. hirschmann and not ms. keely o v[as in victor]e r [as in roger] b[as in boy] y e, hehe!

Liesl @ FabulousFashions4SensibleStyle said...

I am so glad you talked about this opening, Rhiannon!!!

I have been trying to figure out what I am going to do as far as my last night because it still seems so strange to me that our whole lives we have one name and then we get married and suddenly lose half of that person!

One of the things that touched me is right after I got engaged, my fiance turned to me and said, "I just want you to know that I honestly do not mind if you change your last name or keep yours, it makes no difference to me and you shouldn't have to lose your name just because you are marrying you, so, I support whatever you want to do for you."

I am still deciding and think I know what I am going to do, but am going to save the final decision until when we have to make it...this blog was so refreshing to me and I just wanted you to know!

You are WONDERFUL!!!

Liesl :)

Liesl @ FabulousFashions4SensibleStyle said...

P.S. opening = openly :)

jacin {lovely little details} said...

this is such an interesting topic, all the time. i SO struggled with this and ended up taking his name. my name is jacin - so as a female, growing up with a guy's name was hard enough (pronounced jay-sin), but now that i am married my new name is jacin fitzgerald = manliest name on the planet. but i wouldn't change it for anything and i'm proud to be a fitzgerald, although that doesn't mean i don't miss my old last name :)

- - Little Miss Martha - - said...

I love that you posted this! I too have not forgotten to change my name, but find it hard to get up the nerve to do... it's almost like losing a little piece of you and what you've worked for all these years before you met your other half. I thought about doing it after taxes... we'll see. The "Change the Name" date just keeps getting pushed back. However, I have added "Kellermeyer" to my emails, my invoices, etc... because here in Indiana everyone assumes that you already changed it... and quite frankly it's too much for me to explain it to everyone all the time! :)

Southern Domestic Bliss said...

I've been married 3 1/2 years and have yet to change my last name! I had/have every intention of doing it, it just hasn't happened yet. (We've also moved to four different states since being married, so that has a lot to do with it.) But I think you should do what's best for you, and you are lucky to have such a wonderful, understanding husband!

bailey said...

I'd always planned to take my husband's name, but when it came to actually doing it...I totally hesitated! I was never NOT going to do it but it was very bittersweet. I have three brothers so I'm now the only one in my family to not have my maiden name. I'm such a creep, sometimes I get jealous of my future sisters-in-law because they get my awesome maiden name! One thing I was kind of glad about was the refresh when I Google my name... I always promise my Andrew I'd make our name proud!!

Wisdom + Understanding said...

Hey Rhi, great post :) I grew up in Egypt where Muslim women always keep their maiden name upon being married but the kids go with dad's surname. Names in themselves are such a complex topic and at one point in my life when I was more feminist-inclined, I wanted to name my kids after my own name... after all, I'd be doing all the painful + longer part of the work! Imagine the same thing happening in the workplace with a project you work on painfully for 9 months haha ;)

But now... a few years later, I have come to appreciate the life lived in moderation. I applaud our foremothers for SO much they have done for the modern woman today but somewhere along the scale I personally feel too many modern-feminists tipped to the extreme. (Feminism itself spans many generations and styles and I appreciate that I am generalizing for the sake of brevity here!) Being with my fiance has made me appreciate, even more, that women and men really do bring such different and important facets to any issue in life and I truly believe that God has designed us this way for a reason - equally important roles, but also, equally different. I've also learnt so much about marriage from a biblical perspective that was eye-opening and revolutionary and made me realize exactly why a lot of what we've done in the name of 'progress' has really left a generation of women confused and unsatisfied.

I have decided to take his name for a plethora of personal reasons, a big one that - it makes him happy. Once I jokingly signed my name with his last name and he actually teared up and took the paper and put it in his pocket and held me for a long time. I realized at that moment what it meant for me for him. The whole time I'd just been thinking about me. And really, one thing the Bible has taught me is that a happy marriage is a contest in love - about who can love each other more, about two people engaging in constant selfless sacrifice for the sake of another, through thick and thin. I realized in comparing my desire to keep my name vs. how it made him feel to see me take his name, that there was no contest. Call it the first sacrifice of love in marriage that I willingly am doing ;) Anyways, apart from stupid, biggoted men, I think the 'name' thing goes towards how men are wired. Women and men both have protective mechanisms - and for him, the name thing wasn't about me becoming his possession, but that I was saying these words to him: I voluntarily choose to become your family, I believe in your abilities to lead, protect, care and love. One of my wise male friends told me that men don't need to hear 'i love you' as much as women, but they do need to hear 'i respect you' and 'i admire how hard you work for us' as those words strike a cord equally, if not greater, than those 3 words.

Anyways - like I said, each relationship is different and the decisions husbands & wives make need to be respected as their own decisions for THEIR happy, successful, and loving marriage. Cuz that's what it's really all about in the end! I'm choosing to take his name because of what it means to him which trumps any way I feel about my current surname. If for your husband it wasn't a big deal at all, then it makes no sense for you to take his name when you wanted to keep yours. Judgment from either side of the spectrum should be avoided because it's a personal choice and shouldn't be read as a political choice. Thanks again for this post :)

Brooke said...

This is so wonderful. I love my last name because it's different. I almost was going to keep it because we had no boys left in the family to pass it on, but a little boy cousin was born! For me, it just feels right to change it and I completley agree that some women like to keep their names and I have even seen and heard of men who have kept their wife's last name.

You wrote this so well and congrats on number 1 on the lovelies :)

Ashley said...

go on with your badself, rhi. you do what you want and never look back!

living in the South it's traditional for girls to go - First Maiden New Last. My girl friends from Kansas thought it was so odd, they go First Middle New Last. I don't think there are any rules!

It's your life! Live it as you please.

Jeanni said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry people have given you a hard time about your decision. It's your decision and you should be the only one who makes it, nobody else has any right to dictate it. I plan to take my fiance's name, but because I love the way it sounds with my first name and because I don't want to hold on to my patronymic anymore, not because I'm becoming his property in any way.

Every woman's reasons for taking or not taking his name are different, and each should be respected.

LifeBegins@Thirty said...

Wonderful post - as I was reading it I kept thinking "I could have wrote this" but not so well, of course.

I was married two and a bit years ago and also didn't change my name. When I hear about friends who did, I actually feel a slight tinge of remorse because it does seem 'romantic' and like all of a sudden they are more of a 'family' than hubs and I are.

But, I get over that pretty fast. I have a name. It is a connection to the family that raised me and made me who I am. I went to school with this name and got (numerous) degrees with this name. I have a job with this name and am making a 'name' for myself with it.

It seemed like I would be losing a part of myself if I changed it - I had lots of justifications for not changing (i.e. career, etc) but in reality, it is because it is MY name. Changing your name doesn't make sense in my opinion. If you want to do it, go for it! I have no judgement about it and think it is sweet. But don't tell me there is an important reason I must do it.

My husband has a GREAT last name and I'll be happy if I have kids for them to have his name. If I get a card with "J and J hislastname" on it, I smile.

Like I said - great post!

linds.eliz said...

Rhi! I loveddd this post! When I started following you, I was reading posts about your wedding (which I looooved), but this is the first post I've read where you've spoken about such a passionate topic for many women, and I lovvvved it!

Just as many people commented above, I also agree in a woman's choice to change her name or not. I am not technically married, but dating the love of my life (of 9 1/2 years). My opinion for my relationship is to take his last name. Not because I hate my last name ("Gibbons," which is a type of ape)--I actually like how my name sounds, "Lindsay Elizabeth Gibbons," more than how it will sound with his last name, "Lindsay Elizabeth Hanson" (I think this is more just because I've gone 25 years with this name, so anything different will sound strange for a little while). Not to mention, I also have some great initials with my current last name, "L.E.G." However, I am planning to take his name because after this 9 1/2 year relationship, which will probably be 11 years once we are actually married, it means more to us as another step in our new life together, and a seemingly simple answer to a complicated decision. But I guess it's just harder to put into words, as much of what fuels this decision is emotion and history in our relationship. It's more of a symbol of growth and commitment for us together than anything that answers to the social norms.

linds.eliz@ 413

follow? :)

Koru Kate said...

I'm sorry people have judged you for your decision because it is every woman's choice. & whatever a woman chooses, it is right for her. Many people struggle with it because it is sooo difficult!

I plan to change my last name but, 1.5 months after the wedding, I haven't done so. I want to change my last name because, to me, it symbolizes the official start of our family. I can't decide if I will be Kate Maiden HisLast or Kate Middle HisLast. Kate Middle Maiden HisLast seems too long, yet my middle & last names mean something. So I have stalled.

Funny side note, our dog (we adopted while engaged) has my last name because the vet had it on record from my previous pets. My husband, who loves this furry pup so much, even wants the dog's last name changed :-)

Jessica said...

I really dislike that people think it's their business what you do with your name when you get married. I was more than happy to take my husbands name when we got married but I didn't want to give up my name either. I ended up just changing my name so that my first and middle name became my first name my maiden name became my middle name and then I took his last name. I am the only girl in my family so when I married I was the only one who wouldn't have the name anymore and I just hated that. It took a little while for my husband to be cool with it but it was something that was worth it to me and I have never regretted my choice. As for everyone else's opinions there were many and most weren't positive but they don't matter!

Natasha Solae said...

You don't need or should have to justify shit. When you make a decision, especially if it comes from the heart, never make excuses or issue any apologies. You know, I am happy you did it. Although, I will probably choose to take my husbands last name, imo, it's because I think the man is worthy enough.

The thing is, I understand. With women, when we take a man's last name we're identified as Mr. and Mrs. HIM and its like we as the women, we lose our idenities. It's hard enough as a woman to do alot of things and being the minority, the little bit of identity you do have and what you stand dont want it to be thrown in the shadows of someone you love. I think if the man could take the last name of a woman and be known as MR and MRS. She instead of Mr and Mrs. She-He (The double last names, y'know) then women wouldnt be looked so frowned upon and stereotyped. Also we wouldnt be losing our identities because each couple made a choice specific to them. It's like DEFAULTLY we have to be in the shadows of our husbands.

My mother did not take on my father's last name because she thought it would be easier since they had so many bills pre-marriage in different names. Now she regrets it because it only made it more difficult in marriage but the point is..she did it, stood by it and never issued any apologies.

Stay strong girl and do whatever makes you feel complete my love!


christine, just bella said...

Amazing post! I did end up changing my name but it wasn't easy. There may or may not have been some tears walking out of that registry office.

I absolutely understand and sympathize with those women who don't and think you should be proud for making the decision that works for you!

Growing up I struggled with and was teased about a tricky, Austrian last name that noone could pronounce. Once I was older and in my twenties I finally had embraced my name. It was just me... and now I had to change it? It's hard not to feel like you're losing a part of yourself. But it was something I wanted to do and I have realized by changing my name I did not lose any of who I am. I'm still me. Though, I still think of my maiden name as my sort of alias because that is still me too.

It's a tough decision and I agree you should do what works for you and embrace your decision, no matter what!

Blicious said...

i love this post!! i have a few friends who have not changed their name and it doesnt matter. We are all individuals and we have the right to do what we want.
i am persoanlly changing my name because i want to. i have so many feelings and emotions about changing it and it gives me the butterflies. i cant wait!!
but i would never for a second think badly upon anyone who didnt. thats their choice. and as long as you're happy, that is ALL that matters!


Meg said...

Proud of you, Rhi-pants! ;) Love this post!


Simone said...

You do whatever makes you - and Andrew - happy, it really isn't anyone else's business.

I changed my name to my husband's, never thought twice about it and am quite happy with my decision - I have not thought about it once since. I have 2 brothers to carry on my maiden name and I did not feel a particular attachment to it.

I would not want to have a different last name to my children though, I have to say.

I do think it's the kind of decision you have to make before you actually get married and you really need to make sure your husband supports and understands your reasons for doing it.

It seems possibly that it is more normal here in England to take your husband's name - altho don't quote me on that!! Most of my friends changed their names - the only ones that kept them were for business or professional reasons.

I just like having the same last name as my husband :) I totally understand your reasons though xx

Miss K said...

Thank you for this post and yfor your honesty, I understand why you were torn in posting it.

I think that it's every person's choice whether or not they want to change their name when they're married. I've chosen to change my own name to my husband's when we're married for reasons personal to me just like you are keeping yours for reasons personal to you.

I think this is a great post to help other women who don't agree with keeping your last name understand why some women choose to do so and that it's not always in a defiant manner.

Krystal said...

Girrrrrlllll.....I am just going to be echoing everyone else by saying that you don't have to justify anything to anyone, it's totally between you and your man not you and the world. so there.
p.s. i wish i hadn't changed my name. sometimes i write my old name longingly.

Alicia@CharityWedding said...

Great post! I actually wrote a similar post that has yet to be published but I in fact did change my last name. I never had any doubts I would, it was just this implied part of marriage that I was excited to carry out. That was until I jokingly mentioned the idea of combining our names and my then fiance scoffed at the idea like it was madness. I was instantly offended that I was expected to take his name like it was no big deal and he would even entertain the idea of adding two letters to his, even in a joking conversation! (My maiden name is McDonald his French so obvs McFrench would have been perfection.) Then when it came time to actually change it, I had incredibly mixed feelings and I still do. While I am excited to be a French, I feel like I have to create a whole new identity associated with the new name and everything I did as Alicia McDonald is essentially irrelevant. Again while I am content with the name change, my post was directed to the fact that we should talk about this in more detail and be more prepared for it. It is a big deal and I don't think I realized it originally. I still have a hard time signing my new name- I feel like I am playing around or something!

Megan said...

aw sweet one. I think the decision to change the last name is a person choice...whatever works best for the woman and man, and whatever the woman feels comfortable with. It shouldnt be turned into this "must or musnt" thing. I changed my last name because I didnt like mine, and i dont get along with my dad so I felt no connection to the name to begin with. However, it is a PAIN to change the much goes into it..I never changed my name on my passport..which turned out to be a HUGE pain when my husband and I came over seas for grad school...because the name i used (married) was different then the name on my passport (maiden).

sometimes i wish i kept my old name and avoided the

Anonymous said...

With the ever so slow progress we as a society are making with womans rights,I rejoice in the right to keep your own identity and be in love at the same time. I do giggle still after 21 years of marriage when a stranger calls my home and asks for Mr.Banda-Scott

Nicole said...

We'll be married 2 years in May and I have still not 'legally' changed my name. After the wedding I didn't hesitate to change it at work and shortly after I changed it on facebook. Then it hit me. I wasn't me anymore. I did not expect to feel that way; it never occured to me that taking my husbands name would create such sadness. I will eventually assume my husband's name but I will do it in my own time. No matter what name I have I'm still me.
No matter what decision a new wife makes it's important to put some thought into how it affects not only her but also her husband and any future children. There is no right choice but there is a best choice for each individual.
Thank you for your thoughtful and postive words.

Alisha said...

Wowsers, Rhi!! This post is probably the best I've read in a very long time. Thank you. It may have taken me a few weeks, but I finally got around to changing my name on my license after the wedding. I still have yet to change my bank info or SS card info… Soon tho. Thanks for the empowerment either way the ladies out there choose.
My favorite line is "As in he is Andrew Bosse and I am the Andrew Bosse with boobs." I sometimes feel like this too ;/ but it would never make me second guess my love for the man I married.
Thanks girl!!

Kimber said...

Love that you posted this.

"Let them empower you" is right on.

We all don't fit the same mold, we all don't have the same traditions, and dare I say it, some of us *ahem* put our pants on two legs at a time.

clearlytangled said...

i agree with the others that have commented that the decision to change your last name is no one else's business but yours! i'm surprised that people would pass judgment on such a thing.
i changed my last name for a very simple reason: i like the husband's last name more than my maiden name. the combination, as you know, is incredibly unique. i actually have never liked my maiden name. i guess this makes me a bit shallow, because that's really all the thought i put into it!

Stephanie said...

I was connected to my maiden name too and it was hard to let it go, so I moved it to a second middle name. Since you brought up name changing I thought I'd share this website one of my friends told me about when I got married: It makes name changing easier and is a great wedding gift for someone, just an fyi.

Char said...

What a great post and topic of discussion, good for you! I too loved and felt such a connection with my maiden last name: Moon. Growing up being Charlotte Moon, what a name?! I'm only 1 of 2 Moon's left after my father passed and I was sad to lose it. I did choose to change my last name, but like you I did think about it long and hard. I actually had people tell me NOT to change, because of how unique it is. My aunt used her maiden name as her middle name and gained her new married last name; an idea that came from her father because he had 3 daughters and no son's to carry the last name. Kind of unique.

I made a mistake signing my marriage license, things they don't tell you before you get married! When signing the marriage license, sign with your NEW name (if you are changing your last name, that is). I signed with my maiden name, not knowing any different. I then had to hyphen my new last name: Moon-Dewey. Everyone joked about how it would be so cool if I kept it that way, and honestly I made an honest mistake and it ended up being that way. If you do legally change your name (in the U.S.) to a hyphen, you can choose which last name to use on your driver's license, SS card, etc. So legally I'm Moon-Dewey, but I just go by Dewey.

I don't agree with people making judgements about why you chose to not change or to change your married last name. It is all preference and you know that you are married, Andrew knows it, the whole world knows it, I don't think it should matter what name you use. Good for you girl!

Jesse {GoodGirlGoneGlad} said...

Here are my thoughts on this subject. I completely respect whatever you choose to do. Marriage, to me, the two become one. Taking my husbands name is a show of love and respect for him. I am an old school girl though. =) Best of luck to you girl for whatever you decide. Oh and you could always put your last name in one of your kids names as a way to show your pride.

Anonymous said...

I'm on the fence on this topic as well. As my father only had 2 daughters, our last name will not live on, and that makes me sad. If my boyfriend ever wisens up and proposes, I think I would just add his name onto the end of mine - not hyphenated, just a 4th name. I've always wanted to be a "Mrs," but I've been MY name for 32 years, that's going to be sad to change.
And I'm with some of the other commentors - your decision is yours and Andrews, you don't need to justify that decision to anyone. What works for you may not be what works for everyone else, but that's okay. You were brave to post this topic, and I haven't read all the comments, but I do hope they were kind!

Nikki said...

What a story! I totally understand though. I do payroll and we're always having to double check people's double and even triple last names with ss#'s. It's a pain.

I think it's a personal decision. My Husband wanted to take my last name because the name ended with my Sister and I. I didn't like it because it was plain and I wanted his very complicated last name starting with Dz and not sounding at all how it's spelled. Sometimes I regret that for the ease.

But I have to admit, it makes me feel like we're a unit and I like that.

Lauren said...

Growing up, I hated my long, hard-to-pronounce (and ever harder to spell) Italian. I couldn't wait to get married and trade it in for a cute, WASPy name. I talked that way straight through my wedding day.

However, when it came down to actually doing it, I felt weird. It was important to me to share the same name as my husband, and it will be important for my family to share the same name. But, I miss my name. When my friends refer to me as Lauren X, I laugh and tell them I don't know who that is, I'm still Lauren Y. I write my new name, but I feel my old name. Does that make any sense? I'm sure I will get over it at some point, but for the time being, the name in my head is not the one I sign on papers.

April said...

Great post!! Your strong sense of identity is inspiring, & I can tell your husband really loves you for it, too. I was thinking of writing a similar post someday, but here's a (not-so-brief) summary of my thoughts on it:

The last-name issue was the only impasse my husband and I have ever come across, and BOY, was it tough. Normally we're rockstars at the whole negotiation game.

Sure enough, at first, we agreed that the "most fair" thing would be to change our last names to "HerLast-HisLast," but 6 months before our wedding as it became closer to reality, he realized how he really felt about it. My otherwise feminist (then)-fiance wanted to keep his last name, and admitted that he'd be hurt if I didn't change mine. I was... angry. sad. frustrated. And hurt, just like he said HE was.

I got some marriage advice from an older friend (who didn't know about the name struggles), and she said:

Most people would like to say that marriage is 50-50, but it can't be that all the time. Sometimes it will have to be 10-90, and other times it will be 70-30. Don't hold grudges, don't keep tabs, just trust that a lifetime of love will be more than enough.

Long story short? I gave in, and am now April Bradshaw Matthews (got rid of my original middle name). I sign most things today with all three names.

Although I took the first part of the advice, I'm working on the "not keeping tabs" part... just in case we disagree on baby names ; )

Kelly said...

What an inspiring post. I am not married, but have thought about this often. I am so proud of who I am as a woman, as a person, and that is all linked to my name. I applaud your choice of name, but more than that I applaud your choice of partner. I'm glad you have a husband who understands that this is important to you.

Irene said...

whoa, who is giving you a hard time about this?

can i just say, don't ever edit posts on behalf of reader's opinion. it's YOUR space in this universe where you can put whatever you want.
you don't write to have readers, you write because you're a writer.

kellyhicks said...

I also had a breakdown moment walking out of DMV after changing my last name on my driver's license. They made me take a new picture because I guess "Kelly McWaters" looks different than "Kelly Hicks". I remember trying to explain why I was so upset to my new husband and it came out like this through sobs.. "Kelly McWaters is beautiful and Kelly Hicks is ugly!!" hahaha. It's a hard change but was a right one for us.

Thanks for writing this and showing both sides :)

Mary - Lemon Fresh Designs Photography said...

Beautifully written Rhi. From your heart and you stand by your words. I'm standing here with a big applause to you, because many wouldn't be strong enough to write this.
I kept my name, and yes, still receive flack because of it almost three years later. But I've learned, that those who are negative, don't understand or respect my decision. It's my name, and it doesn't change how I feel about my husband. I wouldn't force him to change his name, so why should anyone feel pressure to conform to pressures? It's really up to the individual. Our son has my husband's last name and I love it for him. When he gets older, he'll understand that mommy and daddy have different names, but are still married in a wonderful relationship and union that is based on many things, including respect for one another.

lauren said...

All that matters is that you are in a relationship where you both love and respect one another. You clearly have found someone who loves you for the person you are. after all, isnt that what marriage is all about!

Anonymous said...

That's so funny that you talked about name changes and such in this post...I was actually talking to my best friend last week about it and how I don't think I would change my last name when I get married. I'm so used to my first name going with the last name that I can't imagine another last name with it.

Also, I can relate to you on how I have slight variations of my name on all my forms of ID. I am currently applying for my nursing boards and it is annoying because I am scrambling to ensure that my name that I applied on my test matches that on my IDs.

la petite coquine said...

I just saw this and wanted to leave a little note. My dearest cousin Maria was married just one day before my birthday (technically I think she's a third cousin, but the woman could be my mom or my aunt) and did not take her husband's name. Not only did she keep her name, they decided that the gender of their first child would determine who got late name privileges-they now have a daughter and son who have Maria's last name, not her husband Scott.

Does he get called Mr Mariah Carey all the time? You bet. But it's how they navigated becoming husband and wife, and I love it. And I love that you didn't change your name, because let's face it, that's a HUGE part of you who are, and the person hubs fell in love with in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post - thank you for being so real and honest. It's rare to find such a tough topic being discussed on wedding blogs like these so when I spotted the title, I had to stop and read the whole thing, plus all of the comments, naturally.

I've been married for a year and a half now and still haven't changed my last name either. In fact, even after all this time, I'm still undecided. My husband comes from a traditional Asian family where he is the only son which means he, according to tradition, would be the only one carrying on the family name. He also lost his father way too young so he felt a strong sense of familial commitment to have me change my name. All those are very valid reasons and he by no means tried for force it on me, but rather wished I respected tradition. However, tradition for me meant keeping my last name since both my mom and grandmother kept theirs.

It was a contentious issue for us leading up to the wedding. So much so that I started to come around to the idea that I could change my name because being his Mrs is romantic and would make him (and his family) happy. Then I'd actually think about how I would feel and I had the exact same thoughts you did - loosing my self identity, shedding my family to be part of his.. confusion to the max. We managed to agree to let me take my time with the decision and while he is being amazingly understanding, I can see the hope on his face when the topic does come up. Perhaps one day I'll decide to dust off that name change package I got, but for now I'm content with being undecided. So all that to say you're certainly not alone in your confusion and thanks for putting into words the magnitude of weight a decision like this bears on a woman.