Should You Take Your Husband’s Name When You Get Married?

Maybe you’ve found the one partner that deserves your love and respect and you can imagine sharing your life with him. Maybe you’ve already said “yes”. But should you take your husband’s name?

In many cultures, it goes without saying that when she gets married, a woman will take her husband’s last name. Even in the more progressive communities, choosing to keep your last name as a woman is frown upon. And if you want to keep your name, you need to justify your choice. Why is that and what does this really mean?

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Let’s begin with the fact that people who think a woman should take her husband’s name are usually the same people who believe that she should prioritize family and marriage ahead of herself.

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That being said, let’s go deeper. The main argument they usually give is that sharing a name is what makes a family. Wait, what? So it’s not the love, the respect, the mutual support that makes a family, but a name?

Historically, the woman having the same name as her husband’s meant that she went from being the daughter of her father to being the wife of her husband. In other words, she didn’t have her own identity, but was thought to belong to a male.

We tend to forget that until recently women couldn’t enter contracts, own property, have any rights over their children or their body, not to mention the right to vote. Why would they need a name of their own?

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It’s important to put things in perspective when we speak about choosing a last name and who takes whose. The naming game is not a trifle matter, as it may appear. It’s about the right to be your own person, whose identity doesn’t depend on the relationship with a man. If it’s not about belonging to a man, why wouldn’t men themselves give up their last name in order to emphasize the importance of their new family in their lives?

Honoring the fact that you decided to become a family can be made in many ways. You can decide to hyphenate names, create new last names, or leave them as they are. Every couple should make the decision that is right for them. But the right decision also implies that you know what is in stake. Please, share this!