A couple of nights ago, I was out to dinner with a bunch of friends. The subject of women taking men’s last names upon getting married came up. There were four women (myself included) and five men. All the women but me said they’ll take their husband’s last name when they get married. The consensus from the men was a woman taking their name was a deal breaker.
For me, keeping my last name is a deal breaker. I have had this argument with many people, both men and women. I stand firm in my conviction: I’ve had my last name for a long time. (Normally, I find the climbing numbers associated with my age to be a nuisance, but sometimes they come in handy.) Asking me to drop it after all these years is like asking me to cut off my right arm…and I’m right handed! My last name is my heritage, it’s a part of who I am, it’s part of my story. It also happens to be a really great last name.
I come from a country, which to this day does not value women as highly as men. I hope that changes in the near future. But here is the irony: even in that country, women do not take on men’s names when they get married. In fact, my mother didn’t take on my father’s name until we moved here.
I’ve heard arguments from my fellow Christians that taking on the man’s name is biblical. Really? What was Jesus’ last name? Of Nazareth? Yes, the Bible does say “the two shall become one,” and I have no issue with a man taking on my name if he wants to extend the oneness to last names. Though in all honesty, I would not respect a man who would drop his last name for me. Just as my last name is a part of me, his last name is a part of him. The children can have his last name; I have no issue with that. I have my dad’s last name, and proud of it!
Almost all my girlfriends are married, and ALL of them took their husbands’ last names. I have no issue with that at all. To each his own. I don’t think less of my girlfriends, I don’t think they’re weak minded, I don’t think they’re oppressed. I understand wanting to be a family unit, and having the same last name symbolizes that unity.
I just don’t want to change my last name. It doesn’t make me a flaming liberal (just a moderate one), a man-hater, or a lesbian. I know tradition is important to many people, and I can get behind some traditions if they make sense to me. Giving up my last name doesn’t. I share my last name with two male cousins whose wives did not take their name. No one on my side of the family is offended by that, least of all my cousins.
I realize my stand on this issue will result on many men not wanting to marry me. That works for me. I don’t want the masses; I just want the ONE. The one will understand I’m a woman who loves her last name. He will understand that my keeping my last name is not disrespectful to him, nor does it emasculate him. I can hold on to every part of me, and still be committed and dedicated to him.
Now calm down, I am not completely devoid of reason. I will hyphenate my name so that I may be joined with my husband as I live out the rest of my story…provided he doesn’t have a weird last name.
This is just one of my deal breakers. What are yours? I’d love to read them, so please comment below. If a man would like to write a rebuttal, you are more than welcome. Send me an email: email@example.com.
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