I am about to undergo an identity change. I am getting married and changing my last name. I am very excited about it – I cannot wait – but it will be a big change. I always liked my birth name, and since I am now in my mid-thirties, I have become quite used to it.
Back when women taking their husbands’ names was the norm, people got married younger. And I am getting married older than most people. Not really by choice – it just worked out that way for me. If I could have met and married my fiancée 10 years ago, I would have. But I had to wait.
I am excited about changing my name – and at my grand old age there are so many things that need to be changed – official documents, household bills, bank accounts, superannuation, social media accounts… I made a list and it’s as long as my arm!
Elizabeth Seward says, “But not everyone wants to change their names. I didn’t eschew every wedding tradition—my father walked me down the aisle and I’m glad he did. But I couldn’t compromise on changing my last name.”
She explains it like this: “I’ve worked hard over the years for successes and experiences that are each tied to my name. My friends, my colleagues, and my acquaintances know me by my name. And I know me by my name, too.”
Here are the top 3 pros and the top 3 cons I have found to taking your husband’s name:
Pro #1: Men love it
According to All Women’s Talk. And why wouldn’t they? Taking your partner’s name shows commitment and respect to their family in some people’s books. But not every family would feel the same way.
Pro #2: Easier for your kids if you have them
(Although once they are over the age of 10 I doubt it would matter much!) Some people think that having a mummy and a daddy with different names can be confusing for young ones.
Pro #3: A sense of unity
“Having the same last name…has a strong family feel (to it) and it’s also a quick and easy way to sign cards. Additionally, it is an easy way to list your name for reservations,” says this rather light-hearted site.
Here are some of the cons I have found to taking your husband’s name:
Con #1: Carry-on debt:
The Wall Street Journal says, “When combining assets after marriage, it’s fairly common for one spouse to enter a marriage with debt or financial problems. In divorce it’s often the woman who gets the shaft, even if she was more careful with the family’s money than her husband.”
“Women who adopt their husband’s names, and then simply add their names to their husband’s credit-card accounts and other personal debt run the risk of not providing themselves with an adequate credit history should divorce require them to acquire debt on their own.”
Con #2: You may have spent years cultivating your current professional identity
Your Tango says, “If you’re a bestselling author, an expert in your field, or have a business named after you, it might be easier career-wise to just stick with your maiden name, at least in the workplace. Think about all those business cards you’ll save yourself from reprinting!” Having said that, a saving of a couple of hundred bucks is likely to be a paltry reward off the back of your looming wedding costs!
Con #3: The paperwork
Yep – there will be lots. Where I live in New South Wales in Australia, they have “name change kits” which seems fairly straight forward. But what about my work email? My two passports? Honestly, the thought of having to deal with all this paperwork is enough to put some people off taking their partner’s name once and for all!
So – should you take your husband’s name?
It’s up to you. Marriage is a big commitment, and for me, having the one surname is something I am really, really looking forward to. I have even started a countdown, which is driving my fiancée crazy as he doesn’t see what the big deal is.
72 days to go.
Best of luck in your marriage – have you decided to take your husband’s name? If so, why? Tell me in the comments below!