Would you take your wife’s last name?

I know some men who read this might say “heck no!” But why not? Did you ask your wife if she would take your surname or just assume that she would?
I want to be clear. I love tradition – the behaviors or elements of a culture being passed down from one generation to another. The taking of a man’s surname by his wife, is one of the oldest known traditions. As a matter of fact, it’s biblical. Most of society follows a patriarchal system. Social organization dictates men as rulers of state and descent is traced through the male line. It’s a man’s world, blah, blah!

I do understand the rules and traditions that have been put in place regarding name-taking and male pedigree, but I never agreed with them. I always found the tradition of a wife taking her husband’s last name to be a bit archaic and stringent.

One of the most important clauses of a wedding vow is that “two become one”, but which of the two will make the biggest sacrifice? At times, the name-change tradition encourages the loss of identity and social status of the woman.

Actress Zoe Saldaña and her husband, Marco Perego Saldaña
Actress Zoe Saldaña and her husband, Marco Perego Saldaña

After much speculation, actress Zoe Saldaña confirmed that her husband, Italian artist Marco Perego Saldaña, took her last name. It was a trending question on social media for months, after news articles covering the recent birth of their twin boys would mention him as Marco Perego Saldaña. She explained in a recent interview, she did not initially agree with his decision to take her surname because of the ridicule that he will be subjected to, by his peers and others. In spite of the criticism he would face, he chose to take her name. She said that she felt proud because he will serve as an example to other men.

A woman is never asked if she wants to take her husband’s surname. It is just assumed that she will do so. I do not really think that men are aware of the magnitude of a name change. It is more than going to the municipal court to make it legal. It’s more than changing usernames on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It’s more than applying for new ID cards – driver’s license, passport, AAA card, library card, etc. It is an identity change!

I know that I am probably in the minority when I say this, but I will not change my name when I get married. A name is not just a name! Granted, I received my name from a man – my dad. And he is the only man whose name I accept to take, simply because it was given to me. I love my name because it has deep-rooted meaning and there is a lot of history behind it.

A woman takes her husband’s surname, but it does not have the same meaning to her as it would to him, so why take it? So many women get married and refer to themselves as Mrs. So & So. What is that? Who were you before? So you are no longer Jane or Jill? But Mrs. Brown or Mrs. Jones.

I am not criticizing the women who take their husbands’ last names. I am not even proposing that men use their wives’ last names. What I am questioning is the thought process behind making such a huge decision. Do you do it because of tradition? Do you do it to make your husband/wife happy?

I think that one should go into it being fully aware of your spouse’s family history/lineage, the meaning of the name, and the effect it would have on your own identity.

What do you think of the surname-changing tradition? And men, would you take your wife’s last name?


Featured Image Source: content.time.com
Image Source: usmagazine.com


2 thoughts on “Would you take your wife’s last name?

  1. I probably will take my hubsands name out of mere tradition but I really enjoyed this post because you suggested something I never thought of. I always thought I had three options: 1. take his name 2. combine names with hyphen 3. don’t change name. But never in a billion years would I have thought to ask him to take my name. Whenever that tradition comes up in my life, I need to remember to ask!!! Interesting read, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point, Grace!!! A lot of times, people do things because they have been done before, but not because they truly understand what it means. And there are so many other possibilities. I think husbands taking their wives’ surnames can be a new tradition – one that maybe all can appreciate! Thank you so much for reading my post.

      Liked by 1 person

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