Name-changing in marriage is a fascinating concept. Or perhaps just the attitudes around it are fascinating, since the name change itself isn’t (typically) that interesting. It is one of those things where, if a woman were to protest the expectation to change her name, people would respond, “oh, come on, it is just a name, it isn’t a big deal.” But yet some people seem to make a pretty big deal about it if she doesn’t change her name, which leads me to wonder why, if it isn’t such a big deal to change your name, isn’t it not such a big deal to keep your maiden name? I figured out a few years ago that if I get married, I won’t be offended if my spouse doesn’t want to follow the tradition of sharing a last name. It made even more sense to me that my spouse might not want to take my name if she didn’t have siblings that had kept her family name, but still wanted her family’s name to continue.
Once I came to that conclusion, it didn’t take long for me to realize why I might want to change my name if I get married. My mother is one of two siblings, and neither my mom nor my aunt kept her maiden name. My middle name is my mother’s maiden name, and I actually share that middle name with one of my brothers. So, my mother perpetuated her family name even though none of her children carry her family name as a family name—only a middle name. Growing up, my mother frequently told me how much I was like my grandfather, her father. Even though he passed away before I was born, I feel a certain connection to him because of the stories my mother told me about him. Since my grandfather’s name hasn’t been continued by his children, I think it would be fitting and appropriate for me to carry on his family name if I have a family of my own. If my spouse likes the idea, we could even share that name. But, of course, this is all up for discussion.