“So, what’s your new name?”
After a word of congrats, or a request to see photos, this is the question I’ve been getting for the past 2-ish weeks. I married my wonderful husband at the beginning of this month. We are brand-newlyweds, and it’s pretty great so far.
I usually reply “It’s still Marshall, I didn’t change my name.” For those who need extra time processing, they’ll ask if his last name is Marshall too, and I’ll have to repeat that I didn’t change my name. Then some form of shade (side eye, scowl, head shake, etc.) follows. People have demanded an explanation on my choice (sorry, I left my Powerpoint presentation at home.) I’ve been told that I should change it. The first couple of times I dismissed this direct order, but then I started asking people why. I didn’t hear anything beyond a “because you should” or that it’s tradition. A lot of things were and are tradition, but that doesn’t make them correct or a one-size-fits-all for everyone. I’m sorry, but “because” will not suffice for an answer.
During our engagement, I brought the name change thing up to my then fiance. I told him my thoughts, which included compromising on a hyphenated last name if that’s what was needed. He told me that he wanted to marry ME, and that he will support what I wanted. Aaaand, that was the end of that conversation. The only two people that this deals with are already in agreeance, and everyone else is just being informed. We were set a LONG TIME AGO. According to one article, more women are keeping their maiden names for a variety of reasons. I’m the last child and if I change my name, it disappears. Plus, I like my name and I want to keep it.
One person said “Are you a feminist or something?” I don’t think I’ve ever directly labeled myself as a feminist. I’m a “support whatever a choice a woman wants to make about her body and her life” person. If that’s a feminist, sign me on up. If a woman wants to adopt her spouse’s name, hyphenate, keep her birth name, or create a new name, I’m here for it. To be COMPLETELY honest, I really don't care. Everyone’s relationship is unique, so why expect everyone to do the same, exact thing? Both of my parents walked me down the aisle. The awesome minister who married us respectfully left out the “who gives this woman away” part of the ceremony at my request. Still married. Still chillin.
What I find most disrespectful, is when people ask my husband’s last name, and say “I’m gonna call you Mrs. Thomas anyway”. I expect for my choices to be respected, like I do for others. That’s in an ideal world I know, but it’s still annoying when MY life decisions are judged or dismissed. This is where the conversation go alllll the way left. I did not ask for anyone’s opinion on this, because I was clear on what I wanted.
People are also concerned about my children (whom don’t yet exist), and what their last names will be. Everybody calm down. The kiddies will be fine. They will not collapse in despair if they have to write a few more letters at the top of their assignments.
Me choosing not to change my last name does not make me any less married, less in love, or less committed. It does not mean that I do not trust him or marriage. I realize that new people who meet us and know we’re married will assume and call me Mrs. Thomas. And I won’t be offended. As a society, we assume they folks follow the same path. But, if you DO know, I expect the courtesy of calling me by MY name.
I expected SOME changes after getting married. But this? I wasn't ready!
If you are or were married, how did you approach this topic? If you changed your name, what are your reasons? If you are not yet married, how do you plan to navigate this?
Sexy people rock.