A Star Tribune article featured interesting stats regarding name change. In the mid 1970s, 96% of women took their husband’s last names. The trend changed with the rise as feminism throughout the in the 80s and 90s where 80% of women changed their last names after getting married. Last spring, The Knot found that 86% of women took their husband’s last name. An Indiana University survey found that 66% of respondents felt it was “best” for a woman to take her husband’s name.
Notice the trend? Even though it is now more socially accepted for a woman to keep her maiden name, fewer brides choose to do so.
The real question is: Is a name change choice right for you? Here are five questions a business-savvy bride can examine to begin her name-change decision:
Question #1: How important is your last name to your career?
If you are in the working world and have any kind of professional commendations associated with your birth name, you may have reason to think twice about changing your name. Some brides decide to use their married name legally and their maiden names professionally to keep their achievements associated with their name. Have you accomplished something professional that is important to you and will be hard to connect to you if you change your last name?
Question #2: How important is your last name to your individual identity?
Women in the past kept their names to preserve their individual identities. Threatened by the concept of being smothered by her husband and sacrificing her own preferences, a bride kept her maiden name to make a strong statement to her husband and the rest of the world – she is an individual first, than a wife. Now, many women feel that their identity is expressed in other ways and feel a name change is less significant of an individual expression. Is your maiden name an important part of your identity or do you feel your individuality is expressed in other ways?
Question #3: How important is it for you to have the same last name as your husband and/or your children?
A reason women change their last names after marriage now is to show a strong sense of family unity. Not saying that you can’t pick up movie tickets or dry cleaning under your husband’s name if your last name is not the same as his, but it may be more difficult. Also, your future children, who will no doubt be embarrassed by you for something or another, may have to explain to their friends why your last name is different than their father’s if it is. Do you think a family is more unified when all members have the same last name than a family where the members have different last names?
Question #4: Do you like your husband’s last name better?
In the movie, the wedding singer, Drew Barrymore stands in front of the mirror and cries as she says “Julie Gulia,” and no wonder – I’d cry too. But if his name is significantly more complicated than your maiden name or if your new name would sound like a middle school torture (i.e. Julia Gulia), you may have reason to think twice. On the other hand, if your last name is complicated and hard to pronounce, you may invite the name change, especially if his is simple. Who’s last name do you like better: yours or his?
Question #5: How does your hubster feel about a name change?
Some future husband’s are indifferent to you changing your last name. Others feel very strongly. Be sure to have a conversation with the hubster to see where he stands on the subject. This may have a huge influence on your decision. How does the hubster feel about you changing your last name?
Changing your last name take a lot of effort legally, so be sure you ask yourself the 5 questions listed above before you make a final decision about changing your last name.
How do you feel about changing your last name? Share your thoughts in the comments below.