Why I’ll Take My Husband’s Last Name

No, I’m not getting married.
Not even close (you’re off the hook for quite a while, Nav).
But when I do, I will take my husbands last name. Simple as that.
Why, you ask?
Not even a hyphen?
Nope, not even a hyphen.
Here’s my argument case.
You didn’t choose your Dad. That’s just not how it works.
Most American women (generalization, sorry) have their father’s last name.
So at birth you were given a name that you didn’t choose and that was already not yours.
It was his.
The good news is, I will choose my husband.
And when I do, I will make the choice to take his name.
Why? Because I didn’t pick my father, but I surely will pick my husband.
And taking his name won’t be some anti-feminist act.
It will be me giving up a name I did not choose for one that I did.
Funnily enough, I’ve already changed my last name once. 
From my Dad’s last name to my Mom’s.
Don’t ask. Divorces are messy and they make for messy childhoods.
And sassy teenagers.
So interestingly, the above argument doesn’t completely apply to me.
But let’s just go with it, shall we?
Because really I always wanted one name on my mailbox.
Tell me, did you take your husbands last name?
Are you planning to someday?

  • as a newly married lady, i’ve been struggling with this issue lately. not so much whether or not to take his last name, but more so what to do with my maiden name. it’s such a tough decision!

    • I’ve got a while before I have to figure that out haha. I’m sure it is a tough decision for plenty of people. I know a lot of people make their maiden name their middle name. I say just add it right there in the middle and have four!

  • I can relate to this on so many levels! I’ll definitely take my husbands last name when I do get married…which is not even close to any time soon! 🙂

    • Hey, at least you’ve already decided. Takes the weight off your shoulders for when you do get married 🙂

  • I took my husband’s last name, and yes, it was partially to get rid of my dad’s (which I kept, despite the messy childhood divorce you describe!).

    For me, it was something I always just assumed I’d do. I didn’t put much thought into it at all. I will say, though, I think it was partially because I wasn’t finished with school and hadn’t any major accomplishments (publications, acting gigs, whatever) associated with my maiden name. If I had already had a strong professional identity, I might’ve kept or hyphenated. But I didn’t, and now I get to make my chosen name for myself, which I think is cool.

    • You know, I hadn’t really thought about the professional accomplishments side of things. I could see how that would make the decision much more difficult. Lucky for me, I’m not a doctor, lawyer or in academia so I won’t have any of those issues to worry about. But for the women who do, I’m sure it makes things more challenging.

  • I agree with you! It’s such a personal decision but I want to have the same last name as my children as well. My Mom hyphenated her name which was just a mess and so confusing for paperwork and everything else. My parents are also divorced now and it’s a little weird that I have the name last name as my dad’s new wife. I will definitely be changing it when I get married! {that’s such a cute pic of the baseballs and rings btw!}


    • My mom and I didn’t have the same last name for my whole childhood (til I changed it) and I agree, it always made things a little difficult. Maybe it’s just cause kids don’t understand how to explain things like that. I’ll definitely change it so my family can all have the same last name. And I can see how it might be weird to have your dad’s new wife have the same name. Divorce does make things messy huh?

  • I did! I always wanted to have my hubby’s last name, just to show the world we were a family ; ) I did at one point consider dropping my middle name and making it my maiden name, but my hubby was against it – he said he didn’t want there to be any confusion that I was his ; )

    • Aww that’s pretty cute. I agree, it does show the world you are a family. And really, it makes you a family right when you do it, even as a family of two. Good point.

  • I can totally agree with that. I mean hyphenating can cause confusion for kids in school, etc. too. And if a wife has a different last name, it can be confusing legally too. I completely agree with you. UNLESS it sounded totally silly like Julia Gulia or something 🙂

    • Haha yes, there should be a note in there that if taking your husbands last name makes your name entirely ridiculous, don’t do it! Good point.

  • That’s a good reason to change your name; because you picked the guy! I have a great dad and love him to pieces but it didn’t feel united for me personally had I not taken my husband’s name. We are a family now, you know? To each their own, of course but that’s why I felt I needed to!

    • I completely agree. Plus I will probably live with my guy well before we get married. In that case, the name change is a big thing that will make it different after the wedding.

  • You know what? I never really thought about it – I was never attached to my maiden name and it was long and hard to spell. I always figured I’d just take my husband’s last name, and when we got married, that’s what I did. I really, really like your reasoning, though. It’s completely true and as much as I love my father, my closest family is now my husband. Thank you for the post!!

    The Blue Hour

    • Thank you! I’m surprised this topic garnered so many responses. It’s definitely a topic I’ve thought a lot about and obviously have already made my mind up about. I think it’s something that’s close to every woman’s heart. I like how you put that, that your husband is your closest family. So true!

  • I love your reasoning, and I guess I never really thought about it. I’d definitely take his name. I think it does show you’re a family and joining every part of your life together, not just some of it. I did want to get a tattoo of my current last name so if the day comes that I do get married, I have a bit of my history with me. I didn’t end up getting the tattoo. It was a weird night. Great post!

  • I always knew I would take my husbands name, no question. I’m not super traditional, but for some reason this was just a given for me. Then when the time came I almost had an identity crisis over it! Giving up a name I’d lived with for 26 years, that I loved, that was so much a part of me, was really tough. But now, months later, I’m adjusting and starting to love my new last name (and new identity as a wifey) just as much!

  • I hyphenated to honor my grandpa who passed away right before my Wedding

  • I took my husband’s last name – I don’t have a really great relationship with my dad so that was a big part of it. I also have brothers to carry on that last name since we’re the only kids in the family with our last name. Additionally, hyphenated names get messy – what if your kids meet someone with a hyphenated name and they want to hyphenate then you have four names? Just a thought that’s plagued me ever since a good friend brought it up. I took my husband’s last name for similar reasons as yours. I get wanting to keep your own at any point but I think that true feminism is about women making choices not about doing the opposite of a social norm so good for you on thinking it through!!!
    Love your blog!

  • I actually kept my last name! But I didn’t do it for like a “sticking it to the man” kind of reason, I just liked my last name and didn’t want to change it 😛 His last name is also Ross.. I guess I felt like my last name was more unique 😛 But I was also very up front with my husband about wanting to keep my name, so he knew what I was going to do! We’ve talked about hyphenating our future kids’ names though! I actually wrote a post about it :p http://www.raysofpurple.com/2012/07/my-last-name-decision.html

  • I hyphenated my last name. I was already a practicing attorney when I got married, so I wanted to practice under a hyphenated name. But, when referring to myself or when people (not my clients) ask my last name, I just say his. I feel I get to have the best of both worlds. Our children, will have his last name.

  • Jes

    I will take my husbands last name because It’s traditional. BUT I have every intention of naming my future son my maiden name as his first name. My parents are divorced, but I don’t have daddy issues, so I’m proud of my name and where I came from so I want it to still be a part of me.

  • I almost didn’t take my husband’s name. I come from a family of 4 girls and I was super bummed that my Dad’s name wouldn’t be carried on. I was going to hyphen it, but Hayley Lynn Williams-Navey just sounded stupid. So did Hayley Williams Navey. I love this take on the situation and it makes me feel even better about settling to use my dad’s middle name for one of our kids.

  • Yep! I’m getting married in 10 months. It will be from Massengill to Williams. I am LUCKY. I always wondered what my name would end up being when I got married. I always dreamed of it as a kid….would it be weird and awkward or would it be a normal name like Smith or Jones?

    Well, it’s going to be Williams. I couldn’t have picked a better one. I’m excited to go from a semi-hard to pronounce and very hard to spell last name to a common one, even a 3rd grader wont miss pronounce or miss spell:)


  • As I creep around your blog, I’m realizing that I’ve read a lot of your posts before and really liked them. I just never connected the dots that they were all on the same blog. I do a lot of blog reading on my iPhone at work during breaks, so I guess I’m not paying as much attention to the actual blogs as I should be. Fail.

    Anyways… Yes, I took my husband’s last name. I never seriously considered not taking it. I got married at 24, so I had not yet established myself in a career with a reputation to hang on to. We want kids and I want them to grow up in a family where everyone has the same last name. There was something about taking his name that made the marriage feel complete; we are now one unit with one name. Plus, his last name is much prettier than my maiden name! My maiden name was German and my married name sounds (but isn’t) French.

  • Thanks for tweeting this from your archives! Otherwise I might not have read it.

    That’s a really interesting perspective on names and choices! My decision to take my husband’s name didn’t really seem like anything that took much thought. Maybe because it was any easy jump from one complicated German name to another (with the exact same number of letters!) so I didn’t feel like I would lose any family identity.

  • Just ran across this post from your twitter feed, and was reading through the comments. I have to say, I take issue with the idea that taking your husband’s last name makes you a “family.”

    Spoiler alert, I did NOT take my husband’s last name when we got married. I posted all about it on the blog (http://www.theflorkens.com/2013/10/why-i-didnt-take-adams-last-name.html). I understand that this is a sensitive topic and there are many, many reasons for taking a name or not. However, Adam and I are just as much of a “family” as any other couple in the world. Family, in my own opinion, isn’t created by a joint name on a mailbox, but by the love, devotion, and united goals you share. For us, family is about sharing our hopes, our dreams, and our fears. It’s about lazy Saturdays watching movies and busy Sundays doing household chores. It’s about both of us, putting everything we’ve got into building a life together — a life that we long to bring children into soon.

    I love and support women who chose to take their husband’s name, however, as a woman who did not, I don’t always find that this support goes both ways. Women often assume I kept my name because of my career or because Adam is a pushover. In truth, just like women have a million reasons for taking a name, women have a million reasons for keeping theirs…

    You’re right, this is often a contentious topic, but I feel like everyone would be benefited if all women supported all other women’s decisions — either way — and didn’t try to shame others for their choices — regardless of what that choice may have been. Women who take names can still be feminists and women who don’t still have the same “legitimate” marriage that anyone else does…


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