A Last Name Is One Thing, But When Did People Start Taking Husband's FIRST Name?

Canada
May 31, 2008 7:14pm CST
When my husband and I got married I kept my names... ALL OF THEM!!!!! I reused to go by Mrs. I prefer Ms. Lots of people change their names. It's not a tradition hat my husband and I agree with, but it's what people do. Somehing that bothers us, regardless, is this. If Betty White, for example, marries Jason Smith she may choose to be Betty Smith, or Mrs. Betty Smith. They will become Mr. and Mrs. Jason and Betty Smith (or why not Mrs. and Mr. Betty and Jason Smith?) Now here is the issue. Why in this day and age, are so many women called Mrs. Jason Smith, with couples being addressed as Mr. and Mrs. Jason Smith? Where did her first name go? Is it so hard to take the time to awknowledge even a shred of the woman's identity? Mr. and Mrs. Jason & Betty Smith, or Mr. and Mrs. J&B Smith. I think naming traditions are archaic rituals in which fathers hand their daughters over to their future husbands, thus the daughters go from haing Dad's name to Husband's name. I don't have my father's name, nor do I have my husband's name. I chose to forgot that all together, and I took a name as a surname that was more meaningful to me, a name from my mother's Danish family. Why, in this day and age, are women still and couples still addressed by the man's name only, and how do you feel abou this particular tradition?
13 people like this
22 responses
@SomeCowgirl (32270)
• United States
1 Jun 08
I really don't have a problem with it. I understand that some women feel that it is demeaning, but if I was referenced as my fiance's Name Mr J.H. I wouldn't really care. I know that I am acknowledged in other ways, and that the role of women have changed. Not everything will change, women still use the traditional sense.. I understand where you are coming from though as you didn't change your name because you were honoring your heritage in a way. I agree with you, it's very respectful to do so. I am also glad that your husband had no problem with allowing you to keep a name from your heritage.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jun 08
Tank you. "I am also glad that your husband had no problem with allowing you to keep a name from your heritage." Actually he didn't ALLOW me to do anything, because he has no authority over me. I feel that one must have authority over someone to allow them to do something. I do know what you are saying though (I think) that it's nice that he had no problem with this, and that we were in agreement. That is a very good thing in deed. What would happen if someone called your fiance Mr. Your first, your last, and why woudln't THAT ever happen? Just a thought. I know things don't change overnight, but when looked at closely, there is a major imbalance. Thank you for understanding, and responding.
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32270)
• United States
1 Jun 08
Yes that is actually what I meant. Well, and to your question of my first my last to my husband.. That's really not uncommon, I believe I've heard of that before. I cant' be certain, but your right it isn't impossible.. I don't know how he'd react, but i'm sure he'd clarify.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jun 08
My husband and I are thinking very seriously of having return addresses printed with the following on them Ms. and Mr. MyFirst MyLast Our address Just to stick on correspondence between us and those people who insist that the guy has some sort of authority he doesn't have, just to prove a point about imbalance, and make them look and think. LOL
1 person likes this
@Vladilyich1 (1453)
• Canada
14 Jul 08
At least my last name isn't Brzezinski.
1 person likes this
• Canada
15 Jul 08
Haha I'd still keep my name, but the rest of my crazy family would have a h3ll of a good time attempting o pronounce yours.
• Canada
15 Jul 08
That's the last name of the morning anchor on MSNBC.
@Ohara_1983 (4120)
• Kuwait
1 Jun 08
for me im still the same never use my husband first name, us tradition also of arab, but i think it will be ok, even you will use your hubby family name or yours, also it will respect to all woman if they want too, it depend both side if they want to change or not. as long both are happy & living us a one couple share & have a healthy life.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jun 08
Very well said.
@1grnthmb (2063)
• United States
1 Jun 08
I think that this is an old tradition that most people still follow. Why, Because it is a tradition and just that! I have many friends that when they got married they did not change there names. Also in some cultures such as the Hispanics the wifes last name is the final name.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jun 08
Very well put!!! I think people should have as much right to keep with tradition as they do to break with tradition.
@ambkeb (782)
• United States
1 Jun 08
I never had my fathers last name either. My mom gave me her last name when I was born. I DID take my husbands last name when we married though. I dont mind using the last name. But I will not take his first name. I am not my husband. I dont like to be called Mrs. either. It makes me feel old HAHAHA (ma'am is another one that gets me...but that is awhole nother topic)On all our bills and other mail that we get they all say his name and my name. That works just fine for me. lol
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jun 08
Good for you!!!! I never worried about feeling old. LOL I figure that experience comes with age, and age goes hand in hand with knowledge gained from that experience. Therefore, I don't mind being "old." Cool that you have BOTH NAMES on your bills. We do too.
@Grandmaof2 (7603)
• Canada
1 Jun 08
When I got married I choose to take my husbands last name as my last name, but I have always been my own person and I always will. I still expect to be known as my first name and that will never change. Thank You my friend.
• Canada
1 Jun 08
AMEN, Sister!!!!
@polachicago (19075)
• United States
1 Jun 08
In some countries womans name is always first. Even if she change her last name, she keeps her identity. It would be addressed as Ms& Mr Betty and Jason Smith. I am with you. I would ignore people addressing such way. Worst is when Dr married DR and addressed envelope was DR Smith and Mrs Smith, when in fact she is Dr on her own... One of my friends would say..."how about Jason's?" referring to Mr and Mrs Smith....
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jun 08
The Dr. thing reminds me of how many times I've heard Hillary refered to as Mrs. Clinton on the BBC. WHAT? How about Senator Clinton? I've never heard Mr. Obama, always Sen Obama. The Jason's? The David's? The Walker's? (my husband's first name) That's almost even worse than Mr. and Mrs. Jason Smith, because The Jasons? Not even awknowledging her!! I know people who have done that and it drives me nuts.
1 person likes this
@Mirita (2668)
• United States
2 Jun 08
I think that in the U.S. you take your husband's name in order to make it easy for your kids and since we have so much paperwork is easier to deal with legal documents.
1 person likes this
@ladyljs (1303)
• United States
2 Jun 08
Since I didn't get married until 35, and had already made a name for myself professionally, I didn't want to confuse people with a new hame. I choose to keep my first name, maiden name and then new married name. I signed all of my documents, checks, etc. with this new signature until everyone was familiar with my new last name. Now I am just First Name, New Married Name. Since I am recently widowed, I choose to use Ms. First Name, Married name. No plans to remarry...ever...so that is how it will stay! GOod discussion...here's a star for you!
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Jun 08
that's just too much,i never personally would agree to it.that's a total annihilation of the woman as an individual.
• United States
1 Jun 08
Really I think it's a matter of convenience. In "proper etiquette" and formal situations how ridiculous would it be to address an invitation to Mr. Robert Smith and Mrs. Jane French-Smith? Not only time consuming but rather wasteful if you ask me. As a Mr. & Mrs. it's just less complex! If taking a man's last name is an issue, it's quite easy to utilize your own last name and in formal situations it will probably be honored as you've registered and signed up for the event. Since a marriage is both religious and legal the namesake issue can be addressed via both avenues. Religiously it is expected that a woman take a man's name as she is "subservient" of him. That by no means says he treats her like a slave or that she is not her own person. Taking or not taking a man's name makes you no more or less of an individual. It's your actions that say whether or not you're independent and self sufficient. Both are attributes that would only benefit a marriage of two independent and self sufficient people who join together to share their life. I simply think the name says nothing about the person and getting rowled up about what others choose to do is just worthless. To each their own. Keep your name if it makes you feel best. Take his name if it makes you happiest. Either way, be YOU.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jun 08
My mother used my fathers first name as you described it. It was the norm back then. I haven't seen woman addressed like that in years though. I guess Its a personal preference. The only reason i see for even taking the husbands last name is so that-if children are a factor- the whole family has the same last name. Some people might not even think thats neccessary, and in this day in age many times children in the same family have different last names anyway, since they have different dads. I don't mind having my husbands last name, in fact i've had it longer than my maiden name at this point.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jun 08
I did change my last name when I got married, but I took my maiden name back when my daughter turned 18. If I ever get married again, my name will definitely remain the same! To be honest, I wasn't aware that I could have kept my maiden name when I got married. If I had been, I am sure I would have kept my own name. I worked at Social Services for 23 years. I had an application one day from this lady in her 50's. She told me her name was Mrs. John Smith (not really, but I can't remember the name). I said I need YOUR name. She gave me, again, Mrs. John Smith. I said, I need your first name, middle initial and last name. She said, Mrs. John D. Smith! I wanted to scream. I asked her was she not given a name when she was born? After about 15 minutes, I finally got her name. I just thought this was absolutely ridiculous! It's like some people just lose their whole identity when they marry - well, some women, anyway. I find that tradition sad and disgusting at the same time.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164654)
• Garden Grove, California
25 Aug 09
I guess I raised a lot of eyebrows when I refused to be'Mrs' Garland Hatley but went by Mrs.Patsie Hatleybecause that is'my first name and that is part of who I am. if others dislike it thats'their' tough luck. not mine. My husband went a long with it so if we were both happy then others should just accept it. so they had to address things as Mr.Garland Hatley and Mrs.Patsie Hatley a nd I was told thats improper etiquette but I said by whose standards? \
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
16 Jul 08
Quite frankly, since it is just a tradition and traditions are constantly being broke and trashed these days... why worry about it. It was a saluation started way back when and just ran through the years - ergo tradition. If you want to stay traditional, you do it. If not, you do something else. I don't put to much "effort" or thought into things like this as there are so many other things that demand and merit my attention. But you ask this oddly, the other day I saw on the Yahoo news (like the country has nothing better to report on) that Nicole Kidman and Keith URban had their baby and named it Sunday Rose Kidman Urban. Good greif the kid will be in 2nd grade before it could prounounce its name and 4rd before it can write it all!! ANd what is its last name - Kidman Urban? or is Kidman a "middle" name and URban the last? And throw in the fact that what difference does it make - most celebrities will divorce after a few years so then what will the kids name be? Does she get to delete one of them since the mother isn't an Urban? But then again....who cares? I sure don't!
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
15 Jul 08
It is easier and safer to go from Miss Angela Carter to Mrs. Benjamin Hogarth especially when there are children around. I guess you did not intend to have children. It also makes it easier to not suspect that you are just playing house, living in sin, or living together. If you are Miss Angela Carter and you keep the name Mrs. Angela Carter, people think you are divorced. Now you can keep your first name and your husband's name, and no one minds because if you married late in life, like after 25, it is easier because it is your money you made before marriage. But some do this way, they combine the last names, like the woman's last name and the man's last name, and put a hyphen in between. But really you should take your husband's last name or else people will think you and he are just playing house. My husband's niece kept her last name when she supposedly married, and even though my husband says they are, I shake my head and say, "no, they are not." The man is the head of the household. Do you make more money then your husband? Do you make the major decisions? Does he stay home (unless he is an invalid) while you go to work?
@Shaun72 (15968)
• Palatka, Florida
15 Jul 08
I know after my divorce. I swear if I ever happen to marry again I will keep my birth name. I have had one heck of a time getting rid of my married name. I have let my doctor secetaries now. The thing is when I went to my doctor last month he wrote my prescrptions with my married name. it is like I am stuck with it. I want so bad to be known as Shaunee Carter not Shaunee Novak anymore. he is gone we have been divorced for over 2 years now. So i don't blame you one bit.
@Muelitz (1592)
• Canada
15 Jul 08
There are countries that by tradition expects a woman to change her maiden name with her husbands surname when she gets married. But it is really the womans own personal choice.If she decide to continue using her maiden name after marriage, the established convention is to replace the title Miss by Ms. If you were to ask me, it really does not matter if a woman changes her maiden name or not. If you get married, you will have the marriage certificate to prove that you are indeed married without having to change your name. It would also free you from the tedious process of changing most of the documents and identification cards that you already have to reflect your new name.
• United States
10 Jul 08
What a creepy thing to do? Who would do that kind of thing. Old fashioned is one thing, but since when did marriage delete a woman's identity. No wait. I'm backing up here. Marriage does often delete a woman's identity and personal goals. But taking a guy's first name is uber-creepy! So, would my kid call me by his name or would I become Daddy? I'm assuming that I would turn into a guy, after taking his first name, so I'd be making way more money in the American job market and get more respect at the car dealership. Well, certainly, I couldn't argue with any of those benefits. But what about the personal hygiene issue? Guys are notorious slobs!
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
7 Jun 08
it is an old tradition and your right that is how it started, women and children were just property of the menfolk, it was still very popular in the 50's to be mrs. jason smith, I think people should take what ever name they want, such is not the case in quebec, we now have to keep our own names, I was Carol Buckingham, got married before the law came out, I became Carol Roach, got divorced, stayed Carol Roach if I marry again I will have to be Carol Buckingham again it is the law.