Taking your husband's surname...

South Africa
November 9, 2009 12:53pm CST
To me it kind of feels like a loss of the identity I have had for 35 years - but to him it's a big deal that I become Mrs so and so. I'm trying to figure out if its a pride thing or a chauvinist thing. What are your thoughts?
1 person likes this
3 responses
@owlwings (42941)
• Cambridge, England
9 Nov 09
It's probably neither pride nor chauvinism but 'culture'. Many cultures expect that a wife takes the surname of the husband on marriage. Some - especially Spanish - expect that the children will have different 'surnames', depending on their gender. In some cultures there is no real concept of a 'surname' or 'family name'. In the Western world (i.e. Europe) the concept of a 'surname' is only about 600 years old. Before that you were known by your given name and 'son of' your father and his father and so on. Occasionally (in just a few cultures) the mother's line was more important but in most it is the male precedence. It isn't really a 'loss of identity', it is much more of 'which family should the children belong to'. I agree that, originally, a wife was considered a 'chattel' and therefore named after her husband (i.e. 'owner') but that idea has (in the West, at least) been long understood to be false and the name thing has been accepted as a convention. Women have, conventionally, taken the surname of their husbands for hundreds of years and the children also take the husband's surname. In today's culture, it makes for less hassle when others need to know what family a child belongs to and it also means that 'Mrs' So-and-so is married and therefore not to be sought or courted by other males. (The reality has, of course, long given the lie to this!)
@owlwings (42941)
• Cambridge, England
9 Nov 09
Since (and if) you have been single for 35 years, I can understand that you have some pride in your surname (which is, presumably, your father's name, not your mothers!) Consider hyphenating your names (since you are marrying fairly late in life). Keeping your own name (and your husband his) may not be socially acceptable. It's beginning to be understood and accepted here in the West but is not completely so.
@owlwings (42941)
• Cambridge, England
9 Nov 09
I think that, to me, as an English person, it would be satisfying if, on agreeing to become my wife, that person also agreed (and was happy) to take my name. It's cultural (and European) to do so. I can't say that it's 'right': it's just one of those things that your husband's culture expects (and it's more likely than not to do with how his family will accapt you!)
@owlwings (42941)
• Cambridge, England
9 Nov 09
Even if you do agree to change your name, of course, it doesn't mean that you change your nature. You are still YOU, whether or not you have decided to spend the rest of your life with this person as 'Mrs' (or is it M'vrow'?) someone or other!
@SomeCowgirl (32254)
• United States
13 Nov 09
My husband and I got married not too long ago, and I chose to take his last name. Some people don't take their husband's last name for business reasons, heritage reasons, or reasons of having children from previous marriages ore relationships. I don't think that it is a pride or chauvinist thing in the least.
@cher913 (25859)
• Canada
9 Nov 09
i so dont have a problem with this. marriage is a team and all team members have the same name (whether it be a business team or a sports team) and i am so not identified by just a name.