the BLOG of stuart mcdonald

Change Your Last Name! Please…
July 22, 2009, 1:25 am
Filed under: Relationships, Think About It | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I believe when a man marries his wife, she should take his last name. Not retain hers. Not hyphen the 2 last names. Not combine the 2 last names and create a hybrid name. She should take his last name. If she so desires to hold onto hers she can use it as a middle name.

Taking a man’s name symbolizes the unity that you have created in a family. I says you are his wife. While the concept of women as property is outrageous and outdated, but the fact is this: The man is the leader and head of the household. The woman may (mistakenly) wear the pants, but God will ultimately hold the man accountable for what was done in his house. Even in choosing to let the woman run things, the man has the final say.

A wife who doesn’t have her husband’s name is not in full submission to him and to his authority. She also isn’t fully committed to the marriage. She is, in effect, saying to him, “I love you, but not enough to change my name. I’m excited about our future, but let me hold on to this piece of my past.”

Isn’t a name just a name? No, a name is so much more. Your family’s history, heritage, and reputation lie in their name. When I say Rockefeller, Kennedy, DeBeers, and Bush, you instantly have an idea of the family’s legacy; their beliefs, and their history. A name is all those who have never met you know you by. It’s how we are recognized. All of your integrity & character wrapped in the formation of 4 to 26 letters that comprise your name.

Can you have a family with 2 different last names? That idea seems to be opposed to the very foundation on which families are based. The idea that families are a group of somehow related individuals usually sharing blood and ancestry. They should, at the very least, be able to recognize each other because of a common factor: their last name.

When a woman leaves behind her name, she gives away part of her identity. Good news is, the piece she gives away is immediately replaced with a new one. A better one. A stronger one. One she has more say in the forming of, for future generations. I can imagine it’s not easy for a woman to give away that part of her identity, especially if that name has a particular cultural legacy behind it.

Marriage is about shifting from “you” and “me” to “us” and “we.” I don’t want my wife to take my name. I want to give it to her. It’s my gift to her that says, “We’re now one unit, one family. Let’s forget our separate pasts and focus on making one incredible future. Together. You and me.”


11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Yes, I feel that the women should take the man name, Also thought in divorce if that happens, most people want to change there name, Find the next guy yo want to marry and change it to his. It is this women thing, we can do as well as men, we need our own image. No, we don’t God made man first.

Comment by Debbie Hartwig

I gladly took the name of my husband when we married. We are one. I have one friend who, for whatever reason, did not take her husband’s last name. I found it odd at first, but that’s her personal choice. She didn’t opt to hyphen her name w/ his, she just chose not to change hers. Que sera, sera.


Comment by Tomi

I never thought about keeping my last name, but I could see why a women would. Nowadays, marriage is not taken as seriously as in the past so women might be hesitant with giving EVERYTHING to her spouse. With me, if I marry an American I will lose part of my Nigerian heritage, but other than that, I wouldn’t mind changing my last name.Thank goodness I have brothers.=)

Comment by Single In Atlanta

Great blog Stu! Although I will be changing my last name when I get married, I don’t think its a big deal if somebody else chose not to. If a Jane Williams marrys John Doe without changing her last name, others will still call them Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. The family structure will still be there and John can be the king of his castle.

Comment by thebirdcall

Hand clap to another well written blog. I always planned on changing my last name if I got married. My reasons are based on tradition and so that as a family we all had the same last name. Just the way it should be to me.

Comment by tiffany

I agree and disagree with you. I understand where you are coming from on the concept of unity. However, just as you point out that a name is your family’s history, heritage, and reputation, why would I eliminate the history, heritage, and reputation that I have built with my last name? My school and business colleagues know me, my work, and my reputation by my last name–not by another name. I do not agree with women who do not take their husband’s last name at all, but in some cultures both parties actually keep their last names. So, I would definitely hyphenate my name not just change it to my middle name. I consider that removing a part of myself that was actually given to me by my dad. I would have no problem being called Mrs. ????, but in print, my name would have to be hyphenated. Maybe if I was younger and had not built a reputation, I might think differently.

Comment by Monica Patterson

I didn’t change my last name and I don’t regret it. I hyphenated my last name instead. My husband’s last name does not mean anything to him as it is the name of a father who was never present in his life nor does he any connection to that side of the family; it is not my husband’s heritage. If in fact my husband had the last name of his mother–the only heritage that he knows–then there could be a stronger argument for taking his last name. I am an only child and have a strong connection to my last name, so hyphenating it was a compromise. My children have a hyphenated last name as well and I don’t like when people call them otherwise.

Comment by Funkidivagirl

I am planning on keeping my last name (hyphenating actually, even though it is filed as a completely different name). My father has no sons and I have no male cousins with the last name. I want to continue our legacy, with that name. Also, there’s some practical reasoning for it. Since my parents are from Haiti where official records are usually incomplete and your family name is the only reliable way to identify yourself, your property, and your history on the island.

If my husband-to-be is adamant that I take his name and only his, I don’t think I’d call the engagement off for it, but I don’t see the taking of the name as the symbolic gesture for unity. I see giving him all of me, raising children with him, and centering my life around our new unit as the ultimate gesture of unity.

Taking the last name is a cultural thing.

Comment by Tatiana

I’m on the fence about this one. I can understand what you are saying Stu, I’m a bit of a traditionalist myself, however, I’m not opposed to a woman not taking her husband’s last name. I sometimes wondered why men have such a hard time with the last name thing. It’s important to them, but sometimes it’s important for the woman as well to keep her name.
Will I change my last name if I marry, I really don’t know.

Comment by Saturn Space Woman


A name is not just a name. I have never had the privilage of being married, but if the case in taking “you” and “me” and turning it into “us” and “we” would make sense (to me) is by leaving both names behind and taking up new ones.

Not giving up my name wouldn’t mean I would not give myself whole-heartedly to my husband. I would just feel like “Hey, if I am giving up my last name… I only feel it would be fair for you to do the same. If I give up the history that it came with, how exactly are we starting a “new” history? We aren’t. We are continuing yours.”

A name is one thing we have that we can truly call our own. No one can take it away from us, and when it comes down to marriage I feel both parties should have to sacrifice the same thing so they fully understand the meaning of becoming “one.”

Comment by Ana

I personally would like to hyphen my name. I plan to be an established woman and for people to know me by my maiden name sooo if I delete it completely I feel as if I am deleting everything I worked hard for bc my name would actually have some meaning behind it.

Comment by Je'Tara

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: