Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Debate of the Week: Taking Your Spouse's Last Name

Please comment below. Remember to keep it civil. Don't assume anything about the people you disagree with. I will delete any comments that are offensive or veer too far off topic. Thank you in advance.

Let's lighten things up around here, shall we? Lots of my friends have gotten married recently or plan to, and, as some of you may know, I'm getting married next year. So, since nuptials are on the brain around here, let's talk about married last names. 

Do you think a husband and wife should share a last name?

Ladies: Should a woman take her husband's last name, or should she keep hers? A Dutch study suggests that women who take their spouses' last name end up earning less money in their career. Should that even matter? What about hyphenation? Would you want your husband to take your last name?  Likewise gentlemen, do you think your bride should take your last name? Are you cool with her keeping her last name? Would you take your wife's last name? Would you hyphenate?

Let the debate begin!


  1. I have been married for 6 years. I only changed my last name about 18 months ago. Why did I change it? Why did I take so long to do it?
    I have been "established" in my career for almost 13 years, and am actually known in my telecom circles (there aren't a lot of women in the biz), so I wanted to keep the name I started with. In an old fashionedy kinda way, I wanted to keep my last name because there are no boys in the family to pass it on. And lastly, I didn't feel like waiting in line at the SS office or DMV.

    When I gave birth to my son (5 years ago), hospital admin put my (maiden) last name on his bassinet. That was when my husband figured out that I didn't change my name. He was pissed, more for the fact that the tiny Dude didn't automatically have his last name, but mine.

    I dragged my feet on it for years. Finally, when I had to renew my driver's license again, I gave up. My husband really didn't care, honestly. But when I was registering my son for school, I realized that it was so much easier if we all had the same last name. So I did it.

    I did the hyphen thing for a little while, unofficially, and didn't like it. Why have 2 last names that people can't pronounce? So I just went down to one which people still can't pronounce.

    I know of two gentlemen who took his wife's last name, and well, I don't know about that. Unless she has a really cool sounding last name...

  2. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to these sort of things. I believe that the wife should take on the husband's last name, full-pledged. No hyphenating or anything. Of course, I think there might be legitimate reasons for the wife not to or to delay it, but generally speaking I believe that marriage is a sacred union between husband and wife in which they become one and is further manifested by the changing of the wife's last name.

    Since marriage is in the near future for the Colonel, I'm quite interested to see/hear what The Colonel thinks about this topic!

  3. When I got married, I kept my maiden name professionally. I'm a writer, and have been writing under my maiden name for 10 years. I was worried that I'd lose the small degree of name recognition I had if I changed my byline. But I do use my married name in my personal life. I know it's old fashioned, but it makes me feel more "married."
    However, I was reluctant to part with my maiden name (because it's awesome!), so I kept it as a middle name.

  4. K and I talked about it some, and so far we're just planning to keep our own names, with the kids getting Dad's name. I think.
    I thought about hyphenating, but neither combo is mellifluous *at all*.
    I wonder what'll happen when he reads this LOL

  5. I'm getting married in November and I am taking his last name...I'm pretty much old fashioned and follow the tradition on this one. I also think its the right thing to do and i'm excited about being the newest Mrs... To me it's an honor to take his name, then again it won't hurt or help me in my career to take his name either. The hyphenating isn't for me, i think its all or nothing :-)

  6. personally i think it up to the individual. neither choice is right or wrong. though i am someone who can not even find a valid reason for marriage in the first place. as for hyphenation, only bitches who are full of themselves put hyphens in their names. well at least from my experience.

  7. I took my first husband's name and then couldn't wait to get rid of it when we divorced. I like my last name and I definitely feel my identity is tied to it. After all, I look more like a Cavalcante than I do a Tompkins. But my second husband would like me to take his name and I think that, after I retire I will. He never insisted, and I think that's what makes me want to do it for him. Plus, he's moving me to Indiana after I retire, and they don't seem to have Italians there. At least I couldn't see any...

  8. I'm going to take my husband's last name when we get married. I read an article that asked whether women who take their husband's last name change their identity. I like the idea of taking my husband's last name, and I can still keep my own identity. Plus, after 27 years of hearing the same joke about my name, it might be a refreshing change.

    Here is the link to the article:

  9. I told Anh she can keep her last name, but only if the kids get my name... Edward Dwight Hollowell III (or E3 as he will be known)

  10. It is up to the individual. I took both my husbands last names. But back then that's what you did.

  11. Sure the wife should have to, be forced to change her name if you are in to the whole proper religious church definition of marriage. But of course, if you're like me, who kept any form of god out of my wedding, who actually had The Colonel perform the ceremony, who was just so enamored with the thought of just being with my wife forever, then well I'm sure you're opinion is the same as mine: eh, whatever.

  12. Originally, we were both going to hyphenate. However, we are both lazy. Needless to say, both of our names have stayed the same and we're both cool with it. I like my last name and have no desire to change it.

  13. Andrew asked me to weigh in, so here goes:

    I wouldn't hyphenate or change my last name to my wife's, unless it was a really badass last name like Ockenballz or Hunt or Rotch. If her last name were Killyieu, I'd definitely take it as long as I can change my first name to Al.

    I'm certainly not going to do it when I get married next year because that would make my first and last names the same as her father's. Creepy!

    My darling fiancee can do what she likes. She can keep her name, take mine or hyphenate. It wouldn't bother me. She's choosing to take my name, though, which will make for some pretty funny alliteration.


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