After 10 months of marriage, I am considering changing my last name to Gray.
There are a few reasons I have not changed my name after re-marriage:
1. I never changed my name during my first marriage. Why? Honestly, after all of the green card and INS paper work I couldn’t bear the thought of more forms. And, as my long-time readers know, I realized only ten days in that my first marriage’s days were numbered. So why change my name?
2. As a feminist, the idea of changing my name to my husband’s surname has always rubbed me the wrong way. I am just as proud of my family name as Seth is of his. So, why shouldn’t he change his to mine? The entire practice seems archaic. It seems that as women, when we give up our name we are giving them ourselves and losing our autonomy.
3. I am extremely independent and self-sufficient by nature and, well, I’ve made it this far (to the ripe age of 33) without changing my name.
4. Above all, I am concerned that if I change my name to Gray, Benjamin will be the odd man out, the only one in the family with a different last name. Right now he finds comfort in the fact that we both have different last names. Benjamin wants to change his name to Gray, but his “real” dad won’t allow that.
Fortunately, Seth is giving me major breathing room on my decision. I can tell he would prefer it if I officially become a Gray. It’s a guy thing, I’m sure. Because I don’t want him to become a Shearer. I also don’t lie awake at night worried about our last names being different. I seldom think about my choice.
The reason I’m considering a name change now is simply because we will be married forever. This is totally morbid, but I keep picturing our tombstones with different names on it and that just seems wrong. Ha! I also have become a part of his family and my name should reflect that. And, I love his last name. Hard to resist a name like Gray.
Where do all of you stand?
Did you change your last name when you were first married?
I know I am in them minority and that for most women this is a no-brainer. Here’s some back up from Huffington Post.
In March, the wedding website TheKnot.com surveyed nearly 19,000 women who got married last year. Of those women, 86 percent took their husband’s name. The practice of women keeping their last names, first introduced in the U.S. by suffragette Lucy Stone in the 1850s, adopted by members of the Lucy Stone League in the 1920s and popularized during the Women’s Rights Movement of the early 1970s, peaked in the 1990s at 23 percent. By the 2000s, only 18 percent of women were keeping their names, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Social Behavior and Personality. Now, according to TheKnot, it’s at just 8 percent.
What about after your divorce? Did you change your name back to your maiden name?
Leave a comment and let’s start talking.