Saturday, 18 August 2012

What's in a name - hers, his, yours, mine?

You're getting married. So, whose name will it be?

Once upon a time, this question didn't exist. Women automatically, with no thought or concern, adopted their husband's last name as their own. It was expected. It was the norm. Going against this norm would have had you labelled 'different', 'odd', 'feminist' and had the older generation worrying that you were going to be a handful for your new husband!

Today, though, it's a question that all committed couples - gay & straight - need to be upfront about and address. Not talking about this before fully committing to each other is confusion, hurt and disagreement just waiting to happen.

The husband can no longer just assume that the wife will take his name. The wife can't just assume that the husband will understand her desire to retain her own last name. And for same-sex couples the situation can be even more complex; retain individual names, form a double-barrel name (but whose goes first?) or create a totally new last name to support the new union.

Conversation needs to be entered in to; feelings and beliefs made known.

Why should I change? Why should I retain? What do I believe a name says about a person? How do I feel if you don't take my name?

Future children will be impacted by a couple's decision. Family and friends will all have opinions, but, in the end, it's up to the couple to decide ... and to ensure that each truly understands the thinking and feelings that inform their joint decision.

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