Thursday, October 9, 2008

What's in a name?

I decided to change my name.

I know, I'm a traitor to women's lib and the feminist movement. This was something I really struggled with. You see, I like my name. I like my first name, and my middle name, and my last name. I've had those names all my life and why should I change them just because I have a piece of paper that says I'm married? Why shouldn't Husband change his name?

On the other hand, I like the idea of me and Husband being one family unit. I like the idea of someone saying "We're going to have dinner with the S's tonight." I want my children to have a secure sense of identity (I grew up in a mixed family with at least four last names.)

Well my mother (who changed her name for both of her marriages) didn't want me to change my name. "You'll lose your identity," she said. She pointed out that one of her sisters got married and kept her maiden name legally, but used her husband's name in social situations. What a brilliant compromise, I thought.

I told Husband that this was what I had decided to do. I was astonished by his anger at my decision. He totally caught me off guard by insisting that if I wasn't going to take his name there was absolutely no point in getting married. He thought it would emasculate him and "going half way" as he called my decision was not good enough.

I was really conflicted now. I felt like he was trying to impose ownership over me and that he should respect my feelings about my name. After all, no one was asking him to change his name, how would he know what this felt like? At the same time, I loved him and wanted to be his wife.

I thought about it, and read opinions about it, and talked to my recently married best girlfriend.

I finally made the decision to change my name, but without losing any part of my current name. I will be Molly Middle-name Maiden-name S. Who says I can't have four names?

No comments: