Marriage: Taking the Name

Traditionally when a woman gets married she take her husband’s last name, right? I mean growing up that’s what I thought. Recently, I have come to find the tradition of taking on your husband’s last name is a thing of the past. Many of the marriages I have witness or have known the woman either hyphenate her last name or simply keep her last name. Now is it me or is something wrong with that?

I asked a friend of mines, would you want your wife to take your last name? He said yes, and I then asked what if she wanted to hyphenated it? He didn’t like that. He agreed with me, it didn’t make sense.

I don’t understand, women stress about getting a title and when the man proposes marriage, the woman doesn’t want to take on his last name. Seems stupid to me, but maybe I’m just a traditional kind of girl.

I’ve heard many excuses as to why and some of them legit. Like when a woman has a child(ren) pervious to the union and their kids share their last name. I can understand the thought of hyphenating the last name, but can’t you hyphenate your child’s name? Or talk this over with your potential husband and the child’s father (if they are around).

Fellaz, how would you feel if you soon-to-be wife didn’t want to take your name or hyphenate her name?

Ladies, would you take your soon-to-be husband’s last name? If not, why? If you agree with me share your two cents.

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38 thoughts on “Marriage: Taking the Name

  1. I’ve always known that I wanted to hyphenate my last name when I get married. I had a strong relationship with my grandfather, where my last name comes from, and now there are only two women in my family with that last name. I want to keep that last name going in honor of my grandfather. It might seem silly, but I’ve always known that I wanted to do that. Good question to post. I’m interested in what other folks have to say about it.


  2. Before I was married I felt that I wanted my wife to take my last name. Like you, I was thinking of tradition. I think also that because of religious teachings, the woman and man become one, and essentially the man is the head of the household, so the household get’s his name. But now that I’m in the “real world” (LOL!), I realize there’s other ways to do it. What is really in a name? And that is the question that goes to how the decision should be made. In some cases, a woman may have a career or reputation built around her name. Should she have to sacrifice that because of marriage. True, she could change the name legally, but maintain the former name in common usage. But how do you draw that line. Or as the previous commentor mentioned, what if the name is sentimental. Or worse yet, what if the husband’s name is god-awful! LOL! I had a classmate that got married and she was undecided because her husband had a very long polish name that started with Z! So can you really blame her!? In my marriage, my wife uses my name in common usage, however, her legal name is still her maiden name. It’s satisfactory to me (although, I do tease her sometimes that she’s using a fake name, but believe me, its all in fun), and it allows her to continue to honor her own father. I think, in the “real world”, you have to be sensitive to the wants and needs of your partner. If you, as a woman, are adamant about keeping your last name, I say keep it. Because, when it all comes down to it, your legal name should not affect your love for each other.


    • Different strokes for different folks. I guess it depends on the situation…thanks for drop those lines to open up my eyes and the dicussion. But I woild change my last name, no if ands or buts about it!

      thanks again!


  3. MistressKidd says:

    In my opinion there’s no wrong or right way to do it. It’s a conversation the 2 involved should have and decide on. Every situation is different. As for myself, I would probably take on my husbands last name. Only because should we/when we have children I want us all to have the same last name to represent unity in our household. In the end I don’t think it should really matter, me having his last name or not doesn’t change how we feel for each other and our vow to God and each other to love and cherish one another…forever!


  4. Mr.TramueL says:

    My sons & I are the last to carry the Tramuel name. I have an older cousin (who is done with kids) & a cousin who has passed but recently discovered he fathered two children whom he gave his last name, one is male. With respect to only four male Tramuel’s left to populate the Earth, I would encourage / expect my future wife to carry my last name.


  5. The tradition comes from a time when women, once married, became a man’s possession – hence Mister and Mister’s or, Mrs. I never gave a lot of thought to it; when I married, my wife took my name proudly – no biggie. A friend of ours got married and hyphenated her name and when asked, she replied, “Well, when I divorce this fool, I want to make it easier to get my old name back.”

    Some women do it so they don’t “lose” their family name – my daughter told me this one when I saw she’d legally had her name hyphenated. Kinda makes sense ’cause it shows lineage… but if you have kids and don’t hyphenate their names, well, it loses something. Some men don’t mind if his wife does this or even keeps her maiden name… but a lot of men get pretty bent over this because it spits in the face of tradition.


  6. don says:

    I prefer that my wife carries my last name, as well as any children born from our union. Marriage principles in this country are being compromised on the daily. It’s kinda sad and very unfortunate.


  7. I’ve always considered hyphenating… I’ve spent my entire life attaching my accomplishments to my name. But at the same time, I have a very traditional soul and if it was important to my partner that I take their name, I would… but if it makes no difference to them, I will stick with my own!


  8. JSin says:

    I agree with you completely. I would definitely want my soon to be wife to take my last name…no hyphen either. It just doesn’t seem right for the woman who wants to spend the rest of her life with me not to take my last name. How can she be willing and ready to give me her love, heart and all…except she don’t wanna take my name? Seriously?! She better have a REALLY GOOD reason why she doesn’t wanna take it. Regardless, it would be a red flag if she said she didn’t want to. That’s a great question to ask BEFORE proposing to someone…or at least I think it is.

    Great post Sunny!


  9. I recently (about 5 years ago) took on my father’s last name in addition to my mother’s maiden name. I don’t hyphenate my 2 last names unless I’m forced to but I do use both last names proudly to represent my Latin culture. Although it was hard to get used to explaining to people a practice that is so common Latin America, I carry both my grandfather’s name with pride and will probably continue to hyphenate in marriage. Not only do my 2 totally different last names spark curiosity and conversation, it makes me unique.
    Also as a writer and aspiring author, I think it’s good to keep my family’s name for consistency.


  10. Ms. Nikks says:

    I did a post on this last year and people are always loving this topic. Lol. Such a touchy subject to men and women.

    My mother had an incredible bond with her father, my grandfather and so she chose to hyphenate her name when she married my dad. My dad didn’t have a problem with it. I think you have to know and feel the kind of love a lot of women have for their fathers and grandfathers to understand why it’s hard to let go their names. I don’t think they intend to disrespect of hurt their husbands, but they want to keep paying homage to the original men in their lives.


    • That is definitely why I understand my wife’s need to pay homage to her dad. It’s not only her want to continue his name, but, like you said the fact that she is passionate about it. It was that “twinkle” in her eye that I knew it was right, and it was the right thing for her to do. Like you said, it’s a touchy subject, but I think that if people discuss it early on, it can be made into a non-issue in the marriage later!


  11. thedlife says:

    I’ll be hyphenating my last name and that’s that. I’m my father’s ONLY child and as hard as that man worked for me I’m carrying his name from cradle to grave and beyond. If my future potential husband can’t respect that then he clearly isn’t the man for me. There will be no compromise and no exceptions.


  12. Honestly I’m not feeling this, in a way its almost like marrying another alpha male. I know both the man and woman are supposed to be equal, but at what point does the woman allow the man to be the leader of the household??


  13. This is a great post and you asked an interesting question. I want to first share what I’ve seen in regards to this subject and then share what I would do. I’ve seen some women hyphenate their last names, like my old science teacher. She’s well-known in her profession and has written some books and received some awards before she got married. Once she married her husband she hyphenated her name so that she can still be connected to the work she has done.

    I also know some women who have kept their last names instead of taking their husbands. The reason that they did that was for professional reasons too. One of my friends took her husbands name but will refer to herself by her maiden name so that people will know it’s her.

    In a way it all depends on the person and their reasoning. I understand the reason you mentioned about child, but for me that would be weird to have my ex’s last name and be married to someone else. I would most likely take my husband’s last name and make my maiden name my middle name if I need to keep it. Otherwise I would just drop it all together.

    One thing that I saw on tv, and the guys probably wouldn’t like this, is that there was a guy who took his wife’s last name. He did it because he didn’t like his last name and she was an only child so it would help preserve the family name. It was weird but I guess some men are doing that too.


  14. I think it depends on the union. If I get married, I would hyphenate my name. I have no desire to lose my name. My children carry 2 last names and I will carry mine and the name of my wife.

    I don’t think all traditions must be set in stone. It is fun to change things up a bit. If, I didn’t have kids, then maybe I would just ditch my name. Nah, who am I kidding? I will never ditch my name lol.


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