“So, are you going to change your last name?” I was asked this question again and again in the days leading up to my wedding. It was right up there with, “Have you found your dress?” People would find out I was engaged and for some reason, they would be interested to know if I was going to adopt the surname of my future husband. My answer was always, “Yes.”
Call me old fashioned, but I really do believe in marriage “until death do us part.” Taking on my husband’s last name signified to me that this was a new chapter of my life and that I was joining his tribe for good. My family name identified to me (and the world as well) which family I was a part of. When I was unmarried, my primary family was my father’s family. As a married woman, the new family Tim and I were creating would become my priority.
Adopting Tim’s last name was my way of saying to him, “I’m sticking with you for the long haul.”
I’m not saying that people who don’t change their last names or hyphenate their names do not have the same intentions. Some people change their names and still see their marriage fall apart while others don’t change their names and stick together for life. In some places, changing your last name is illegal because the government doesn’t want to go through the hassle of changing your name back in the case of divorce. But for me, changing my last name was a way for me to remind myself of my commitment to Tim. I was now joined to him and I wanted my name to reflect that.
Some people might think I attach too much meaning and significance to such things. But I do think names matter. And hey, at the very least, changing my last name moved me up in the alphabetical list!
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