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Thread: Marriage and Last Names

  1. #1
    Member Works's Avatar
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    Marriage and Last Names

    I've been absent from the forum for a long time, but I decided to stop by tonight.

    As you may know, I recently got married. One of the decisions we had to make was about our last names. When we first started talking about it, I was happy to have my wife keep her name and I would keep mine. However, my wife wanted our kids to have the same last name as both of us. She didn't like hyphenating our names because she knows a few friends with two last names or two hyphenated names and it gets cumbersome. Lastly, she didn't really like the idea of taking my last name because the expectation of doing so felt sexist. And to be honest, I didn't want to just take her last name because it felt a bit emasculating. (It took me a while to admit that though.)

    In the end, we decided to combine our last names. We took the last three letters of both of our last names and combined them to form a new name. If you know me outside the forum, you know what it is. I'm going to decline sharing it here in this post here. For us, the name combining idea was a good solution.

    I'm pretty sure my wife and I discussed most of the possible solutions to the last name problem. Those of you who are married, did you have strong feelings about the issue one way or the other? If you're not married, but can see yourself getting married at some point, what would you ideally do?

  2. #2
    Member Penguinhunter's Avatar
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    We just kept our names without much discussion when we got married. The kids thing is a little more difficult. I liked the idea of girls taking mother's name and boys taking father's name (or vice versa). My wife wasn't completely sold on that idea at first but in the end a different issue became the main discussion point. My last name is super anonymous and her last name is quite rare, so a question was whether it was better to give our future child a distinguishing name or an anonymous name. My wife decided that the gift of anonymity would be better for their future, given that they can change their name (or get a stage name) when they are older if they want to but can't easily become anonymous after being "out there".

  3. #3
    Senior Member jyng1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Works View Post
    Those of you who are married, did you have strong feelings about the issue one way or the other? If you're not married, but can see yourself getting married at some point, what would you ideally do?
    Not currently married but done it a few times in the past...

    Nope; have absolutely no feelings about it at all. The purpose of marriage used to be to pass ownership of the wife from the father to the husband. That's kind of gone the way of the Dodo except in about 40% of religious ceremonies; so for most of us there's no cultural purpose for taking either partner's name (unless you've got a crap one yourself).

    My first wife took mine and kept it long after we were divorced. Have no clue why.

    My second wife didn't want to take mine because she had published papers under her name and wanted to continue. Then she contacted me on Facebook out of the blue one day and I thought I was being spammed as she had taken her new husband's name and, to be polite, it wasn't one I would have taken by choice...

    Whatever feels right I guess.

  4. #4
    Member Works's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penguinhunter View Post
    We just kept our names without much discussion when we got married. The kids thing is a little more difficult. I liked the idea of girls taking mother's name and boys taking father's name (or vice versa). My wife wasn't completely sold on that idea at first but in the end a different issue became the main discussion point. My last name is super anonymous and her last name is quite rare, so a question was whether it was better to give our future child a distinguishing name or an anonymous name. My wife decided that the gift of anonymity would be better for their future, given that they can change their name (or get a stage name) when they are older if they want to but can't easily become anonymous after being "out there".
    I also proposed the girls taking her name and boys taking mine. I also said that all the kids could have her name if she really wanted it. She was just pretty insistent on having the entire family unit under one name, which I can understand.

  5. #5
    singularity precursor Limey's Avatar
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    I'm atheist and not particularly interested in tradition for the sake of tradition.
    Despite this, my take is that it's fine if the wife doesn't want to take the name, by using a hyphen, or even keeping hers, but any future kids should have your name, no hyphen. It's like if you're eating and she says she doesn't want anything but then proceeds to eat half of your stuff, NO SHARING! growl at her like an animal if you have to.

  6. #6
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    Wife has her own name, I have mine.

    If we had children, you could always use one surname for the middle name...

    Places still seem very very confused when we travel together...

  7. #7
    I can intellectually understand and even agree with your wife's position on last names. A name combining tradition would be a better tradition than what we have, IMO. However, it's not what we have and therefore comes with a bunch of baggage that I'm not sure I'd want to deal with. So, as I haven't had to deal with such wishes, I can't answer for sure what I'd do in the situation. Depends on the girl and if she's worth all that baggage, I suppose. I'm too introverted for it, I think. I don't need the extra noise such a decision would make.

    That being said, if I moved to some place where it was tradition to take on the last name "Whoberry" whenever you got married, I'd prefer to do that.. just to blend in. Cuz really, I'm not sure at the base of it all I give a crap about the name itself anymore. I suppose genealogists would be pissed as hell though.
    Quote Originally Posted by whatloveihave View Post
    I don't find you a potential threat to human society, you're not crazy. Feces.

  8. #8
    non-canonical Light Leak's Avatar
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    I changed my last name to his. I did have reservations about it at first, but that was mostly that I thought the new name sounded weird and I wasn't sure I liked it. I don't think it sounds weird anymore. I guess I just needed to get used to it.

    I did also consider hyphenating, but I really did not like how the two last names flowed together so that was out. My husband and I actually did discuss combined names, but the ones we came up with all sounded dumb - nothing either of us actually wanted to change our names to.

  9. #9
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    I'm genuinely surprised that combining names is a legal option in some countries.

  10. #10
    Member Works's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    I'm genuinely surprised that combining names is a legal option in some countries.
    It also varies state to state in the US.

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