Let’s talk: should men take on their wives’ last names? 212



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The long tradition of women taking on their husbands’ names is rapidly going out of fashion, with more and more brides today choosing to keep their maiden names.

But should it go even further? Should the roles be switched outright? Should the husband and wife meet half way?

For some of us, the change of name on the wedding day was a powerful gesture that helped signify the start of a new life and family; of giving yourself wholly to another.

But over time, the concept of a wife “belonging” to a husband can cause a strain on – or even a painful end to – many marriages. In which case, changing the naming tradition could be a small but important way to combat this attitude.

Women are no longer expected to stay in the kitchen or raise children at home. Should naming conventions reflect this outlook? And how far should this change of tradition go?

According to The Times, the agencies that process name changes are getting an increasing number of requests for men to take on their wives’ last names, or for both parties to accept a hyphenated combination of the two.

Hyphenated surnames raise a quirky dilemma for the next generation: when the children of these unions reach marriage age themselves, which of their four surnames will they settle on?

One fascinating new trend – which avoids this problem – is for couples to agree on a new surname that combines both. Claudia Duncan of the UK Deed Poll service told the Daily Mail that this option “allows couples the freedom of reinvention”.

“Meshing their names (is) a symbolic reflection of their union… a completely new start without any history being tied to their surname”.

“Many couples feel meshing is more romantic than double-barreling their surname, while we did have one very honest client who said they could not decide whose name should come first, so blending their names was the obvious solution”.


Did you change your name upon marriage? Should it be expected? And how do you feel about the “family name” tradition changing?




Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. As was the custom i changed my name on marriage, which was a very unhappy marriage. My name on my death is to be my maiden name.

    5 REPLY
    • It’s quite easy to change back to your maiden name. You just need your birth certificate and divorce certificate. You can use them to change your name for your licence and bank details and utilities.

    • I had thought of doing that, but after 38 years, it wasn’t just legal it was people and remembering (age does that).

    • So what will it be next if we keep our birth name will we share the surnames of the children first one yours next one is mine, how will it all end. I am proud to have my husbands name and have been for the last 39 years.

    • Me too. I’m proud to have my husbands name.
      Younger members of our family though have kept their own name when they married. Their choice.

    • I happily took my husbands name when we were married but when he walked out after 28yrs together I couldn’t change my name back to my maiden name quick enough. And……. when our girls told their father that I’d changed my name back, he said that he didn’t think I’d do that. What a nerve! He has another wife using his surname now so I’m happy not to be using it.

  2. Women should never change their name and should always keep the name they were born with. Why should women have to change their signature just because they are married?

    5 REPLY
    • Agree, I use my own name, it is my legal given name, either that or we would have to hyphenate our names, Smith-Murphy….Smurphy? nah…! In Scotland a man often took the womans surname, especially if they were wealthy.

    • Women don’t have to change their name. To say women shouldn’t change their name is just as dogmatic as saying that they should. Why can’t each person please themselves?

    • Unfortunately if you have children then their surname could be very confusing …..who wants a surname that has two surnames , much easier and less confusing to have one.

    • there is an old Irish tradition from way way back many centurarys, the girls took the mothers family name and the boys the fathers name….also another part of Ireland the spelling of the surname for girls and boys was different, Kelley & Kelly for example….then things changed when the English wanted everyone registered.

  3. It’s going to be tricky doing ancestry searching in years to come. But I do like the idea of the woman keeping her name.

  4. You can do what you like, I am proud to wear my husbands name.

    4 REPLY
    • Oh Dianne, I have been out for an hour, am now reading some of the comments. Swearing at some of these women, lose your identity by taking hubbies name, what rubbish they are talking. Dianne Perry.

    • I use connolly Finnegan for Facebook as a lot of my old school friends only found me by my maiden name but I’ve been mrs Finnegan from I was 18 and proud of my husbands name.

  5. Proud to take my husbands name. Marriage is about sharing and compromise, shouldn’t be about me, me, me. And yes, I am a person in my own right, and was encouraged to be by my late husband

    3 REPLY
  6. On my wedding ring I have the Chinese character of my wife’s family on one shoulder and my family on the other. I should take pics eh?

    1 REPLY
    • And I don’t mind if I came from Eve’s rib – or my wife’s from Adam’s. We’re very different – but equal.

  7. I did, but one of my sister’s husband took her surname (that of her former husband) so that her kids would all have the same surname…

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