Wednesday, May 26, 2010

what's in a name?

what i didn't know then:

when i was married the first time, i decided that i just could not "drop" my name because, to me, i felt like i was loosing my identity to do it.  thus, i kept my whole name and added his surname.  i had 4 names (legally - according to my social security card, they were not hyphenated).  it ended up being a pain because you know when you have to fill out forms?  well, my last name was his surname.  my middle name - well what was my middle name?  no one ever knew (not even me). turns out that maybe i knew deep down that it was a mistake and me not wanting to give up "me" was just a sign that i didn't need to be doing what i was doing (getting married in the first place).  eh, hindsight is always 20/20, right?  i'm not saying that everyone with 4 names was making a mistake, i'm just saying that for me, it was probably a sign since the reason i did it was because i just didn't want to let go of who i was.
fortunately, when you marry at thirty something, you are much wiser than at twenty something (at least i was...)

what i know now:

taking a man’s name symbolizes the unity that you have created in a family.  it says you are his wife. the concept of women as property is outrageous and outdated, but the fact remains that God is the leader of the man, and the man is the leader and head of the household.  a wife who doesn’t have her husband’s name is not in full submission to him. she also isn’t fully committed to the marriage. she is, in effect, saying to him, “i love you, but not enough to change my name. i’m excited about our future, but let me hold on to this piece of my past.”

if the words "is not in full submission to him" makes you squirm in your seat or makes your blood boil, then you need to read Ephesians 5:22-25 and start praying!  um, i'll be praying for you too.  submission is a choice you make out of respect to him and faith in God, not something your husband demands from you.  if he demands it from you, just so you know, that isn't God's definition of submission.

marriage is about shifting from “you” and “me” to “us” and “we.” nathaniel never asked me to take his name. it was his gift to me when we wed.  to me, it said "we’re now one unit, one family. let’s forget our separate pasts and focus on making one incredible future. together. you and me.” and, so far so good.  heck, we've doubled our family size so far.

and, yes, when i left behind my name, i did give away part of my identity. good news, though, the piece i gave away was immediately replaced with a new one. a better one. a stronger one. one i have more say in the forming of, for future generations.

and forever recorded in my "permanent record"  is my name as
ms. first middle maiden married to mr. first middle surname
as recorded on our marriage certificate and our children's birth certificate.  actually, on their birth certificates, my name is recorded as first middle maiden surname.  so, in that respect, i haven't really given up anything!  my kids will always have access to my entire name.  and, that is important to me.  i want them to know my maiden history just like they know surname history... and i suppose that is up to me to share with them!


  1. and i suppose that is up to US to share with them!

  2. I think some women want to keep their maiden name if they've established themselves in their chosen career/filed under that name. I've known many ladies who keep their maiden name for "business" purposes and use their married name for all others.

    Having said that, I did the hyphen thing first time around and did not the 2nd. I did, however, legally change my middle name to my maiden name; mostly because I'm the last of the H line.



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