Did you know that studies show she’ll get paid more over her lifetime if she retains her maiden name? Something about independence and dependability.
In these shifting times, I think a lot of women are unsure of what to do when they get married. Change it? Keep it? Hyphenate it?
What makes me curious is what you’re supposed to do when (if) you get divorced. Change it? Keep it? Hyphenate it?
This is something I’ve debating since my engagement a few years ago, and it’s actually something I’ve changed my mind on.
Growing up surrounded by traditional family influences, I always looked forward to the day that I got to get married and change my name. Unless of course, my husband’s last name was something ridiculously embarrassing, at which point I would point fingers at my independence in order to spare myself the humiliation.
Now that I’ve come a long way in terms of my own thinking (thinking outside the box, one might say), I’m actually quite keen on keeping my own name.
Perhaps it has something to do with the humiliation I encountered at the break-up of my engagement. I mean, if I ever got divorced I would be faced with enough turmoil to start with, without drawing all of that extra attention by changing it back. It would be like waving a flag in front of a crowd screaming, “I’m getting divorced!”.
I could only imagine keeping my name after divorce for two reasons, if all of my professional credentials were in my married name (they are not and that is also an argument against changing my name in the first place) or if I had children and wanted to keep the same last name as them (this could be a toss up but I believe a child should take it’s father’s last name and I think I would be proud of that regardless of my marital status or initials).
So why change my last name in the first place?
That’s not to say I’m anticipating divorce someday, but I do believe in thinking ahead.
There are other reasons I would want to keep my last name though, aside from the extra income, declaration of independence, and career credentials.
First of all, it’s not so bad. If I’d inherited a really rotten last name then I can see myself being more open to changing it.
Second, my name is my identity. It’s who I am and who I’ve been for my entire life. I feel sort of like giving up my name would be like giving up a part of myself.
Then again, isn’t that sort of what marriage is all about? Opening up your life to another person and moving forward as a unit instead of individuals?
I guess it will suffice to say that I’m glad I don’t have to make this decision anytime soon.
A wife should no more take her husband’s name than he should hers. My name is my identity and must not be lost. -Lucy Stone