Okay, I’m not actually giving up my husband’s last name, but I am in the process of legally hyphenating it.
When my husband and I got married, we were both very young and I was very ready to shed my maiden name due to all of my family drama and upset. I thought taking my husband’s last name would signal that I was moving on and completely binding myself to him, and that I really didn’t need my family of origin to get by in this world.
Some Background on Changing Last Names
Since our wedding day, or rather, since the day I walked into the Social Security office and legally switched my name over to my husband’s, I have changed tremendously. There have been births, deaths, hurts, and so much more. I’ve started a career and have learned so much about who I am as an individual.
When I initially considered giving up my husband’s last name, it was with the idea of reverting back to my maiden name, even though we are very happily married with no plans to dissolve our marriage. But after many months of reflection, I’ve come to realize that the best option for me moving forward is to hyphenate it. My sons have my husband’s last name and I believe it’s important that their mother share their last name, too.
Some of the “Why”
In April of 2021, my younger brother died at age 24. He shared my maiden name. He had no children and his name died with him. That’s one of my main reasons for hyphenating my name. I want to honor his legacy and carry on his last name. It may sound silly to some, but for me, it brings comfort to know I will legally have a part of his name forever. I have one more brother who is still living, and I want us to have the same name.
In the six years since I married, I have changed my worldview a lot, and this issue is no exception. That may ruffle some feathers, but it is strictly my opinion and I in no way believe everyone should do this or feel this way. I once read a quote that said something to the effect of, “As a woman, when it comes to our last name, we have to choose who we dislike more: our husband or our father.” That really struck me. As women, we are the ones who, traditionally, change our last names. Society expects us to at least consider a change once wed. Men are never expected to do this; the name they are born with, most likely, is the name they will die with.
I’ve also had a very tricky relationship with my in-laws. Sharing their last name has been very difficult at times. I want people to know that I do not stand for the same things they do—that my husband, children, and I are different. This is a conversation that my husband and I have had many times. We know we are the ones who have the power to change how our last name is perceived. That is very important to both of us.
The Process of a Hyphenated Last Name Change
Unfortunately, the name-hyphenating process is not as easy as it was when I first got married. It will require a lot of paperwork and a civil case and time in front of a judge. My husband, who graduated from law school, is willing to help me navigate this process. This is amazing because otherwise, I would be paying someone else a lot of money to help me.