Why I’m Not Changing My Name When I Get Married

rory-z
The letter Z is awesome.

Here’s my deal: I’m keeping my last name when I get married. Actually, I’m keeping everything about my name. Title, first name, middle name, and last name.

I’ve been Jasmine Zick my whole life–why would getting married mean that I change that part of who I am? My name is my identity. That’s what I learned to write in print and pretty cursive for my signature, that’s the reason my assigned seat was in the back corner of the classroom, and why I got to walk across the stage to thunderous applause during graduation. Turns out, there are some perks to being at the end of the alphabet.

I also had to defend my name (all of my name) against people who thought Aladdin jokes were funny in the 90s, those who thought my middle name should be something like Jean or Marie instead of my mom’s maiden name, and all the jokers who figured out that Zick rhymes with a lot of other words. Adversity makes you stronger, you know? I’m kind of attached to it at this point. 

I also have a problem with the assumption that the woman getting married should change her name and not the man. Even if you’ve never used the word “feminist” and have lived your life blissfully unaware and untouched by sexism, this tradition can rub you the wrong way. Why should I have to go through all the hassle of changing my social security card, driver’s license, bank info, and who knows how many medical and healthcare forms while my fiance doesn’t have to do any of that? No, thanks. I’m a big fan of doing nothing, too. (Note: I offered to change my name if he did and was turned down–otherwise this would be a different post)

Finally, I’d like to keep “Ms.” instead of “Mrs.” Just like the name thing above, why should my title change when I get married? Isn’t it kind of messed up that you can tell what a woman’s relationship status is by her title but not a man’s? Shouldn’t there be some kind of equivalent: “Mr.” for single dudes and “Mrz.” for married ones? Or, if you think that is as silly as I do, let’s just agree that neither of our titles has to change when we get married.

What everyone seems to want to know is what I propose to do if/when my fiance and I have kids, and the answer is that I have no problem not having the same last name as my kids. We’ll figure something out. That’s the beautiful thing about marriage/long term commitments–you work together to come up with a solution that works for you as a family.

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6 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Changing My Name When I Get Married

  1. I find it completely bizarre that women still change their name. However, I know at least 3 ladies who kept their name after getting married but then once they had a child they changed. They all said they wanted to feel like their family was one team and feel the name change helped that.

    1. That’s interesting. I mean, it’s possible that I may change my mind down the road, but right now I think that being a team/unified family is much more about loving and supporting one another than what your last name is. The best part is that there are so many options, we can all do basically whatever we want! I still like the idea of picking an entirely new name for your new baby family, like The Weezers. Or what about The Temple-Pilots, Liz?

  2. I love this post! And I like how you closed with that it’s every family’s right to choose their own path. I struggled with this decision a lot, but am very happy with where we ended with it… but it took a long time to make my personal conclusion. It is very, very difficult to change the words you use to call yourself. I had (still am in it?) a mourning process for sure. The most important thing is to do what is right for your family! Goooo Jasmine!

  3. I’m still unsure about my name-change process. My entire family (men and women included) don’t comprehend the name change issue. They are beyond it. A strong woman is a strong woman and a woman who changes her name is weak–manipulated by traditions where women had no rights, etc, etc. I’m all for that train of thought. I understand, respect and hell, embody it. And even so, when I saw the look in my husband’s eyes when we talked about me not taking his name–it killed me. I don’t understand why it becomes a rejection issue for men–but it does and to deny that is just silly.

    Every time I talked to my husband about it, both before and after our wedding, he was fully supportive of whatever road I decided to take. It took a couple months of daily discussion, and tears–oh yeah–big tears, before I finally realized one day that I wanted to share his name. I wanted us to be something more. I wanted to people to know, down the line, that we were married and a family. Now, that momentarily revelation I had seems silly. Who gives a rat’s ass what other people think of my relationship?

    And even so, I came to that revelation after I put in the SS application to change my name. So, here I am with my husband’s name–which I never use, by choice–and still unsure of what steps to take next. Do I keep it? Do I ditch it? My initial plan (ahem, starting from when this whole ordeal was brought to my naive attention as I never thought about it before I got engaged) was always to take his name socially and keep my name professionally. We’re both writers and I want MY NAME to go down in the books.

    So, what does it matter if I have his name and choose to use my own still? Does it hurt anyone? Nope. Does it offend anyone? Nope. Does it make my husband a bit happier than I think he wants to admit? Yep. Do I get to keep my name and feminist independence (or whathaveyou)? Yep. So, then, why is this still an issue? Why am I still debating this entire concept 5 months after my marriage, 3 months after my name change and over a year since it first came up?

    Names don’t define us, our actions do. And yet, we identify ourselves by our names. So, really–it’s not about screwing tradition and becoming a modern woman. It’s not about pleasing your husband. It’s about what you want. And what makes you comfortable and happy. I think people shoving their opinions on us, regardless of which side they take, just makes an overly complicated and personal issue more stressful and difficult.

    Anywho–those are my two cents. Sorry they’re so lengthy.

  4. I am getting married next October. My fiance was first hurt when I told him I didn’t want to change my last name. However, I pointed out that I have made a lot of other sacrifices for him. We are not getting married in a church, and I was raised Catholic. It is just me and my sister, and I really like my last name, and I would like to carry it as long as possible. Also, my last name is far more unique than my fiance’s. I also feel like it is part of my identity.

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