Change Your Name When You Marry? Your Take!

Well, hello there, brides and wives!

Looks like my column from a couple of weeks ago where I shared my choice not to change my name when I married has touched a nerve.  The responses have been pouring in.

There’s no way I could print all of them, so here are a few.

Tammie Morris represents the majority of women I heard from who chose to take her husband’s last name and make her maiden name her middle name. She writes, “It worked for me and I was able to have both names without the hypen thing.”

Delores Stoner-Woodard does use a hyphen, with a twist.  She is married to her best friend’s husband. Hold on, no scandal here. She and her second husband married after she was widowed and her best friend passed away. How sweet is that? She writes, “I felt strange having the last name as my friend, also, I liked my last name.  My new husband didn’t object, so I kept my name.”

A big “Thank You!” to Caroline Leach who reminds me that there were women pioneers decades ago allowing me to make a personal choice today. “40 years ago, I was almost turned away at the court house when we went to get our ‘official’ license because I would not take the envelope that contained a change of driver’s license and notification to the social security.

The clerk indicated that we might not be legal in the state.

So don’t take this question for granted. There were sisters and brothers who went through a lot so that this generation can even write of the option in a major newspaper today.”

Susan Leafman didn’t change her name and believes it is all a personal choice. She shares, “Now there is a new wrinkle in this subject.  My older daughter is getting married and seems to be wrestling with changing her last name.  My advice to her was don’t do what I did because it’s what I might expect, do what is best for your marriage.”

I even heard from some men, like Arnold Simon. “When my daughter got married last year, the couple decided to keep her last name. It is nice and simple, while the groom’s was one that invited snide remarks. The groom is now experiencing what most brides in the past have dealt with: lots of time-consuming paperwork acquiring new social security card, driver’s license, bank account, etc. The choice itself was the easiest part.”

My favorite responses, as always, involve humor.

Sue Bilkey didn’t change her name and laughs at the consequences. “Our friends have combined our last names (Cobb and Bilkey) and to many of them we are the ‘Cobilkey’s’ and that’s fine with us as well.  At our lake house we have a sign reading ‘Camp Cobilkey.’”

Lois Hertz shares, “I have been married for 30 years. I never seriously entertained the idea of changing my name. On the other hand, I don’t like my first name. Perhaps I could have changed that to his?”

And finally, Beverly Struble offered me this suggestion, “The answer to your name change situation is really simple–Have your husband and daughter change their names to KAGAN!  lol.”

I’ll pass that one one, Bev, but I know he’s quite happy with his last name.  The good news is he doesn’t flinch if someone does call him, “Mr. Kagan.” I love yet another good sign that I found a great guy.

As new bride Jean Love figures as she struggles with changing her name, “In the end, my last name doesn’t matter. We love each other and we’re married. We’re a family. That’s what counts.”

It sure does. Thank you, Dear Readers! I always love hearing from you.

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.

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Change Your Name When You Marry? Your Take!

by DarynKagan time to read: 3 min
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