The New York Times recently published an article noting that more women are keeping their maiden names when they marry. According to Google, I'm hanging out with about 20 percent of women who decide to keep their maiden names. With same-sex unions now legal in all 50 states, the question of "what is your new last name" is sure to bubble up. Here are my reasons for holding onto the name on my birth certificate.
- We're equal partners. My thoughts, feelings, and needs are just as valid and important as his. We're not perfect and we get off balance, but we know we're happiest when we're closer to the equilibrium.
- My spouse doesn't want to change me, and I don't want to change him. I didn't marry my spouse because I wanted him to be someone that he isn't. I didn't have fairytale dreams that after our first kiss all his stock options would suddenly make him the richest man in the world. And he didn't marry me with the wish that I'd get plastic surgery to look like a celebrity. We dated for four years before we married, so we had a good picture painted of who we were (and were not).
- I didn't need to learn a new signature/ change credit card names/ paperwork in general. I dread even changing my address when we move, so this is where the engineer in me wants to optimize the process (or just take the short cut). Who wants to wait at the DMV anyways?
- I'm proud of my heritage, and he's proud of his heritage. At one point I asked my spouse if he would consider changing his name to a blend of our names together (and the name totally passed the baseball stadium announcer test where you make sure it sounds awesome when it echoes). Ultimately, we both came to the decision that changing out last names would not be our authentic selves because we have pride in our heritage.
Everyone has their own reasons, maybe you share some with me or maybe you have your own. Keeping your name or not, as long as your authentic to the voice inside of you, I'm proud. Keep being you.