July 10, 2006

Pet Peeve Rant!

Inspired by this thread at Dean's World.

One of my bigger pet peeves is how everyone in the world has an opinion about whether, or how, a young lady should change her name after marriage.

My own take?  Every marriage is different, everyone's circumstances are different, and that's no reason to judge the fidelity or commitment of a relationship.  Whatever the two people affected (the husband and wife) think is really all that matters.

I have known many people who got married in many different circumstances, from the new wife who immediately changes to her husband's name, to the couple who both change to a new last name.  This doesn't mean that they are any less committed, that their relationship is any less intimate, or that their family is any less spiritual.

In fact, the couple I know who both changed their last name to an amalgam of the two original names were both pastors.

A professional woman is presented with a dilemma on her marriage.  Should she continue to use the name that her friends and coworkers are accustmed to, that is written on her professional credentials and represents her body of work?  Or should she start over with a new name?  What will that mean to her career, especially in a field where name recognition is important?

If the marriage is successful, then no problem, she can build the majority of her career under her married name.  But what if it is not?  Many marriages end because of the stress of an early professional career.  Take the case of Professor M, someone I studied with.  Her maiden name was F, but she married and changed her name in graduate school.  A few years later, she and Mr. M divorced, but she continued to use his name, because her degree and publications used that name.  In fact, she is still known as Dr. M, although that hasn't legally been her name in almost 30 years.  In fact, her legal name is Mrs. T, as she remarried a few years ago.

As for myself, I have chosen to use both.  At work, I am Dr. CTG, and to the rest of the world,  I am Mrs. CTGT  (Hubby, of course, being Mr. GMT).  And honestly, it would be easier to take hubby's name.  Those of you who know my own name are nodding your heads in agreement, as his name is both shorter and easier to spell for other people, but it is as important to me to be one as it is to be the other, so I use both. And it works for both of us.

Posted by caltechgirl at July 10, 2006 01:14 PM | TrackBack

I kept my ex's last name after we divorced bacuse I had it for 9 years in a professional
enviroment... it was easier to keep it. I did change it when I got married again. It was just easier than trying to explain the difference and I had been at the job long enough that a name change was easy.

Posted by: vw bug at July 10, 2006 01:46 PM

Oh... the point being that circumstances make the name. Everyone should do what is best for them.

Posted by: vw bug at July 10, 2006 01:47 PM

"A professional woman is presented with a dilemma on her marriage. Should she continue to use the name that her friends and coworkers are accustmed to, that is written on her professional credentials and represents her body of work?"

I think she SHOULD keep her name that is on everything. Who cares what the name changes to? I do, however, have one problem, which stems from working in elementary school. If you're going to have hyphenated last names a MILE long, don't saddle the kid with it, or saddle them with it on paper, but let them "go by" one or the other. It's hard enough to get them to learn to print their first & last names without all the hyphenated BS. IMNSHO...

Posted by: Lisa W at July 10, 2006 03:55 PM

Yeah, I basically kept my name because of hte whole "being published under that name" thing. Which is useless now, since I dropped out of grad school. Oh well. If someone else has a problem with it, they can bite me. :)

I don't care if people call me Mrs. HubbysName. It's not like I'm offended by it. (And heck, by keeping my maiden name, it's easy to avoid telemarketers! "Nope, Mrs. HubbysName doesn't live here.")

Posted by: silvermine at July 10, 2006 04:40 PM

My brother-in-law actually took my sister's last name when they got married because she had all her pubs under her maiden name and he really wanted them to have the same last name. I call that flexibility. And it worked out well for my dad (who never really cared, but he did have only girls so the name was going byebye. This way it didn't.)

But yeah, whatever works, names just aren't that big a deal, IMO.

Posted by: beth at July 10, 2006 05:35 PM

I wasn't going to take hubby's last name, since his daughter and I have the same first name; I didn't want to confuse things even more by both of us having the same first and last name. But husband got really upset that I didn't want his name. So we agreed I'd take his name but any writing I do will continue to be under my maiden name. It's a publication thing. Not to mention, my maiden name is so much more fun to sign!

No one could spell or pronounce my maiden name; no one can spell or pronounce my married name.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at July 10, 2006 06:02 PM

My friends from college solved this problem in a rather useful way. His middle name happened to be her (original) last name. She hyphenated, but never quite convinced him to do so.

Posted by: Ken Summers at July 10, 2006 06:03 PM

But here's an another interesting question to chew on for those women who do change their last name: What middle name do you use? My limited experience has been about half and half: Some keep original middle name, some use original last name. It certainly makes some sense to do so but I have yet to meet someone who uses both.

Posted by: Ken Summers at July 10, 2006 06:06 PM

It really meant something to my hubby to have me take his last name, so I did. It wasn't that big a deal to me. And now that we have a child, I do like having one family name.

Since I never had a middle name, I use my pre-married name as my middle name, and that's the middle name we gave to our son too. So, that name lives on.

I've written many technical manuals under my old name, so I'll always include both on my resume.

Posted by: Marie at July 11, 2006 07:32 AM

The only advice I would give is for a woman NOT choose to keep her married name for the sake of the kids. I did that, and wish I hadn't...I'm remarried now, but in the newspaper, it had my 1st married name next to my new husband-to-be's name...kind of weird.

Posted by: Mrs_Who at July 11, 2006 08:58 AM

Ken: "But here's an another interesting question to chew on for those women who do change their last name: What middle name do you use?"

I kept my original middle name. I posted on Dean's re the hassle in changing IDs on everything and that I probably wouldn't do it again--still feel the same. Early on in our marriage we decided that if we were to have a son, he would have my maiden name as his middle one. However, we had a daughter, and it wouldn't have worked, although she and her dad have the same middle name (Leigh).

Posted by: cardeblu at July 11, 2006 10:24 AM

Once again, the old adage is true. Opinions are like a$$holes, everybody has one...

I *did* change my last name when I got married. ::shrugs:: Whatever anyone else does is completely up to them...

Posted by: Richmond at July 12, 2006 08:49 AM