Pros and cons: Should I change my surname after I’m married?

To take his name or not? That is the question.

The thing is, nobody else in the world can answer that question for you. Your name is YOU. Changing it or keeping it is an incredibly personal decision so, though we definitely can’t tell you which road is best for you, we can share the pros and cons of both – and, at the very least, assist you in making a decision you’ll be happy with – for the rest of your life.

Pro: I can’t wait to change my maiden name!

There are plenty of people who will jump at the opportunity to have a new surname.

Whether it is a family issue, any teasing they may have experienced as a child or just that they really, really dislike their name, an unwanted birth name can carry a lot of emotional weight.

So, being able to change one’s identity or to be able to start fresh with a new last name can be a most appealing proposition for some couples.

Of course, there are still plenty of people who are perfectly happy with the convention of changing their surnames just because it is tradition and they want to take their partners name – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Con: It’s a BIG change to make

For some people, change is good, but also a little frightening. For you, taking your partners surname after the wedding may be an expression of your commitment to your new life as a wife. Most people realise that being married does not take away their individuality. In fact, for many, it can enhance their life and bring new exciting experiences. Being able to have the same last name as your partner presents the two of you as a single unit, which is very important to many newlyweds.

Con: It’s just too hard

Changing your name isn’t easy. There are services that can arrange it for you, but there is a whole lot of ‘legal stuff’ that must be done to change your name and, though it’s not an overly complicated process, the flow on effects of changing things like passports and bank accounts takes time and effort and, frankly, some brides just couldn’t be bothered.

Pro: I don’t want a different name from my children

This is a fair consideration. I’ve had friends say to me that they kept their maiden names until they had children because, as one friend put it, “I was determined not to change my name after marriage – but then I had kids and I hated having a different name from my children.

“It was awkward and I just didn’t like my children asking me why I had a different name.”

Con: I don’t want to lose my professional identity

People are marrying when they are older and, as a result, they often have built a strong reputation in their line of business under their maiden names. For many, it may be necessary to keep your maiden name to avoid confusion or to have your reputation affected because, suddenly, nobody knows who you are. Many women in the entertainment world keep their maiden names because they’ve built a brand.

Con: I’m the last in my line with this name

Many family heritages hinge on their long line of descendants and, if you are the last one to carry on the family name, taking your partner’s surname may be out of the question.

If you can, you may want to convince your partner to take your name due to the fact of the importance of your lineage.

In most cases, this will likely be a hard sale as blokes don’t appear to be as progressive on this front, but you may be able to pull it off.

If you are too traditional for this, you may want to consider giving your children you family’s last name as their middle name. This is a great way to keep a connection to your past without ruffling any feathers in the process and, of course, you could always hyphenate the surname.

It may be diluted a little, but at least it won’t be lost in the mists of time.

Pro: I’ll be married for longer than I was single, so I may as well

We like to believe marriage is for life and, for those who stay married, you’ll probably be married for far longer than you were single and used your maiden name. So, from a practical stance, you may have been born a Smith, but if you marry at, say, 30, and are married until you’re 85, that’s 55 years that you’ll be a Jones.

Con: Erm, I don’t want to change my surname

Some people simply don’t want to take their partners name. They may just really, really like the surname they were born with or they may dislike their partners surname. Whatever the reason, they don’t want to take someone else’s name, so they shouldn’t do so.

Pro and Con: Why should I change my name? Why can’t he change HIS name?

Indeed! Though it’s always been tradition for the bride to change her name to that of her groom, the fact is, there is no legal reason why he couldn’t change his name to hers! Admittedly, some of the blokes in society may need a little mental re-training on that front, so don’t expect it to become an overnight trend, but you just never know what a man will do for the love of his life.

Pro: What if it doesn’t work out? I’ll be stuck with his name forever.

Nobody goes into a marriage assuming it won’t work out but, the fact is, this is a legitimate concern that does cross the mind of many a bride. But don’t let the notion that it may not work out sway your decision too much.

After all, you can always change it back, or you can take a lesson from Elizabeth Taylor’s book.

Liz was married eight times – and never changed her name publicly. Of course, the reverse is also possible and you, like Tina Turner, who took husband Ike’s surname, may find that you are so well known by your new married name, there’s no going back.

 Are you changing your name? If so, why? If not, why not?

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