Why is this the automatic question? We've been married almost 4 weeks, and I've had to answer this question more times than I can count. Doahleigh posted about the big name-debate. To change or not to change? That is currently a big fat question for me.
I grew up with the idea that I'd of course change my name. But then I matured a bit and realized that I had a choice. I also have seen and heard of women who go through kind of an identity crisis when something happens to the marriage or their husband. They were a Mrs. so and so and suddenly aren't. Not that I plan on that happening in any way, shape or form. However - I almost find myself having mini panic attacks at the thought of changing my name.
I know who I am. I am Katie [enter current last name]. My last name is actually not common at all, very unique, and quite a few friends call me by my last name. It is mispronounced all the time - but it doesn't annoy me. My husband's last name (sidenote - it feels very funny every time I say "my husband" - I kind of giggle when I type it) is an extremely common name. The fact that my first name is so common, and then possibly switching my last name to a very common last name makes my name sound so unoriginal and boring. Also, I have no association with Katie Smith [that is not the real name of my hubby- but just shows you how boring my name would be].
At the wedding, lots of his family members asked when I plan on changing my name. Upon hearing (gasp) that it wouldn't be happening soon, if at all, I got many horrified looks. You're not changing you're name? You don't want to be a [enter hubby's last name]? It's almost as if I don't love him as much, or I'm not proud to be his wife if I choose to keep my last name. I do love him - a whole lot - and I am proud to be his wife. But I am also proud of where I've come from, my family, my history. Just because I'm married doesn't mean I'm leaving my family and history behind, nor does it mean that I don't consider myself a part of his family. And I still am Ian's Mrs. - whether I have the last name or not.
I realize some people may argue that it's just a name, that it isn't who you are. That is a valid point. But why is it that it's automatically the woman who is supposed to change her name? If it was just a name, then women AND men would be changing their last names.
Ian would like me to change my name. I get that it makes life easier in terms of bills, traveling (we had to fill out extra forms and aren't considered a family when coming through customs - it was quite a pain), and kids. I do like the idea of having the same last name as Ian and our kids. But why do we have to use his? When he mentioned that he wants us to have the same last name, my response was "okay - you want to change your name?". The answer was a definite no. Now maybe he can understand my hesitation.
And if you know me - pressuring me to do something makes me want to run the other direction. I don't like being pressured into making a decision that is totally mine to make. So honey, if you're reading this, if you want any chance of me changing my name, better tell your family to calm down on those appalled expressions, and while you're at it, calm yourself down a bit too:)
What are your feelings? I would also like to say - I have absolutely no problem with people changing their names. In some cases, I think the new name sounds a whole lot better and the name just fits. And for those that don't care and change it - fine by me. What are you planning on doing? Is it an automatic thought process, as if you didn't have a choice? Or was it a conscience decision? And what helped you decide. Please HELP ME!
Check out Doahleigh's post and comments. She goes into a lot more detail and the comments add some excellent points!