We all know the age old tale that if you’re going to marry someone, as the Woman, you change your last name. But do we even know why we do it? Is it because of tradition? Etiquette? To please our future husband and our families? Well, I didn’t really give this much thought until I recently got married. That’s when I went through the internal battle for months of whether I should change my name.
I love my maiden last name, Verduzco. It’s a rare name and coming from a family of 2 other Women, there is no one to pass the name along. I associate my last name with strength and resilience and a part of me didn’t want to lose that or myself in him. I also considered my professional reputation. My colleagues and clients all know me by Verduzco and I’ve made a pretty good name for myself. To one day show up and now I’m a Villanueva is just confusing to me. I’ve worked so hard and it felt like a part of me would just disappear.
I decided to do a little research into why we change our names in the first place. I learned in an article that “The tradition of women changing their last names to match their husbands’ has its origins in the property transfer that took place upon marriage”. Essentially, women went from being part of their parents’ family to becoming their husbands’ property.” Let that sink in ladies.
Is it sexist if people expect you to take your future husband’s last name and then give you shit if you don’t? An article in the New York Times by The Upshot conducted surveys in 2015 showing there was an increase in women keeping their name dating back to as early as the year 2000. So there’s something to say about a shift happening. Could it be that as Women we’re finally finding our voices? Maybe we’re just fed up of being seen as “property. Maybe we would rather still be seen as independent Women that want the man we’re marrying and not need them.
Now, this doesn’t go to that say I didn’t want to have his last name be a part of me. There are things to consider when thinking about the other side of the argument. For example, when we start a family. I would love for my children to share the same last name as me and not wonder why mine is different from theirs. There is also the fact that I do want my husband to feel like he is a part of me. I’m not so stubborn where I will completely discount our marriage.
Considering all of these points and after many months of discussions with my fiance, I finally made the decision to hyphenate my name. It gives me the best of both worlds. I am able to keep my name, share my husband’s last name, and one day my children will have the same as well. Yes, it’s incredibly long, but it works for me. In the end the decision is ultimately up to you. Don’t get lost in the process or let the pressures of pleasing everyone else overwhelm you. It’s something that you’ll have to live with hopefully for the rest of your life so definitely do the research. Most importantly, take your time and stay true to you.