Pros and Cons of Changing Your Name After Marriage
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As you’re preparing to get married, traditionally, the woman will be the one who changes her last name to match her husband’s. While this is the traditional route, more women are opting to do something less traditional and perhaps keep their maiden name or do something like hyphenating their name and combining it with their spouse’s.
There are also more couples and families that are LGBTQ, so they may have unique preferences as far as how they change their names too.
There are both pros and cons of changing your name after marriage that you have to consider. One pro is that you can easily then have the same name as your baby if you eventually have a family. That can simplify a lot of things.
At the same time, there are downsides to consider, and we break down both the pros and cons of changing your name when you get married below.
Pros of Keeping Your Current Last Name
When you’re getting married, one of the upsides of keeping the last name that you have currently is that it can help you maintain a consistent professional identity.
Maybe you have professional social media profiles like LinkedIn, a personal website, and perhaps a body of work online that’s all listed under your current name. If you were to change it, then there’s going to be inconsistency. One option is to use both names, making your current last name your middle name, and that way, there is some consistency in how people recognize your professional brand.
Sometimes, depending on your industry and your brand, it is easier to keep your last name and keep growing your brand using it.
When you keep your last name, there aren’t just professional benefits. You can also continue the legacy of your own family. Some families have names that will otherwise die out. Fewer people are having babies to carry on their family names, and you might want to make sure that you continue to honor your family.
You might have a strong bond with your family name, and it can feel good if so to think that you’re going to keep it going even though you’re getting married.
It can feel symbolically like you’re giving up a part of yourself, professionally and personally, if you give up your last name.
Sometimes, you could feel as if you changing your name means that you’re giving up your autonomy. This can be the case in LGBTQ couples as well because some feel that it creates a hierarchy in the relationship that perhaps they aren’t comfortable with.
When you keep your last name after marriage, it simplifies your life quite a bit. You don’t have to change everything, which can be an arduous process. For example, things that you have to change along with a name change include your driver’s license, passport, business cards, social media profiles, and even things like monogrammed items you might have.
The cons of keeping your current name exist as well. One is that you don’t get to feel like you’re becoming one with your new partner, and another is that people are probably still going to expect you to have the same name as your partner once you get married.
You’re also going to face what was mentioned above—the debate about how you’ll name your children if you plan to have them. Naming children is a big decision, and it can be an emotional one, especially if you have a different last name from your spouse.
What About the Pros of Changing Your Name?
If you decide to change your name to that of your new spouse, it can feel symbolic in its own way. You might feel as if you’re forming a true union with the person you’re marrying when you share a name, whereas when you keep your name, maybe you continue to feel more independent.
When you share a name with your partner, there’s something special about it, which is likely why it’s stuck around as a tradition for so long. Names hold a sense of identity, emotion, and connection, whether we realize it right away or not.
You can avoid potential misunderstandings as well since people will assume you’ve changed your name, and if you have children, if you all share the same name, again, it’s going to promote that feeling of connection and a shared future. It’ll also make things easier on the logistical side when you start a family if you have the same last name as your partner.