Post # 1
I’m a 30 year old professional marrying someone who I see as a perfect partner for me. He’s not only sweet and interesting and all the things I want, but also the type of guy who doesn’t care that I am in a more competitive job than him, or that I will always be the main breadwinner (but not because he’s a loser who doesn’t want a job, more because his work is not in a lucrative field). For all of his non-tradition, his family is the total opposite. They are the type of people who believe our invitations have to match my dress color, and if my mother walks me down the aisle then what will everybody think! Needless to say, wedding planning has been really difficult for me because I want his family to feel comfortable, but I just don’t believe in a lot of their wedding traditions.
But now, I have learned that his parents are pissed off bc I am not taking his name. I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep my name as is or hyphenate it, but either way seems unacceptable to them. i believe MIL’s words were something to the effect of “WHAT? That’s crazy. I don’t like that.” I don’t want them to be upset, and I don’t want them to feel that I am somehow disrespecting their family or don’t want to be part of it. In fact, before they became FIL-weddingzillas, I really loved them and was excited about joining their family. At the same time, I don’t want to be made to feel like some horrible person because I want to keep my identity. There are a lot of factors in this decision–e.g., my family has all girls and if we change our names, our family name will die off…I am from a different ethnic background than him and I want to make sure that my name reflects my heritage…I have a very successful career built on my name and I am worried if changing it will confuse people or cause professional issues…etc. Plus this has been my name for 30 years and its hard to give it up.
Anyway sorry for the long vent. Have any of you dealt with this? Have advice for talking to totally offended and traditional in-laws?
Post # 3
I kept my name for many of the same reasons you are keeping yours. However, I do use his last name for social things such as Christmas cards, etc. I’m not even sure his parents know I didn’t change it.
While it is very nice that you are respectful of their feelings, that goes both ways. They need to respect yours as well–and butt out of the wedding planning! Sometimes weddings bring out the worst in people. Hopefully they will settle down when it is over and realize that none of things make the least bit of difference.
Post # 4
I like the idea of keeping your name but using his last name socially.
I’m changing my name, I wan’t so excited at first but it means a lot to Fiance for me to change it, so after some discussion I have decided to change it.
Post # 5
I honestly nver understood the whole not changing your name… I mean marriage is to become one and 2 names does not make one…. I’m on my way to be a “professional” in fact a Medical Doctor but I think it would be against the whole ideal of marriage to NOT take my FH name.
Sorry you’re dealing with the ugh of you Father-In-Law but I agree on their side… just not their method.
Post # 6
It’s true that weddings are about more people than just the bride and groom, but I think that if you’re paying for the wedding, you ultimately get to do what you want. Of course you should be respectful, but you can respectfully disagree. And when i comes to your name, that’s your name! That’s your identity! Don’t let others influence you – do what feels right for you.
Post # 7
I had similar issues. I’m going to hyphenate my last name and my fiance is ok with it. I’m just not telling my in-laws. I have realized in dealing with my in-laws (especially with the wedding planning) you just tell them what they want to hear so they will shut up and leave you alone, then when the wedding comes its just too late for them to complain. As long as you and your fiance are on the same page then that is all that matters 🙂 Good luck.
Post # 8
Your mother in law does not have to like your name and she does not have to agree with what you do with it. The bottom line is that it’s your choice. One of the great things the women’s movements of the past century have done is given us choices. Unfortunately, with those choices comes the fact that tons of people feel the need to express their opinion and judge other women’s choices.
You do not have to use his last name in certain situations just so they’ll be happy (they’ll just assume you’ve given in entirely). You absolutely do not need to base your opinion around what they want you to do. That’s a slippery slope in any field… for every person who wants you to change your name / have a bouquet toss / address invitations to “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” / etc etc, there’s another person who thinks that’s outdated and unacceptably sexist.
Be gracious and accepting of their faults, but do not make your decisions around them. If they tell you they don’t like your choice (about any of these things), tell them you would prefer if they were excited about your choices, but you will learn to accept that they are not and they will have to accept your decisions.
Post # 9
@runsyellowlites: Where my family comes from it is actually not legal for me to take my husband’s name. Its actually a very common practice in many cultures for women to keep their last name. You should educate yourself a little before making very North American comments about what a marriage is. You’re still two people, but a family and keeping my last name in no way undermines our union.
There are lots of reasons for women to keep their name or change it thought, technically taking on FI’s last name is tied to women being the property of men and while we obviously no longer follow these beliefs for some women this is an issue. Others have family or cultural issues regarding why they’d like to keep their name.
Ultimately its your decision and I doubt your inlaws will hold it over your head. My inlaws aren’t happy I’m keeping my name either, but Fiance is and thats all that matters. I had a discussion with them and explained my perspective an they haven’t brought it up since. Maybe this would work for you?
Post # 10
@kermie I am sorry if I offended I just always saw marriage as becoming 1 and just has my children would have my name so I would as my husband… from a biblical standpoint not cultural location standpoint… and I also believe that we become each other’s and no longer our own for husbands AND wives when that convenant is made. Given that, I just wouldn’t see how keeping my name., and “my” identity would follow suite with my beliefs of marriage. =)
That’s pretty crazy that it’s not legal where you are…. where is that?! =0
Post # 11
@runsyellowlites: Just curious: If the point of marriage is to “become one,” then is it acceptable for the man to take the woman’s last name? Or for both of them to hyphenate their names, as long as they’re the same?
Sorry, this is a hot button for me. My father passed away when I was 16, I got married at 47, I have built a professional reputation over 25 years that includes people in my community recognizing my name, and we will not be having children who may be affected. I can’t imagine changing my last name at this point in my life, and he doesn’t really care. He really understood it thoroughly when I asked him (hypothetically) to think about changing his OWN name, and how weird that would feel. He completely got it.
Not having the same last name doesn’t make our marriage any less a marriage. Marriage is about far deeper things than a common last name.
OP: Hold your ground. They may not like it, but it’s your life. They will get over it.
Post # 12
@NotYourTypicalBride I’ve always known, seen, and read scripturally as taking the name suite of the Husband.. father of Isaac, Jacob, Abraham, tribe of Benjamin, etc… It’s never really mentioned of Sarah, Ruth, or any of the other mothers of major Biblical characters or lineage… except Mary, but even Jesus was taxed under Joseph not Mary
Post # 13
@runsyellowlites: Sorry, but I don’t really understand the biblical reference you’re trying to explain. Plus, in those days, women were considered to be the property of men, which is why so many modern women have a philosophical issue with taking the husband’s name without at least some consideration. Those days are long gone, thankfully.
Post # 14
I say do what’s right for you. What ultimately made me change my name was that I want all of us to have the same name when we have kids.
Post # 15
@iluvblueberries: By the way, I got some really good advice when I was trying to make this decision… You don’t have to decide right away! You can choose to change your name at any time, so don’t feel pressured to do it immediately if you’re not sure.
One thing that will happen after you’re married is that people will start to assume you did change your name, and you’ll start to receive mail with his last name… you’ll have a chance to “try it on for size,” and see how it feels. Either you’ll become accustomed to it and eventually start to like the idea, or you won’t.
That was the best advice I got, and I still don’t consider my decision final… I may choose to change it someday, just to surprise him because he’s such a great guy.
Post # 16
As long as you and your FH present a united front about it, they will get over it. It might cause some grumbling for awhile, but that’s their problem. You are under NO obligation to take his name, legally, professionally, socially, or any other way!
I’m keeping my name. My FH is happy about it, I’m happy about it, my parents are happy about it, and his are getting used to the idea.
@runsyellowlites: The idea behind it is that not everyone considers name-changing to be indicative of devotion or union. My husband and I will be no less united for having different last names.
And, I think more fundamentally, not everyone views marriage as “two becoming one.” We aren’t one person now, and we’re still going to be two people after marriage. We will have different thoughts, opinions, and personalities, just as we do now. In our vows, which I get teary about whenever I think about them, we will say, “With all that I have, and all that I am, I join my life to yours.” To me, that is what marriage is about – joining our lives together. That, IMO, has nothing to do with my last name, any more than with my first name.