Post # 1
I am Catholic, FI is Jewish. I am struggling with the idea of taking his last name and don’t know what to do. I totally love and appreciate Jewish culture and have the utmost respect for it, but I just don’t identify with Judaism. For me, it’s about more than just having a different last name- for me, it feels like I’m having to give up part of myself to take on something I’m not, and the more I think about it, the more it upsets me. It feels like converting when I’m not.
I don’t know how to discuss this with Fiance because he wants me to take his last name and I don’t want to hurt his feelings. Has anyone else struggled with this? What did you do about it?
Post # 3
I am not a religious person but this sounds like something you might want to talk over with your spiritual counsel…priest? Or maybe even his rabbi. They can be incredible insightful and understanding and may be able to shed some light on the direction you’re taking and the feelings you’re having. I would want to straighten my emotions out on this one before I got married, you don’t want to regret or hold anything against him unnecesarily.
Post # 4
I’m a (very liberal) Jewish educator by trade, and I don’t understand your dilemma… What about taking your husband’s last name has to do with being Jewish? I’ve also struggled with giving up my individual identity by taking my husband’s name. However, at least from a standpoint of Jewish tradition, the name issue has nothing to do with being Jewish or not. Even the most liberal Jewish communities will not consider you a Jew unless you express interest in learning and living Jewishly. The decision of whether you change your last name or not is, at least from a Jewish community perspective, a secular decision.
Though, as a side note–as an educator, it makes my life much easier when parents have the same name as their children.
As for me, my husband is adding my maiden name as his second middle name, and I am adding his last name to mine–a sign that we’re both committing ourselves to each other and each others families.
Post # 5
@alison- FI’s name is very Jewish. I am fully versed in Jewish tradition, and I know that the decision to change your name is secular. I wasn’t trying to imply that by changing my name I would become Jewish. It’s that people will ASSUME that I am, because of what my married name will be. I think that is fine for people who actually ARE Jewish, but I’m not. The only advantages I see to taking his last name are as a sign of commitment to him, and also, as you said, when we are parents, we will all have the same last name.
Post # 6
People think my last name (maiden) is Chinese when it’s actually Irish. Sometimes people look at me crazy when my pasty 5’11” self walks in.
My FI’s last name is as Polish as Polish can get.
I personally don’t think these day’s people associate last name and religion/nationality as much. You may hear my FI’s last name and the thought’s more like, “What a mouthful” not, Oh, your polish? He’s actually mainly Italian 😉
I wouldn’t worry to much about it. If I heard it I wouldn’t automatically think, Oh she’s jewish?
Post # 7
Even though I did convert to Judaism before my first marriage, I never took his name.
I don’t know how to discuss this with Fiance because he wants me to take his last name and I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
Would he feel like he had to accommodate you if you wanted him to take your last name? If not, then he has no more right to decide what your name should be than you have to decide what his should be.
Post # 8
I think your point got a little misunderstood by the first poster. It would be tough to have people make assumptions about your religion because of your name if you identify with a different one.
You should bring it up with your fiance. You need to be able to communicate about these things.
I come from a proud Irish family, with a very Irish last name, and when this name change rigamarole is all over, I’ll have a very non-descript “top 3” last name. It does feel like losing a little piece of your identity.
Post # 9
If it makes you that uncomfortable than don’t take his name. I think either way you have to talk to him & be honest about it! I bet you will feel a lot better afterwards.
Post # 10
How would your Fiance feel about combining your names in some way, and each taking that new name, which represents both of you?
I am on the opposite side of things from you- i have a very jewish last name, and once I get married, I will be taking my husband’s VERY non-jewish last name. Will people make different assumptions about my background? Maybe. Maybe not. But changing your name, and the identity that goes with, is a very personal choice. And a lot of women these days choose not to change their names. If you feel strongly about it, and explain to him that your name is part of your identity and is important to you, he should understand.
It does beg the question though: if your husband had a last name that wasn’t jewish, would you still have reservations about changing your name?
Post # 11
Sorry bees, I didn’t realize anyone had responded to my thread until today! Thanks for your feedback!
Thank you, SapphireSun, for understanding what I meant and where I am coming from.
@Winterwedding10: yes, I would have reservations about changing my last name in general, but I think it is just compounded by the fact that I am being asked to take a name that has deep religious and cultural connotations that while I love, respect and have an appreciation for them, I simply don’t personally identify with.
Interestingly enough, this was brought up when we met with the Cantor at the synagogue the other night. I was very honest about my feelings. Fiance seemed hurt (I knew he would be), and said that he thinks it’s “stupid” when women hyphenate. I can see where he is taking this personally- he sees it as more as a personal rejection- like I don’t want to be united with HIM, and SHARE his last name. He said he sees where I’m coming from, but he really just doesn’t get what the big deal is. The Cantor was really nice, but not really helpful in helping me resolve the issue. Basically I’m either going to do the hyphenate thing or not take his last name at all. I’m leaning more towards hyphenating.
Post # 12
I personally would not assume a married woman with a jewish-sounding last name would be Jewish. Especially in this day and age. The bigger question is, if you are this hung up on the name, how comfortable are you, really with marrying someone who is Jewish? You might want to dig a little deeper to make sure you are truly ok with that.
Post # 13
And, really…why care so much about what others think? Your family and friends know where you stand. People will always be able to find a way to judge you if they are judgemental! So, I’d say forget about what others think. FAith is a private thing and it is really not anyone else’s business.
I kind of don’t blame your husband for feeling hurt, or like you are rejecting him. By rejecting the name, you are rejecting his faith (you say you aren’t, but you are obviously concerned about strangers connecting you to it, so that is a rejection). So, if he is connected to his faith, you definitely are rejecting him. Personally I would be far more concerned with hurting him, than with worrying what others think. I’m not saying anyone should change their name if they don’t want to, I just think your reason is..kind of hurtful to your husband to be.
Post # 14
Menobride, I appreciate what you’re saying, but honestly, it’s really not that deep. Fiance is not really connected to his faith. He never goes to synagogue. He appreciates Judaism from more of a cultural aspect than a religious one. I am very comfortable with marrying someone Jewish, in fact, I know more about Judaism and have a greater appreciation for it than he does. However, I am connected to my faith. Fiance knows this and has always known this. Because I am the more religious of the two of us, our children will be raised Catholic, but exposed to both. It’s been discussed.
I am concerned with hurting him. If I weren’t concerned, I wouldn’t have posted the question on the interfaith board asking if anyone else has struggled with it. I would just say “oh well” and do what I want to do anyway. I didn’t do that.
Post # 15
I think hyphenating is a perfectly reasonable solution– it sounds to me like your Fiance is hung up on the tradition of a woman changing her name. But nothing says it has to be that way. I had a friend in college who took his wife’s name when they got married, because she only had sisters, and his parents really wanted the name to continue. Maybe 100 years ago things were very different, but today, marriage is about creating a family together, not about a woman going from her father’s home to her husband’s.
I’m sure whatever decision you make will be the right one.
Post # 16
I never assume someone’s religion by their name. Or their heritage, lol.
Also, on the child’s name thing; what about people who divorce with young children then remarry?
Example: I have a son and daughter, both have my current last name (which I took from a previous marriage). I will be remarrying in 2012 and plan on having another child with my Fiance, so there will be two children with my current last name, at least one with my FI’s last name.
I want to take my FI’s last name; he wants me to keep my current last name because it’s so unusual. (We compromised – I’ll use my current last name if/when we get published and I take his last name… maybe…)
regardless, do what makes you feel most comfortable. Don’t worry about what others think. It’s YOUR name, YOUR life. Do what works best for you and your Fiance.