Women And Name Change After Marriage

By Modupe Akinyemi

One of my friends got married a week ago and I was surprised to see her update on all social media platforms the next day that she would want to be addressed as ‘Mrs Husband’s Surname’ henceforth. This actually got me thinking, what is the fuss about a woman changing her last name to that of her husband after marriage?

Yeah, this is the norm but what other options are available? At least, I know of many celebrities who keep their maiden names and those who hyphenate theirs with their Husband’s. Does that mean only public figures are entitled to break this rule?

In our African societies, before our mothers were born, it really did not matter to them if they had to change their names. It was their pride to be addressed by their husband’s name. However, in recent times, there as been a great decline in the number of women who change names after marriage.

According to a Google Consumer Survey conducted by The Upshot, roughly 20% of women married in recent years have kept their names with an additional 10% or so who choose a third option, such as hyphenating their name as compared to the 17% of the 1970s, 14% of 1980s and 18% of 1990s.

The surge in the number of women who maintained their maiden names or conjoined it with that of their husbands after marriage makes me wonder if it’s a thing that’d pass in time or would be the new norm.

A change of name is considered by many to be a sign of unity and oneness in marriage. To them, it brings uniformity in representation as the family is considered one. It meant she honoured and respected him and would not mind identifying with him. I think this is the category my friend falls into.

However, some women find a change of name to mean a change of identity. They consider it surrendering their individuality and adjusting their personalities to suit that of the newly acquired name. This school of thought considers not just the stress involved in the whole process but that, the woman may have achieved so much with her maiden name, therefore, a change will modify her professional identity and may affect her reputation and perhaps her career. I mean a search on the web may be more difficult when the name is changed.

Whichever category you fall into, I think it is important to understand the fact that each home is unique and different and it is the responsibility of the couple to make a choice either to follow an unconventional pattern or go with the norm. This makes it important for couples to discuss these topics before marriage even though they may seem unimportant, they may cause some troubles too.

As for me, I would love to have both names. Other than professional reasons, I see it as keeping my father’s name from fading away and yeah it sounds really cool. I mean being Mrs Akin-Ola sounds sweet than Mrs Akinyemi or Mrs Oladunjoye alone. Don’t you think so too?

Photo Credit : Google Images

Source: Above Whispers

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