Guys of Reddit: Would you marry someone who would not take your last name?

I'll preface this by saying that all my responses are framed within the sort of Anglo cultural tradition that I'm assuming you and I grew up with in the U.S. an Australia. I know different cultures (Asian, Eastern European etc) do it differently.

Gosh, this seems to have started a whole... thing. It's just an idea, you know? I'm not claiming it as fact.

I get that, but it kind of is a thing from a lot of women's perspective. I think the idea of a woman becoming Mrs. Husbandsname doesn't sound like a big deal to men because it's always been a given that one day if they married a woman that the woman would take his name. Things rarely seem like a big deal to the person they don't affect. For a lot of women, giving up a surname and taking on an entirely new one is a hugely emotional step - positive or negative - it is changing a part of yourself. Something that the male party in the relationship doesn't have to do.

People have such wildly varying ideas about what a marriage actually constitutes, that it's hard to talk about this. To me, in part, the name change represents a union of sorts, sure - but more realistically, it seems like maybe a woman would only want to go through all that if she were really really sure of her future with this person and were 100% committed to the idea.

I guess my response would be to take a step back and view the name change in a historical context. The tradition of adopting the husband's name comes from a time when a woman's rights were subsumed by her husband upon marriage. Called "coverture", the legal definition was: "By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage...". This essentially placed the woman in a position of being, at best, almost a child under her husband's guardianship and, at worst, a possession. Married women could not own property, could not declined a request for sex (i.e. spousal rape wasn't a thing), among other things. This was until the late 19th Century - so, not very long ago in the grand scheme of things. This was a very dark time to be a woman.

Obviously, women have it a lot better these days and we no longer live under coverture (at least in Aus and the U.S.) and I don't doubt that you'd treat any partner well and as an equal - but, as women, we grow up knowing this history, knowing there was a time when if you and I married I would have been your possession. So, when you say, "it seems like maybe a woman would only want to go through all that if she were really really sure of her future with this person and were 100% committed to the idea", you're kind of saying "It seems like if you're not willing to symbolically acknowledge that you once would have been my possession, then I'm not sure if you're really 100% committed to marrying me". In that context, to me, it's kind of a bizarre thing to demand of a person, and kind of a bizarre thing to hold dear as a tradition.

You wanna know something else silly, that you will definitely disagree with, that I can't really defend, and yet I honestly feel? If a woman wasn't willing to change her name to mine and I went along with it, I feel like I'd kind of lose face. At least a bit. That's how I'd feel about it, at least. I am simply being honest here.

That's cool, I appreciate your honesty :)

But yeah, I do kind of disagree. I know that women taking their husband's surname is common, so you probably would stand out for not doing so - but I don't think that should really be a reason not to do it if it was important to the woman you loved.

My sister-in-law didn't take my brother's surname when she married him because she's a prominent physician. All her patients know her as Dr. MaidenName, all of her certifications have been issued under that name and, most importantly, she has been published under that name. Both she and my brother are well respected professionals in their respective fields, and I honestly can't imagine someone meeting my brother and thinking less of him because his wife doesn't share his surname. Their daughter has his surname.

I also am not really a fan of hyphenated names. It seems... I don't know... in a bitchy way, I can say it seems a little half-assed to me. But that, too, is a little silly, to have an opinion on something that does not affect me whatsoever.

I'm not a fan of hyphenated names either, but not because I think it's half-assed. On the contrary, I actually think it's a sweet collaboration - kind of like saying "we're in this together". My opposition to them is just because I think they're a mouthful - and also because my surname and my fiance's surnames rhyme, and it would sound terrible :P

Despite all of this, when I marry my fiancé I will take his surname because the alternative - keeping my own surname - isn't much better. It's just trading my fathers name for my husband's name. One man's name for another man's name. One patriarchal naming convention for another. So I wouldn't exactly be smashing the patriarchy by keeping my dad's name.

I like the idea of name blending, but our surnames would sound crap. A friend with the surname "Parker" married a guy with the surname "Hill", and they blended them into "Parkhill" which I thought was nice.

The other thing people do is adopt an entirely new surname together, but that doesn't really tickle my fancy.

I am enjoying conversing with you on the subject. Even though you disagree, thank you for not using your anonymity to insult me.

Yes, me too! I think it's very interesting to hear different perspectives.

/r/AskReddit Thread Parent