General Question

essieness's avatar

Men, would you ever take your new wife's last name?

Asked by essieness (7693points) April 9th, 2009

Traditionally, the woman takes the man’s last name. However, I recently got in touch with a guy I know from grade school who took his wife’s last name when they got married. Apparently, the family name was going to end with her, so he took it to keep the name alive.

Guys, would you do that? Ladies, would you want your husband to take your name?

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67 Answers

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

my boyfriend and i have talked about it. he hates his last name.

Dog's avatar

I have a very good friend whose new husband took on her last name.

He was not close to his family due to drug abuse and they have now been married nearly 20 years. He took the name because he felt more like he was joining her family than she was joining his.

DeanV's avatar

So did Jack White of The White Stripes did that…

But I see no reason why not.

Lefty_the_space_monkey's avatar

Or, everyone could just hyphenate.

After a few generations, everyone has 10+ syllable last names! It would be too fun!

Horus515's avatar

I grew up with a strong identification being placed on my family last name and the idea that, being a man in my family means carrying on that name. Its old-fashioned maybe but I would never consider taking my new wifes last name. And I certainly wouldn’t allow my son to have anything but my family name.

Jack79's avatar

I believe that there should be one rule for everyone within a society. That way you can trace back family lines and so on. It would make a lot more sense if the woman always gave her name to the children (and husband), since she has traditionally been the one to stay at home and raise the children (whereas men could in theory come and go). It was also self-evident that she was the mother, whereas even today the man would need a DNA test.
In modern societies (with divorces and single mothers) we also have the paradox of a woman having two children from two different fathers, neither of whom will share her own name (if she decided not to marry either of them or just kept her maiden name), whereas a divorced man can remarry and have children with the same name that have never even met each other.

There are some societies where property, name and lineage are passed on from mother to daughter, and men are seen as appendices to those families. It makes a lot more sense as a system.

But to answer your actual question, no, I would not accept that if I was the only one doing it. But I would be willing to do it if everyone else did it too, or vote for some sort of change in legislation if it ever came to that.

There is a woman I know called Kerry Grist. She has two children, one is called Ben Needham (you may have heard of him, he went missing 18 years ago) and the other Leighanna Ward. Both children have the same father (Simon Ward), but since she was not married to him when Ben was born, he got her maiden name (Needham). Leighanna was born after she got married, so she got her dad’s name (Ward). And Kerry remarried recently, meaning she now has her husband’s name (Grist). So one mother, two kids, three different surnames. And they don’t even have a different father.

eenerweiner's avatar

I recently got married and never even thought about him taking my name. In fact I couldn’t wait to change my name to his, but my last name was a little long and unusal and I always had to spell it for people. Had he wanted to take my last name I would have went along with it, if there was a good reason.

wundayatta's avatar

I didn’t. I would have considered it, if asked.

As it is, we both have our original last names. The kids use mine.

essieness's avatar

@daloon After marrying and divorcing once (and going through the name changing crap twice because of that) I’ve reconsidered whether or not I would change my name when I get married again. What was your wife’s reasoning, if I can ask?

Randy's avatar

I’m the end of my family name so with that in mind, no.

ShauneP82's avatar

No. I really think its silly. Granted we live in a society where the feminazis get their way with anything, including the man taking the womans last name. That does not make it anymore acceptable to me though. If it were for a noble cause I would have considered it. But I am not the type to do something just because society says it is only fair for the opposite sex.

essieness's avatar

@ShauneP82 Feminazis? Harsh.

ShauneP82's avatar

@essieness yeah sorry about that.

cwilbur's avatar

I am unlikely to marry a woman, so the question is largely moot for me.

I do know two men who got married and briefly entertained the thought of exchanging last names.

In the end, though, each couple needs to do what works for them, and not really worry about what genealogists or ‘feminazis’ (charming word choice, that, and very revealing) think.

wundayatta's avatar

@essieness She had a professional reputation under her name, and I didn’t care. In fact, I thought she should keep it. I think that if she’d wanted to discuss whose name the kids got, it might have been an….. interesting…. conversation. I could see every other child getting a different parent’s name (so long as mine was first), or male children getting my name and female children getting her name.

@ShauneP82: you might want to do a little research before you run around showing off your antidiluvian prejudices. There are many naming customs all over the world. In some places, it is standard to take the woman’s last name. In Brazil, it can be common for the man to take on the wife’s surname.

asmonet's avatar

@Horus515: Ha, what makes you think you’ll have a say in what your adult son would do?

ShauneP82's avatar

@daloon I would appreciate you not trying to down-size what I have to say. My opinion is just as valuable as everybody elses. I simply choose to be a little more sarcastic with my words. DEAL OR GET! If I choose to research on something before I respond I will do so. Not you or anybody else will tell me different. If you don’t like it come find me.

asmonet's avatar

Don’t we have an attitude today?

Horus515's avatar


Well when my son is an adult he will make his own decision. I meant now that he is 7 months old I wouldn’t allow his mother to give him her name instead of mine. I’d have to fight that I think.

TaoSan's avatar

sure, why not?

I do it whenever my bills run up too high ;)

ShauneP82's avatar

@asmonet I apologize to you and everybody else. But when somebody tries to flex their intellectual muscles on me they can expect some sharp tongued comments. Immaturity, can really be fun. It can only get worse if they try to bounce back with something else. Like I said I do apologize to you.

cak's avatar

In my first marriage, I kept my name and hyphenated when I was signing both of our names to something.

In my marriage now, there was never a question, I changed my name to his name. I was happy to take his name.

Edited to add:—I really have to stop hitting answer before I am finished! I actually joked with him about adding my name – one time, but it was a no-go. He was called by my maiden name, several times, just after we got married. People that I started (recently) doing more work with, assumed that was his last name, not mine. He just rolled with it. I had fun with it, but no…it was his last name that was meant for us.

wundayatta's avatar

@ShauneP82: it’s not your opinions that bothered me, but the way you let your opinions mislead you about the facts. The fact is that “feminazis” have nothing to do with name selection practices in this country, or any other. If you have the facts wrong, I generally let people know whenever I catch it, usually in a tone reflective of the tone the comment was made in. I think that, In this day and age, with the internet and all, if you get your facts wrong, it does not reflect well on the utility of your comments.

ShauneP82's avatar

@daloon Okay. I can accept that. Thank you.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

No, but only because it sounds funny.

laureth's avatar

The spouse and I had this talk. He was not receptive, but that’s because he is a “the third” (like Joe Smith III). And, frankly, I’m not terribly close to my family, so I was looking forward to taking a new name anyway – and it doesn’t hurt that I get along pretty well with his family, too.

Alternatives: My Maid of Honor got married, and they each kept their own names. Girls will get hers, boys will get his. Also, another couple I know ended up blending (not hyphenating) their last names. (Like Erikson + Goodwin = Goodson.) That seemed kinda neat, since they’re blending into a new family.

drClaw's avatar

I have a long last name that is hard for people to pronounce and would not have been hurt if my wife had chosen not to take, in fact I tried to talk her out of it a couple times simply to save her the trouble of having to spell it every time someone sees it.

However despite my annoyingly long last name I would never give it up. I feel a connection to my heritage through my name and the thought of loosing that is too much.

flameboi's avatar

nope, i mean, she can keep hers and I will keep mine and we will live happily ever after :P

casheroo's avatar

My husband would never have gone for that, he’s the only male, with the last name, to carry the name on. Anyone in the world, with his last name, is related to him in some way. Our son is now the next generation, and he has his father’s last name. my husband does have an uncle, who is still having children, desperate to have a boy…
My last name is super common, but I love it. I couldn’t give it up. So, I just added my husbands last name to hypens. I also kept my middle name, because it’s a family name and I wanted to keep it. So, I have one long name lol. I can go by either last name, since both are still considered my last name..but I try to say my husband’s last name, but I still forget.
I have quite a few friends whos husband’s took their last name, it’s different to me, but if it works for them then why not?

SpatzieLover's avatar

My family surname would have ended with me. My husband took my last name and a year later we produced a son….


RocketGuy's avatar

My wife didn’t change her last name when she married me. I did not expect her to, since names come with histories that should not be forgotten. Also, she is an architect and some of her stuff had her name on it, so don’t want to lose public acknowledgment of her work.

Same goes for me taking my wife’s name. My name has its heritage, and my designs and patents have my name on them.

_bob's avatar

I’d gladly accept to be called Mr Bob Bellucci.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t want to put down what you have to say, so please don’t take it that way…I cringe when I read that you think (even if this is true, which it isn’t) that feminazis (a term I hate) getting ‘their way’ is somehow a problem but the sexist nature of our society that makes no one question WHY in the world would anyone (but more specifically women) want to give up their family name in favor of the man’s name they’re marrying…if a man, in the above question, wants to change his name to his wife’s name, it is not proof of those ‘damn crazy feminists’ taking over, it’s proof that he did what he wanted to do…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would have no problem if my husband wanted to take my last name, it’s his decision…he didn’t by the way…but neither did I take his…my last name is Russian and long, so my son has his father’s last name, but it has nothing to do with the whole ‘hey you, with a penis, you carry that penis and sword and the name of our family proudly’ thing

_bob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I was gonna say, no offense, but your name is kinda hard to pronounce. Also, kids shouldn’t play with swords.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

lol, speaking from experience?

wundayatta's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Oh dear. Now I want to see your last name, just to see if I can pronounce it (I was was a Russian Studies major in college).

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Jack79 There are some societies where property, name and lineage are passed on from mother to daughter, and men are seen as appendices to those families. It makes a lot more sense as a system.

I agree, makes a lot more sense. Particularly because this is traditional to my culture (not that it is followed any longer because it isn’t) so perhaps I am a bit biased.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

it’s all mocked up, thanks to the embassy…it’s Kolychkina, but it should be Kolyshkina

Benny's avatar

No, but she didn’t take mine either.

Zaku's avatar

Generally no, but if I were crazy in love enough to be marrying, and for some reason I could accept, it were needed, maybe.

ShauneP82's avatar

Okay! Wow. You guys are digging way to deep into my feminazi comment. Personally, in all honesty I don’t care if/why people would take their wife’s last name. If it is customary in another society okay…great!!! Go nuts. The mere fact so many are getting bent about that term is evidence enough for me that our society needs to learn to laugh a lot more.

You know…laughter…hahaha? Smile everybody! We are talking about taking a wifes last name. Hey, that great. Sheesh so serious, you guys.

wundayatta's avatar

@ShauneP82: at fluther, we often put a tilde (~) after a joking comment to indicate it is meant ironically. It’s just hard to know when a person is joking, online, if you don’t know they really well, and I certainly don’t know you well at all. From what I’ve seen of your comments, the “feminazi” thing fits in pretty well. Maybe you’re joking all the time. It’s hard to know, unless you show your real opinions first, and then launch into the uncharacteristic things. It can’t be funny unless it is going against something already established. What you are doing right now, it seems to me, is establishing a rather prejudiced, conservative character. Is that not you?

You will find that many of us really enjoy humor—

especially when it’s funny.

Bah dum bum!

ShauneP82's avatar

Wow. The things I don’t know about proper computer etticate. A ”~” means joking. Damn @daloon your full of all sorts of good information. What else do you know?

I don’t claim any character. My perspective on many things changes like the tide. Besides the ”~” will be very helpful.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I laugh at the things I consider funny
which are not always things you consider funny
sorry about that

ShauneP82's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir No thanks. I’ve got enough. :P

Horus515's avatar

People get touchy around Easter…I think its cause Jeebus is gonna hide easter eggs around our houses and try to put peeps in our butts.

Horus515's avatar

Or at least thats how I understand Easter…

ShauneP82's avatar

@Horus515 Thanks? Wahahaha!!!

Zen's avatar

I don’t know about wife… but recently BlueFreedom and I have hooked up.

I have taken his last name, and I call myself (in the real world) Zen Freedom.

asmonet's avatar

He’s cheating on you with me, Zen.
Tough luck, hard cheese.

asmonet's avatar

You really love that song. lol

benjaminlevi's avatar

Cruella de Vil made her husband take her last name because she was the last of the family.

oratio's avatar

Absolutely, I would love to have her name if thats what feels best for both of us. If that would make her happy, that’s the name I want.

But why not create a totally new name together that is only yours.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

My cousin took her husband’s name but after a spat with the husband’s family and out of pure snot faced malice, hypenated her last name and her husband’s and actually paid to get her, her husband’s and their twin’s names changed even thought that money could have gone to much better things.

Now they all have a 14+ letter last names when they have to fill out any forms. It amuses me greatly.

I wouldn’t take anyone else’s last name, unless it would give me cool initials and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to take my last name.

Aster's avatar

I know a man who took his wife’s last name and then a hyphen and he is the Biggest Hen-pecked Wimp. She rules the roost and he rakes in the cash. It’s ridiculous. He never spoke a word until he married this broad and now he’s, “yes, dear; whatever you say, dear.” G!

RocketGuy's avatar

@Aster – very sad, this guy.

silvermoon's avatar

I’m not male but… I used to work with a man who took his new wifes last name. He was always asked why but never gave the reason.

Aster's avatar

@silvermoon He didn’t want to admit she insisted on it.
@RocketGuy You mean he’s sad or do you mean he’s in a sad situation? Because he doesn’t appear sad to me. They live in Seattle, have lovely things and most importantly, two adorable little girls !! I guess a job with MSFT is pretty secure? He went thru school a National Merit Scholar and she may have been the only woman he dated.

RocketGuy's avatar

I meant sad situation. I see it as one party having much more power in the relationship than the other. That can’t be good, long term, but if he seems happy then who are we to judge?

CherrySempai's avatar

I absolutely adore my last name, so I would love for him to take it. I’ve already decided that if he doesn’t have a better last name than mine, I’m not changing. I might be okay with one of those apostrophe (including both of our last names) names, but my last name is long enough as it is.

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