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Taking His Last Name Versus Hyphenating Your Maiden Name…How Much Does It Matter?

Marriage can be such a beautiful thing! But realize that there are a lot of behind the scenes processes that aren’t as glamorous as the ring and the proposal. Major life decisions are involved like buying a house, deciding prenup or no prenup, joint bank accounts and MANY other factors. 

For the ladies though, there’s one decision that should be made alone…and that’s if she wants to keep her maiden name or take her new husband’s last name. Even though it should be her decision to make, many men are voicing their opinions about the matter with some men saying they would be offended if their future wife wanted to keep her last name.

Historically, women were forbidden to keep their last names under the premise that once married, the couple was viewed as “one person” by law. That one person was the husband, whose identity superseded his wife’s. He was the only one who could vote, hold property, pretty much make all of the decisions. It wasn’t until 1972 that the United States made it legal for women to use their maiden name after marriage.

These days, a woman not taking her husband’s last name is still viewed as abnormal in the US. According to research, 90% of American women still take their husband’s last name at marriage, and 50% of Americans think it should be illegal for a woman not to take his surname. 

Not looking beyond the cultural or sentimental reasoning, some people truly believe the man should get the honor of “giving” his last name. It’s not “just a name,” there’s a change in identity that can come along with it. Imagine being of  Haitian descent with the last name Berthelot and marrying into the Johnson family. Your name alone used to signify your heritage, but now your name speaks as though you’re American. Imagine not feeling like you’re still apart of the family tree because your parents, brothers, sisters, cousins all have the Jackson last name except for you. And don’t be a Daddy’s girl and think he will be totally supportive of you taking away his last name. Whew, chile!

So what’s the best decision? Whatever YOU feel is right…and whatever sounds better with your first name! What do you think about changing last names after marriage? Are hyphens not enough? Speak on it!

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