Katherine Rosman, at , wrote a piece about not changing her name when she got married and it got a bundle of responses, including a few clips below.
Where are you on this one? Do you believe in changing names or think it’s open and up to the individuals? Any pastors out there have a policy in place?
Two weeks ago, I wrote about my decision not to change my name upon marrying nine years ago, noting: “I did not appreciate what a symbol my last name would be for the way married people feel tousled among different identities.”
This column generated a torrent of email. These letters were deeply personal, passionately argued and totally revealing of the many facets tied to what we call ourselves. Many letters deserve printing. Here are snippets from just a few….
There was a contingent of women who shared stories of their decisions not to change their names, including a number who married decades ago and were disheartened that the issue remained an issue at all.
“I could think of nothing more unnatural than changing what I called myself when I married at 20, and I still feel exactly the same way now at 52,” wrote Jeanne Maire of West Sayville, N.Y.
Quite a few women also wondered whether I played down the feminist angle too much when I wrote that my clinging to “‘Rosman’ was hardly a sign of matrilineal dominance. It was my last name because it was my father’s last name.”…When Matthew Glinn of Harrisburg, Pa., married his wife, he told her he was not comfortable with her changing her name to his because he felt it would reinforce “the notion that women are inferior to men,” he explained in his letter. So he and his wife combined letters from each of their names and created a unique surname, which they both adopted. “To me,” wrote Mr. Glinn, “it seemed a logical way to handle the situation since marriage is, if nothing else, a melding of two into one.”…
“When two people marry, they become a couple, a single entity! And a single entity does not go by two names!” he wrote, before adding, “your obsession with your identity is misplaced, overwrought, selfish and small-minded.” (Mr. Schroeder and I have subsequently corresponded. I’m officially a fan: I like a person who speaks his mind and isn’t afraid of an exclamation point.)…
A bunch of readers similarly suggested that my reticence to change my name could be interpreted as a lack of commitment to my marriage. Ramon Estrada of Mission Viejo, Calif., wrote, “I don’t think your husband will EVER feel you are 100% his (not literally, of course, but emotionally), by retaining your maiden name. I wouldn’t if my wife did, then again, she wouldn’t be my wife. How many marriages do you know of that have worked out where the wife made this same selfish decision?”