Should a Man Take on a Woman’s Surname After Marriage?

Lately there has been a movement occurring when it comes to marriage. Instead of the standard tradition of where the woman takes her husband’s last name, men are starting to take their wife’s surname instead. It’s definitely not something you hear about every day; however, slowly this movement is making its way to possibly becoming the social norm.

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Despite what many people think, taking your husband’s name did not come from the Bible. Instead it was a Eurocentric tradition that displayed the man’s ownership of a woman. Women were viewed as property and in order to be properly transferred to the next owner, her surname would have to change to his. Though this tradition was or has not always been practiced and reinforced. In places such as Italy, it was common for each person in the marriage to keep their surname. Their children would be the only ones who would take on the father’s name.

For many men, they probably don’t think it’s a good idea to take their wife’s surname. It can seem emasculating, or appear that he is weak. But it’s truly the opposite. It takes a strong, secure man to make such a decision, especially knowing all the flack he’s going to get because of it.

Some people feel however, that a man taking his wife’s surname is equally unfair. Why should he have to take on her name? If it’s unfair for her to take his name then it should be the same thing for him. Some people feel it’s a double standard if a woman refuses to take her husband’s last name and forces him to take hers. If one person feels as if they are losing their identity by taking their partner’s surname, then the situation needs to be reevaluated until a joint solution is decided. You don’t want to start the marriage off with any sort of hidden resentment.

A marriage is a relationship that should be equal and filled with compromise. This should include whether or not you both decide to take each other’s surnames of not. Ultimately if you want to take his surname because you are comfortable, then no one should make you feel bad or lecture you about it. The same goes for your husband as well. If he wants to show to the world that he is “Mr. *Insert Your Surname*” because he loves you that much, then that should be his prerogative. It’s only unfair if one person feels forced to take the name because it’s “tradition.”

If you and your husband are currently undecided about what to do with your surnames, there is a solution. The most fair and logical choice would be to incorporate both of your names. For example, if your name is Smith and his is Taylor, your married last name would be Smith-Taylor. This will display that you both feel your names and identities are equally important and display you are both all about an equal marriage.