I need something easier to discuss today. Do you wanna join me I read this tweet last week and it made me laugh.
At the same time as I laughed, I also thought: YES. This is so smart !!
I have said this about married names for many, many years: if the goal is equality and fairness, choosing a new last name for the new family you are going to marry is the most sensible option.
If it is not clear, I will say that it is fairest and most equal if you Not Choose a spouse’s last name Not Dash and you Not keep separate names. Instead, you work together to choose a new surname that none of the spouses have used before – just like hopefully you will work together to choose a name for your child if you ever choose to expand your family.
The reason why I think it’s the fairest and most equivalent is that you can choose a name that doesn’t have luggage for either of you and that doesn’t favor one or the other family. You can think about what your hopes and dreams are for the new family you are starting and name them accordingly. You, your spouse, and your potential future children can all have the same name as a unified team, without feeling compelled to do something that sometimes feels like a political statement. Well, at least until your kids get older and decide to choose a new name for the new family they want to start. 🙂
I am aware that this idea would make genealogy a total mess, and I am not trying to get you out of my family history fans. I am also aware that very few people like it when I refer to this idea (hah!) So you do not have to worry that it will become popular. I’m just saying that if you try to be objective about a family name, we would all avoid a lot of fear and drama if we worked with our spouse to choose a name that we both love and that we have no connection with of our birth families.
I should also note that this advice makes the most sense if you and your spouse are both young and have not set professional names for themselves. On the other hand, I’ve seen professionals change their names in the middle of their careers without any negative effects. So maybe it doesn’t matter?
Tell me, dear reader. If you had to give your current immediate family a new name today, what would it be? What would you choose And what about your kids? If one day you followed this idea and chose a new last name that has nothing to do with your last name or the last name of your spouse, would you agree? Or does the idea make you uncomfortable?
P.S. – This idea of naming a family came to me not long after the birth of Olive (our third child) when we were married for 6 years. Six years later, I was still irritated by the name change and the undisputed social conventions and wrote an essay on it. It was back before blogs and I had nowhere to share this essay. I wonder what happened to it. I also wonder if I would have thought of this idea before our wedding. Would I have persuaded Ben Blair to do this? Or at least tried to persuade him to do so?
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