According to an article from USA Today back in 2009 by Jillian Berman, it was reported that 70% of people who were asked in a survey, agreed that a bride should take her husband’s name because it was beneficial to them when getting married. That was from responders who agreed either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ to the question. So that left 29% of the people asked in the poll, which was issued by the American Sociological Association, saying that it was better for the women to keep their own name, while 1% had no preference.
Even with the high percentage of people agreeing with the Bride taking on a name switch, there is actually no law or religious dictate which says that it has to happen. It is simply down to personal choice and interestingly, the other option didn’t crop up at all. The other option that would be available is the Groom taking on his Bride’s name. That’s not as common as the more traditional route, but it happens. The most common reason that it happens is simply that the Bride’s family name may just be more suitable for them. It is also a huge commitment on behalf of the Groom in making such a huge gesture to his betrothed.
It’s not unreasonable to assume that some men may be as uncomfortable with their last name, just as a women could be and is simply looking for a switch. Another reason would be perhaps the Groom feeling that it would be more suitable to take his wife’s name if children are being planned. Whatever the reason, it of course would leave the man having to use his “maiden” name in certain circumstances. While this is isn’t a common thing, if it happens, the man would need to officially change his name after the wedding, just as a woman would have to do, and that starts with the proof from the Marriage Certificate.
Going back to the survey, the general trending reason for those agreeing that women should change their name, was because of uniting the marital family identity, while those on the opposite side of the poll suggested that the main reason for a woman not to change her name through marriage, would be to maintain a professional identity, or simply to maintain a degree of individualism. Interestingly, there was no separation between older and younger women when it came to changing their name, both baby boomers and the younger generation of Brides were just as likely to change their names.
Traditionally, the Bride’s name was changed because of being seen as the ‘property’ of the man and in doing so, they would become one entity and as often with tradition, it is a topic which goes undiscussed between engaged couples. While the status quo is for the woman to change her name, it doesn’t have to be that way. It is not liberal to not do so either, and even though almost 50% of the respondents in the poll went as far to suggest that the Government should mandate name changes for women, you have the freedom to choose what best suits you. It’s just a personal preference at the end of the day and it is a topic worth discussing before the big day comes along.
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