A couple months ago I was having drinks with some friends and colleagues who I admire very much. They’re smart, educated women and total boss babes. The conversation arose about changing your last name – sometimes as wedding planners we make the assumption that brides will and it’s gotten us into a couple of awkward situations. As the conversation progressed, we discussed the various reasons why someone might not take on the groom’s name, these reason ranged from cultural beliefs, to a dislike of his last name, hyphenating names, changing your maiden name to your middle name to accommodate his last name, using alternative last names and I’m sure there were a few other reasons. But the one that really stood out was “because you just never know what might happen”.
I said “What!? Isn’t that like getting married with one foot already out the door?”
Photography: Samantha James Photography
To them, it seemed like common sense and smart thinking. But ever since that day, I simply cannot help but think that maybe this is what is wrong with so many marriages, they already have an escape route in place. There’s an easy way out, they won’t even have to humble themselves and admit failure because their name won’t change, and no one really has to know. White pages, Facebook, Linked In – your whole public identity never even needs to know. I’m finding myself coming to the age where I actually have divorced friends and acquaintances, and some I didn’t even know of because they never changed their Facebook names but maybe they never legally changed their names at all???
The real issue here is not whether you should make a relationship status “Facebook official” or not. The point that really like to consider is how much of yourself are you willing to give to your partner? This also is not a debate about whether it’s antifeminist to change your last name. I believe that women are strong, should be business owners, think for themselves and have rights. No they don’t need to stay home and keep a tidy house, taking care of only the kids and reverting back to 1950s housewife status. But this is all about whether or not you’re willing to fully, completely, 100% give yourself to your partner. You give all of yourself, regardless of whatever might happen. Because if you’re not, I’m afraid that this marriage is a recipe for disaster.
I can’t even fathom the idea of getting married if I had any doubts. I wouldn’t do anything without putting my all into it and I think that sense of determination needs to also be approached with marriage. Marriage takes humility and work. Compromise becomes a huge piece of the puzzle. Yes, you will find little pieces of yourself slowly dying off, having to bend to someone else’s needs and at some point you may feel like you’re “loosing yourself.” But in that fact, something else has been born. There’s a new person that would have never existed without the marriage relationship. And this is someone who is not alone. At this point you belong to something greater. Two have become one.1