Thursday, October 13, 2011

On Keeping My Maiden Name

I never wanted to change my last name.

I changed it, though, in 1997...when I married the first time. Interestingly and ironically enough, my ex-husband (Cade's dad) didn't seem to mind when I hesitated in taking his last name; however, my parents minded a great deal.

One would think my parents would've been, like: "Oh, Honey, we're so happy you want to hold onto our last name forever," but my parents are traditional folk. They encouraged me (strongly) to give up my maiden name so my ex-husband, any future children, and I would have the same last name.

I understood their reasoning; I did, and--in the end--I caved. I felt strongly against hyphenation and ditched my middle name, moving my maiden name into that center spot. I informed my ex-husband that any and all writing would be published under my maiden name. He couldn't care less.

I changed my name, and--every, single day for years and years--I regretted my decision.

I could try to explain, but I don't think reasons much matter beyond: in changing my name, I grieved my authentic self. My unhappiness had much less to do with marital strife than one might think. As in 0%. It was truly a matter of feeling like my name didn't match my soul. It wrenched my gut and broke my heart.

I'll never forget the day I resumed, officially, my maiden name. I wept with relief and joy: promised myself I'd never give it up, again.

My beloved wasn't thrilled, when I explained, and--to this day--he's less than enthused about our having different last names. But he knows I care more about keeping my name than he cares about my changing it. And he does care about my changing it; he just cares about me, more. (As in: he knows something would crack and break inside me if I changed my name, and he doesn't want that.)

There are three different last names in our household. Everyone has his or her dad's last name, and I'm the only person, here, with my last name. I'm not trying to sway anyone to my line of thinking. This isn't about anyone but me, and I'm satisfied. Deeply.

As to the biblical notion of leaving one's parents to cleave to one's spouse? Don't you worry about or over me. I'm cleaving! And while I'm at it? I'm joining, uniting, and becoming one flesh, too. 

I really, really love my husband.

I also really, really love my name.

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