Lindsay and Nate on their wedding day. (Credit: Love Me Do Photography)
This year was a defining year for me. I was lucky enough to marry the love of my life. But, with this new and exciting transition came a new question. Should I change my maiden name?
I started to search for the answer to this question in the most typical of places… the Internet. What I found was a lot of opinionated traditionalists and feminists with biased viewpoints. What I wanted was an objective view that helped me make my own decision for my own reasons.
So I turned to my family for advice. My family is filled with amazing women, who trend on the left side of feminism, but are still willing to consider all sides of an argument. My aunt Evie (who full disclosure, did not change her last name) helped me understand the logic behind her own choice.
Evie grew up as one of three close-knit sisters. Sharing a last name with them had become a major part of her identity. When she married my Uncle Jeff, she still strongly felt that her clan was her sisters. Now, two decades later, Evie and Jeff have three amazing children, and that has become her new clan. She identifies herself first as part of her immediate family unit, and secondly with her sisters. While she hasn’t changed her name, and all of her children carry her maiden name as their middle names, Evie says there are still times when she would prefer to share her husband’s last name.
My other aunt, Jo, kept her maiden name for the first ten years of her marriage and took her husband’s last name as an anniversary present to him. I love the romantic aspect of this story, but keep in mind that this could potentially confuse your coworkers.
There are a hundred reasons to change your last name, and there are a hundred reasons not to. What these women proved to me is that life is fluid, and your opinion may change, so take your time and make the right decision for you at the right time for you.
Whatever you decide (or don’t decide) the most important thing to consider is what makes you happiest. That may change from time to time, so listen to yourself and reassess as necessary. For me… I’ll revisit the topic when/if my husband and I have children. In the meantime, I’m just as happy using my maiden name or my married name, despite the fact that I am still legally named Lindsay Cook.