Opinion by RyleeGregg
Historically, a woman’s life consisted of finding a suitable husband, marrying him and taking his last name, and then maintaining his household and raising the children. In more recent years, so many things have changed about a woman’s life. We can have our own careers and support ourselves, so our whole life doesn’t have to be a quest for the right person to marry. That being said, why hasn’t the tradition of taking his last name changed with it?
The origins of women taking their husbands’ last names can be found hundreds of years ago. In fact, the name change was a symbol of the woman going from being a part of her parent’s family to being her husband’s property. I know that it has long ceased to mean this, but I don’t like the idea of taking my future spouse’s last name based on this frankly offensive tradition.
As a result of this, many choose to simply keep their own last name, but I’m not a fan of that idea either. The good thing about the tradition of name change is that it’s a public symbol of the union that has just occurred. If both partners keep their last names, it seems that the marriage is already off to a divided start, whether that’s true or not.
For these reasons, I love the idea of hyphenation. Neither of the newlyweds is sacrificing more than the other, but both are changing something about themselves. Furthermore, their names are quite literally joined together, which is a fantastic symbol of a fair and balanced relationship. Compromise is key in any partnership, and hyphenation accomplishes just that.
Changing your last name should always be something you and your partner choose, not something done blindly based on an archaic societal norm. Marriage is a new beginning to a chapter of your life, so it’s worth discussion and compromise to make the union what you and your partner want.