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Why I Said NO to a Name Change After Marriage

Name change after marriage
Independent yet happily engaged at the Mycenae archaeological site in Greece.

Women, it is an option to keep your last name…

“Have a good summer, Ms. Marshall!” my students hollered as they poured out of the class and into the sweaty summer hallway. One boy, Aiden, stopped short at the door. “Wait,” he gasped happily, “next year you’ll be Mrs. Whatever-Your-Husband’s-Name-Is, not Ms. Marshall, right?”

“NOOO!!” I shrieked, face flushed with emotion.

Poor Aiden nearly dropped his bright red backpack. “But you’re getting married, aren’t you?” he asked, befuddled.

“Yes,” I bellowed, “but I am NOT changing my name!” My sweet seventh grade student looked shocked.

The ancient, vibrant colors of the temple at Mycenae, Greece have been lost... like a woman's name can get lost when she marries and takes another name!
The ancient, vibrant colors of the temple at Mycenae, Greece have been lost… like a woman’s identity can get lost when she marries and takes another name.

“That’s possible?” he gulped.

YES, humans of the world, a woman does NOT have to change her name when she gets married.

In my case, there are several strong reasons why, even though I adore my fiance, I am keeping my name.

Here’s why:

1. I don’t feel like changing my name.

Feminism is about choice, and I choose to spend my time doing things like, you know, making a speech with the Mayor of Boston, or writing 800 more articles, or uniting Education Bloggers to transform teaching, rather than doing weeks of paperwork to erase my former identity.

This map shows Mycenae, Greece (circa 1900 – 1100 BC). Only a few walls are left. What is left of the online empire of a businesswoman who changes her name?
This map shows Mycenae, Greece, circa 1900–1100 BC. Only a few walls are left. What remains of the empire of a businesswoman who changes her name?

2. Altering my name would be terrible for my business.

Currently, if you Google my name you will get pages and pages of articles by and about me and my Teaching-Traveling-Writing-Speaking career. I am proud of each and every one of those articles, and have worked hours every day to build up this online empire. Should a businesswoman with an extensive online reach really throw that all away? I refuse to.

3. My partner loves and respects me, no matter what my name is.

I praise the Earth and sky for sending such a phenomenal man to be my partner: a man who not only created a rose petal scavenger hunt for our engagement, but who has also never once made me feel guilty or wrong for my choice to keep my name. THANK YOU, open-minded men of the world!

These walls in Mycenae, Greece hold history, as does my name.
These walls in Mycenae, Greece hold history, as does my name.

4. Changing my name would make me feel sad.

No matter how you slice it, the person who has to change their name gets the short end of the stick. If I were forced to do it, I would feel insulted, disrespected, and depressed. Instead, my partner and I will create a loving, wonderful family based on equality, communication, and mutual respect. And that makes me happy!

So what are YOUR thoughts after reading this article? If you changed your name or plan to change it, what are your reasons? If you kept your own name or did a creative name merge, tell us why, and how it went!

Click here for more photos and articles from our Greece teacher tour of historic sites. For our two secrets on how to save money on a wedding, click here!

Interested in the many facets of marriage? Check out “What to Say to Someone Going Through a Divorce.”


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Thursday 2nd of February 2023

This post is so powerful. I married right after law school and became professionally known as my married name. 6 years later, I divorced, and even though I had no children at the time (which brings additional considerations), I did not want to disrupt my career nor my life (credit cards, acquaintances, passport, drivers' license, etc.) by changing my name. Plus, I had grown to identify myself by my "new" name - not by my maiden name. Some 16 years later, my daughter's father has questioned why I didn't change my name back. I love your commentary on how it is our choice (and there is no wrong one) and observation that we take the brunt of the whole situation.

Lillie Marshall

Friday 3rd of February 2023

Kat, Thank you so much for taking the time to share this view of the topic! It is our choice indeed! Sending you my best.


Friday 21st of July 2017

I've been married less than three months. This is my second marriage and the first one ended many years ago. When I was married the first time, I took my husband's name, and when we got divorced I went back to my real original name, vowing to never change it again. My new husband and I had this conversation and we decided that we would both keep our original name, but add the other one's name after so we kind of match. He is Charles S. A-L, and I am Marla L. L-A. I am proud of my heritage and he is proud of his. We are happy with our new names and our new marriage. It was interesting reading the other replies.


Sunday 23rd of July 2017

So cool! I love all the creative options, too!

Danielle V.

Monday 20th of July 2015

I changed my name when I got married. I didn't have a strong attachment to my maiden name. My husband is Hispanic and I am white, so it does sometimes confuse people that I now have a Spanish last name. Ha! I once had a Fed Ex guy look at my signature, look at me, then say, "You married to a Spanish guy?" I laughed out loud. Anyway, we now have two kids, one looks more like me than the other, so I'm glad for safety sake and clarity that we all have the same last name.


Monday 20th of July 2015

That does make a lot of sense in that situation.


Monday 20th of July 2015

I am German and married to an American. I wanted to keep my name out of sheer laziness and to keep my family close in a way while building a life abroad. But my hubby asked me to take his name in a more commemorative way than when he proposed so I couldn't say no. :)

I did not have a middle name and moved my maiden name into that always empty box and happily became Mrs. X.... I was also a tad paranoid that Immigration would somehow scrutinize the validity of our marriage more if we had different names. All is well, no regrets and the paperwork wasn't that bad... :)

Oh and... unwanted ghosts of the past can't find me that easy on social media :)


Monday 20th of July 2015

Ah, all good reasons!

Malissa Key

Monday 15th of September 2014

I believe in the union of marriage between male and female. To me marriage is a oneness separated only by the personalities each one brings to the relationship.

If, being united as ONE, what is the problem with taken on your husbands last name; it can be hyphenated with yours also. I guess I am just to old fashion for most people. I don't believe education, beauty, money, and social statuses should play a part in this if you got marriage.


Tuesday 16th of September 2014

Thanks for sharing your perspective!

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