What’s in a surname? In these modern times, do we still follow the tradition of taking our partner’s name after marriage? We ran a poll to see what you thought … and were surprised by the results!

Stay or break with tradition

We asked NowBaby members if they had taken their partner’s surname when they married. We wanted to see if our members liked staying or breaking with tradition … and for what reasons. The results, as you can see, were very interesting:

Poll question: When you married, did you take your partner’s name?

Surname changing for women

Yes – a woman should 66% | Yes – only for the sake of my children 18% 

No – I wanted to keep mine – it’s who I am 13% | No – I didn’t like it 1%

The poll sparked a big discussion so we thought we would reproduce below for you to read. We would like to highlight that we omitted to include an option which a few of you would have wanted to vote for instead of the alternatives above – that you decided to take your partner’s name because you wanted to.

The answers should reflect this – and also are very indicative of the poll statistics.

I didn’t want to change my name

Many women these days are keeping their maiden name after marriage. Some do it to exercise their right as individuals and not the property of another man. Others do it because their surname forms an important part of who they are – it is their identity which they have had since birth. And some people just didn’t like their partner’s surname – why exchange a good one for an awful one?

A tradition based on women being property of men

I never considered changing my surname. It’s who I am. Also I feel that it’s a tradition that’s based in women being property of men, ie you are given away by your father (whose name you had) to your husband (whose name you take), and I didn’t like that idea. My husband refused to even contemplate changing his name to mine which wound me up even more. His family are horrified that I kept my own name and delight in sending cards to to my married name so I sometimes sign cards to them as being from the my maiden name. So far my two daughters have taken their father’s name because I thought it was less silly than mine (only just though!) but we might give our next child my surname just to even things out a bit. I don’t mind that other women take their husbands’ names, yet I find that a lot of them are threatened by the fact that I haven’t, eg my sister in law. Jill

Only if my kids were bullied

My name is different to my kids’ but I’d only change it if they were being bullied at school over it. As for the wedding name change bit – that won’t be happening! Tania

I’d never change my name to a fella’s

I’d never change my name to that of a fella. My kids both have my name even though my daughter’s father put his details on her birth certificate. He was happy for her to have my name. I think we both knew it wasn’t going to last and that he didn’t really care (he walked out two weeks after she was born, went out for nappies and never came back lol). As we said on another thread, though, if mum passes away we’ll take her maiden name. Alison

I chose to take my husband’s name

Many women these days choose to take their husband’s surname. It is still a large part of our culture, as much as white weddings and fathers ‘giving away’ their daughters to their husbands. It can be considered another way of proving your love for and commitment to another person. Of course, taking your husband’s name can help you escape from an embarrassing or plain awful maiden name, so it does have its aesthetic advantages too!

It represented a new beginning

To be honest, changing my name represented a new beginning as a married woman. I LIKED the idea of “belonging” with (not to) my husband and I also like tradition. I think some women read too much into name changing, etc. It’s not always all about women being under the thumb and being seen as someone’s property. It’s a tradition associated with marriage – that’s all! You could then argue that the wearing of each other’s rings also means that you are showing others that you “belong” to someone. This is true, and I like that, but some people don’t, so don’t wear rings at all. Dee

It’s down to the person involved

I didn’t consider not changing my name but I don’t think it’s something a woman should do. I think it comes down to the person. I wanted to take on my husband’s name so I did but didn’t feel pressured to. Sue

There are more important things to worry about

I took my husband’s name not because I thought women should – I took it because I wanted to. It hasn’t changed who I am. Both our children have our name as well. It’s not an issue for me – there are far more important things to worry about. Suzy

I love us having the same name

I changed my name to my husband’s when we married. I see it as my surname; I don’t know why but I love both of us having the same name. It’s never been about him owning me or anything like that. To be honest, I prefer what my name is now to what it was!!! It’s really a personal choice. Lisa

I did it because I wanted to!

I don’t believe women should have to change their name but I did. I didn’t do it for the children; I changed my name because I wanted to. Becky

I changed my name by deed poll before we got married

I changed my name before we got married to his, as he was still married and waiting for his divorce to finalise so had to wait before we could get married ourselves.  I didn’t like it when people assumed and addressed him as Mr XXX, which was my old married name.  When we did get married I legally already has taken his name. Debra

I don’t feel suppressed

It doesn’t bother me either way. I chose to take my husband’s name, mainly as it was the ‘done’ thing to be honest. I don’t feel in anyway suppressed by doing this. Erm… let’s just say my husband knows where he stands lol! As with most things in life, it’s a personal choice and I respect peoples choices whatever they may be. Linda

I hate Haite!

My surname is Haite and I hate it!!! I long for the day to get married and get shot of it! I have considered changing it but my Dad would be upset, so I’ll be a Haite until I get married. Nicola

It’s “right” to change your name

I just feel its “right” to change your name when you marry. It is old fashioned, but hey I’m an old fashioned gal! I don’t feel I’m my husband’s property – although he does sometimes remind me that I’m his Missus! Plus I think it’s important for us as a family to all have the same name. Sandra

I wanted us all to have the same name

While not taking your husband’s name might not have any ramifications if you are a childless couple, it suddenly can present a dilemma when children come into the picture. In your desire to keep your own name, how do you then feel about your children having a different surname to you? It can make women feel somewhat estranged from the rest of their family and it is often at this point that a woman takes her husband’s surname, if she hasn’t before.

Call me old-fashioned …

I changed my name to that of my husband when we married. Call me old-fashioned but the main reason we married (on our seventh anniversary) was because we both wanted kids and I wanted them to have the same name as both parents. Carol

I will take his name

I am not married but engaged. When my partner and I finally do get married I will take his name. My son has my partner’s name and so will the rest of our children. I would like us all to have the same name. Kirstie

I didn’t feel any pressure

I changed my name to my hubby’s because I wanted to. I didn’t feel any pressure at all. For us, it’s not traditional to take on a husband’s name but I did it anyway as I want all my family to have the same surname. I don’t think changing my name means I “belong” to my husband and do find it strange that some people think this. Rima

A suitable compromise

If you feel very strongly about keeping your own surname but don’t want to be separated from the rest of your family because of your decision, why not go double-barrelled? It seems to be a popular choice these days but it’s wise beforehand to consider carefully if the two surnames sound good together!

We’re considering going double-barrelled

Well, I’m not married and the baby is going to take both our names as I don’t see why it should have just my partner’s. However, if I were married I would take my husband’s name at the drop of a hat – because my surname is plain old Brown. I think it’s nice for the whole family to have the same name; we are both considering going double-barrelled as well. (Why not just get married?!) I certainly don’t think that women ‘should’ change their names on marriage, I think it’s a personal choice and I agree with Jillian’s dislike of the ‘male property’ idea. Alison