Changing names

Breaking news . . . . women are taking a more traditional approach to marriage and increasingly adopting their husband's surname after getting married.  

Surname trends "comes and goes" and we have seen until recently a swing towards women keeping their maiden names.  Some women had quite strong feelings about not changing their name as it was seen as giving up their independence's and not wanting to “belong” to someone else.  However, others were eager to change their names to acknowledge to others they were married . . . these women were very proud of becoming “Mrs Smith”. 

One problem that arises when the woman keeps her maiden name is what surname to give the children – do you hyphenate the child’s surname, use dads name or mums? This can become quite messy.

Interestedly changing ones name is not universal, many cultures do not do this at all. For example in Scotland, until the 20th century, married women kept their maiden names, but today the practice of changing to the husband's family name is the norm.  Women, by law, keep their names in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Chile, Malaysia and Korea.

From a biblical view - even though the bible doesn't instruct women to change their names when marrying, these verses below give a strong case to why Christian women should consider it:
  • Genesis 2:24  “. . .  a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” - therefore sharing ones name honours this oneness (one flesh).
  • Ephesians 5:22 ". . . submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord " which includes sharing his name and taking on this new role as wife.  It certainly doesn't mean that you loose independents or freedom.  
  • Matthew 19:6 "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." Changing your name indicates that you are making a permanent, life-long commitment to your husband, and will henceforth be identified as being inseparably linked to him.  We should be very proud of this union which can be demonstrated through the sharing of  a surname.

Were you eager to change your name when you got married?


  1. I definitely wanted the world to know I was married! And I MUST be addressed as Mrs - not Ms! Ugh!

  2. I kept my own name ~ & yes I feel strongly about that. My Dearest has a difficult [by Aussie standards] name of a culture to which I have no ethnic or cultural ties & to me it felt like lieing to claim something to which I am not entitled by blood. Weird but that's how I felt/feel. Dearest was actually really happy for me to keep my own name as he can use it for things like phone orders as mine is easier to say & spell. The children, who carry their father's bloodline, also carry his surname. No hyphenates here! ☺

    These are issues that have nothing to do with *one flesh*, submission, cleaving but with a Scots heritage I was aware that Scottish women traditionally kept their own name. Incidentally, so do the women from my husband's ethnicity. Interestingly our surnames are only used on legal documents so are hardly ever used & for us, at least, of very little importance. Many in our community, who are quite aware we are married, are completely unaware we have different surnames. It also prevents confusion with my MIL.

    I find it fascinating that women are returning to an essentially English custom & see it as *the Christian thing* to do. Thanks for sharing this, Jo.

  3. I was VERY happy and eager to change my name - I am proud to be my husband's wife and wanted everyone to know it! I'm very glad to be Mrs, and like Bets, I hate "Ms" - it's the ultimate modern reminder that we live in a time when no-one has the courtesy to discover if you want to be "Mrs" (some companies and people just call every woman "Ms"), and others choose it because they have no regard for marriage or the honour of being a married woman - or they're in a de facto relationship, which we all know is sin anyway...

  4. Wow...I feel ignorant. I did not know that there were so many European countries where keeping your maiden name was the norm.

    We were having a discussion about just this sort of thing the other day at my in-laws. While I happily took my husband's name, it is a rather awkward thing at times, as people assume that I am a Marvin, when indeed, there is no actual Marvin in me. While I do not mind sharing my husband's name, it does bring into questions about whether or not names actually represent your identity or not.

    Most women in the States do take their husbands names, though as we marry later, this is changing. After all, if you are a doctor, or a lawyer, and have been practicing for years under your maiden name, why change?


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