My Wife Didn’t Take My Last Name
My wife, Berna, and I are rapidly approaching our 2-year anniversary, which is making me contemplative. We’ve done a lot of things in our relationship very differently — some things differently from anyone else we know. For example, Berna didn’t take my last name, and I also didn’t take hers, nor did we blend them, nor did we keep our own ‘maiden’ names.
Wait. So, what other option remains?? Berna and I actually chose a new last name for both of us to share.
At the time we made this decision, we were the first people we knew who did this. Since we’ve anecdotally heard of just 3 other couples in ‘My aunt Ellen’s friend Sue’s nephew’ sort of stories. This was a highly unusual choice. So, why did we make it?
Well, first let’s talk a bit about decisions in general.
The idea that what’s right for me may not be right for you is becoming more widely accepted. At the same time, the options I have are often the same options you have and if I think I’ve selected the ‘best’ of those options for myself, it can be hard to not think it would be the best option for you, too.
Maybe we would be more honest with ourselves if we would change our language and say ‘I believe everyone has a right to make their own decisions and I respect differences but I wish more people would make the same decision as I have because it’s worked out for me so well and I’m inclined to think others would benefit, too.’
At least, this stance would be honest for me in this circumstance of “who takes whose last name”. There’s nothing wrong with trying to persuade someone to make a given decision; it’s immoral only when we try to force something on someone else. So we’ll see if I persuade you of anything, or if you’ll read this only as a curiosity.
For Berna and me, me taking my name or she taking mine would seem as if we became the other’s property. Patriarchy hasn’t been a thoroughly awesome thing throughout the ages, but why would overcompensation to matriarchy be any better?
On the other hand, we concluded that we wouldn’t really feel as if we were truly joining ourselves together if we blended our names or retained just our own. We additionally thought it would be…