In my last post (which was only like, three hours ago), I talked about the hassles associated with changing my name after I got married two years ago. Everybody who commented had interesting and funny things to say, so you should probably check out their comments. Dingo asked a really good question which I didn't think to address in my last post, so I figured I'd answer it in a new post rather than writing an abnormally long comment on my own post.
Dingo asked, "why change your name at all?" It's a fair question, and my answer is based entirely on my personal feelings and not on how I think others should act.
I always assumed that I would change my last name when I got married. To me, personally, it's important that my whole family (as in, me, Mr. Darling, and our future kids) have the same last name. I like the idea of being a "unit." "The Darling Family," as opposed to, "The Family of Tova Sweetness and Mr. Darling."
Frankly, I think I would've been willing to accomplish this in any number of ways. In fact, one of my ex boyfriends had a terrible last name that he was teased for when he was young, and he said more than once that if we got married, he wanted to take my last name. That would've been fine with me, but he turned out to be a huge liar, so it was a moot point. I've also heard of couples who have combined both of their last names into a new last name. (Darling + Sweetness could've been Sweetling or Dartness, for example.) I think that's an interesting option, but it would've been significantly more hassle and confusion than just changing one last name.
Personally, my identity wasn't much tied up in my maiden name, so changing it wasn't too hard for me. If I'd been a famous author, a high-powered executive, or a celebrity with my old last name, I may have felt more reluctant to change it. I know a woman who earned a PhD and was published in several respected journals before she was married, so she didn't want to lose her last name or any of the respect she'd earned with it after she got married. I totally respect that, and I think it makes sense. Some people feel that the last name they were born with is a huge part of who they are, and I respect that. It's just not how I felt.
I know that for some people, a woman keeping her own last name seems like a feminist issue. I don't see it that way. The only reason I was born with the last name Sweetness was that it was the last name my dad was born with. Either way, my last name would've been the one I'd gotten from a man in my life. My dad is one of the most amazing men I've ever known, but when I married Mr. Darling, I chose to take his last name. If you think about it, the vast majority of females in this country have the last name of a man who is (or was) significant in their lives. Their father, their husband, or (if they were given their mom's last name) their maternal grandfather. Unless I decided to up and create a new, original, and utterly fantastic last name for myself, I was going to be sharing my last name with a man who loves me, and I thought it was special and significant to share my last name with the man with whom I'll be sharing everything for the rest of my life.
Now it's your turn. Did you take your husband's last name or keep the one you were born with? If you're not married yet, what do you plan to do? And why? Weigh in! (Come on, it's not like you're doing anything else important on a Friday afternoon.)
Just so we're clear, and for the newbies among you, my last name has never actually been Sweetness or Darling, those are just pseudonyms - but how awesome would it have been if those were my real last names?