In my life, I don’t believe I know a single woman who has kept only their last name after getting married. Maybe I’m just young and immature, but I don’t believe that I would ever want to change my last name.
Marriage is the joining of two people who love each other to be endowed to one another for life, but why does that mean I have to give up my identity that I have lived with my whole life? I grew up in a large family who spent pretty much every waking moment together. I’m extremely proud to be a part of this family and to have people recognize that I am in this family. I don’t understand why I should have to give that up whenever it is something that I am proud to define myself by. Maybe that is selfish of me, but I can’t understand why I would want to give up the name that binds me to my family.
I could just be jealous of my family however. I have over abundance of male cousins, and out of all of them, only 4 do not have the same last name as me. Needless to say, my father’s parents had a lot of boys and only one girl. I don’t understand why all of my cousins get to keep that defining factor of themselves but I, just because I’m a lady, have to comply and give up my last name to be connected to whomever I marry if I ever do. My last two cousins who are male, are from my mother’s side of the family, where my Papa was blessed with three daughters, all of which changed their name after being married. I don’t judge my aunts and mother for changing their names, I actually respect them for having this extreme courage to change their last name to another. However, now my mother’s maiden name has almost become lost in space. My grandma and papa passed away when I was very young, so my mother’s maiden name is still on this earth, but it isn’t as present, and I wish it was, but that wasn’t my choice, so I cannot change it.
Whenever I’m with my parents, I always say that “mom you could have hyphenated your last name”. She always says “I could have, but I’ll always be a Carroll at heart” and my dad always says “yeah but now you’re a Gaul”. This is a little irritating because she grew up with her maiden name that I’m sure she was proud of, I wonder why she never kept it, but that was her choice. I would gladly accept both my father and mother’s last names because I can’t see how someone can all of the sudden be defined by a last name that they did not grow up with. This means becoming defined by a family you are married into one whom didn't mold you into who you are. You know this family and are a part of it, but you will never fully “know” this family. They did not help you and love you all those years in life and mold you into you.
If marriage is in fact a union of two people, why can’t the two people both have to change their last names, not to one or the others almost as an “ownership” of someone? I don’t mind hyphenated last names, but why do both spouses not change? For example, in the case of my parents, have my mother and father both have the last name of Carroll-Gaul. I have always looked at my last name as a part of my heritage and held it very close to my heart. I wouldn’t want to give it up because it has made me who I am today and I wouldn’t want to trade that for any person I plan on marrying. No matter who I marry, if I do, I will always want to be recognized as a Gaul, whether hyphenated or fully, I will always want it to define me.