Probably more than any other question, this is the one we get asked: Are you going to change your last names when you get married?
Traditionally, when a couple gets married, the wife takes the last name of the husband. These days, that isn’t always the case, even for straight couples. Being gay, there’s definitely no obvious answer for how to handle the whole name situation. There are no historical traditions or societal expectations. So it basically comes down to us just doing what we want. Josh could take my name. I could take his. We could hyphenate, or even merge our two last names together.
Josh and I are both very practical people and tend to look at these things quite logically. We also wanted a simple solution that makes sense. And in thinking through the matter, there are several things to consider. The first one is whether either of us even WANT to change our name. If both of us are intent on keeping our last names, then there’s really nothing else that needs to be decided.
An important factor for me is how it reflects our family. And I’m not talking about Josh and I’s extended families. I’m talking about me and Josh. Us. Sharing a last name communicates one unit. It communicates that you are a family, that you belong together. And when you have kids, they share that one name as well. I want that family unit. I want us to be a family, not just in relationship, but in name as well. I’ve also been told that, when kids come into the picture (and we definitely anticipate having kids someday), many things are easier when the kids have the same last name as both of the parents, especially for same-sex parents.
Because of Josh’s line of work and the connections he has made over the years, it would probably be counterproductive for him to change his name. He relies on name recognition and on people sharing his name to gain new clients. I, on the other hand, am in a place in life where a name change wouldn’t affect my career or really any other area of my life. I still have a year left of grad school and then will basically be starting over, career-wise. If there’s a good time for me to change my name, now is that time.
My greatest fear about changing my name was that it would send some unintended message to my family. I have an AMAZING family and I will always be a part of it. My name will not change that, just like my sisters’ names, should they choose to change them if they get married, won’t change the fact that they are a part of our family. There are also plenty of males in my family to carry on the family name, so no one should be worried about that.
You can probably tell where this is leading. And yes, after a lot of talk and consideration, I’ll be taking Josh’s last name. It’s still a little weird to think about, as I had never thought about the idea of changing my name, but it’s also exciting!
Time to practice my signature!