In the past, it was common for women to stick with tradition of changing their surnames to that of their husbands once they got married. During those times in the Nigerian setting, a man whose wife gives birth to just girls would be sent packing because her husband believed that the girls would grow up to take another man’s surname and his would go into extinction. The birth of a male child in African homes, including Nigeria was well-celebrated, much more than how a girl would be celebrated because everyone believed the male child would sustain the family.
As the world evolved, many things changed, and bearing family names is no longer held in high regard because women had begun to think differently, putting away old traditions that didn’t mean so much, including sticking with her surname even after marriage.
Women have more options than ever before: Take his name. Keep your own. Hyphenate. Create a new name altogether. It has also become common among professional women who have successfully built a successful career for themselves, and in turn their names have become enviable. To change or not to change? Which is proper?
Here are 3 major truths you should know about name change:
You can change your name without hurting your career
You’re a successful career person and everyone in your network knew you by your birth name and surname. But now you’re getting married, and you think it’s going to be a blow on your career. Truth is those who you deal with will still know who you are whether your name changes or not. Your business associates will not stop doing business with you. Your contact does not change, your office address doesn’t either. To make things more professional, you can take things further by issuing an official public communication to announce your name change.
Alternatively, you can include your maiden name to the new surname you’ll be taking. This is becoming more and more common, as people would be able to identify you in the event that you also make alterations to your name on your online profiles.
Keeping your name doesn’t mean you’re not committed to your marriage
Unless a name change is what determines a successful marriage, keeping you name doesn’t affect your marriage. You might find people saying, ‘what’s the point of getting married if you’re going to keep your name’? If you feel more comfortable keeping your name, and your spouse is not bothered by it, then you should go for it. Changing your name doesn’t mean the love you had before getting married would be sustained. It also doesn’t mean you’re not committed to your marriage like a few people that still hold on to tradition would think.
Taking your spouse’ name doesn’t mean the death of your independence
For many women who have built a career for themselves, they might feel threatened to take their spouse’ surname because they believe it might mark the end to the freedom and independence they had. A name change doesn’t affect your freedom or independence. One thing you must realize is a name change is used just to signify unity, and it’s simply used to identify you and you husband as new family. It doesn’t change who you are, it doesn’t limit you from doing what you used to do, unless you have a spouse or thinks otherwise.
You should know that whatever you choose, you’re likely to run into some critics. But, hold your ground! A name change shouldn’t be so much of a big deal.
What’s your take on the never-ending name change debate?