To Change Or Not To Change Your Name

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beach wedding couple
The married name versus maiden name conundrum.

Since I got engaged early last month and began planning a wedding for this summer, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be hitched. As someone who already lives with her husband-to-be, I wonder just how much marriage will actually change things, whether I'll wake up the morning after the wedding feeling any different. I've also been thinking a lot about what kind of wife I want to be, what it means to be a "good" wife, and how — if at all — being a "good wife" could compromise my identity or personal needs and interests.

I don't feel a pressing desire to "prove" to myself or anyone else that I won't change, that I won't compromise anything, because at some point I'm sure I will. (Isn't compromise a big part marriage, after all?) But I'm also certain that while bits of my identity are bound to shift, just as I would expect them to with any big life change and new perspective, the core of who I am will remain the same. No new name, white dress, ring on my finger or any other traditional convention is going to change that. For better or worse, I am who I am and I'm pretty solid in my identity. So when I read a column in the Guardian recently by Abigail Gliddon, a woman who claims "when a woman takes her husband's name, she surrenders her former identity and adopts his," I wondered how she came to have such low expectations for other women.

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