The topic of name change stirs up a lot of emotions. To change the name after marriage or not to change it? Opinions are divided, but most married women take their husband’s last name. This is not only a Polish peculiarity. This is the case almost everywhere. The custom, which has its roots in the Middle Ages, has grown into our culture very strongly. In the Middle Ages and long after, there was no choice, but now we have three options: spouses can take their partner’s last name. Each of them can stay with their current name. Finally, spouses can opt for a two-part surname. Which option to choose?
Barbara Kurzeja of the Registry Office in Katowice, has no doubt that despite the change in women’s mentality, tradition continues to win out. “I am the lucky one who has an incredibly interesting profession. I am present at such important, happy decisions. The one concerning the change of name is not one of the easiest. However, from my observations, it seems that a significant number of ladies adopt the surname of their chosen one. If I were to evaluate it by percentage, only 15 percent of women remain with their surname,” – says Barbara Kurzeja.
Changing marital status, not changing myself
Why do some women choose to stay with their name? The reasons are many. From, let’s call it, identity: why should I be the one to change my name. After all, I’m just changing my marital status. I do not become my husband’s property because of this. People have known me since I was born under my name, why should I change it. By getting married, I am not changing myself. This is my personal brand. I worked for it for years.
Name as a personal brand
– I am a public figure. In my profession, a recognizable name is a “must have”. To stand out, to be “clickable,” to be on the wave. I love my husband the most in the world, but I made things clear from the beginning. Changing my name would be the worst thing I could do to myself. I like my name, I appreciate what I have achieved, and I wouldn’t trade my name, in life, for any other. For me, it’s like crossing out everything I’ve gained so far. The decision was a conscious one, and I am grateful to myself for it. Who would I basically be without my name? Such a change must be really strange,” says one well-known blogger.
change your name after marriage
This option is chosen by the majority of Polish women. Many don’t even think about it. This is an obvious choice for them. This is what my grandmother, mother, aunts, sister did. They don’t know anyone who would do otherwise. They assume that taking the husband’s surname is an absolute combination. Creating marital unity and community. For them, it’s not only a sense of an incredibly strong bond, but also of strength and belonging. If the symbolism is very important to us, we should stay true to ourselves and our beliefs.
I'm proud of his name
Anna, 25, can’t imagine that she could not take her husband’s last name. She believes it would be disrespectful on her part. She is proud of her husband’s name.
– All my life I have dreamed of this moment. I have always known that I wanted to take my husband’s last name. Getting to know my partner only confirmed this for me. Now I feel that we form a unity. I proudly bear his name,” says Ania.
Those women who want to change their name after marriage also think it will be easier. Yes, they have to change the documents once, but after that many things will be easier. And then there is the issue of children. What name would he have had if Mom had stayed with hers. How to explain it to them?
a golden mean exists
In a situation where we don’t know what to do, the right thing to do seems to be to adopt a double name, and this is an option that has been gaining popularity recently. It allows to satisfy both sides. The woman is not erasing her identity, but marking a change in her status. Both sides should be satisfied.
– In fact, there is a noticeable trend toward two-part surnames. Then we don’t cut ourselves off from our roots, while at the same time marking a significant change and respect for our new role in life. There is also the option for a man to take his wife’s name. I, however, remember only two such cases in my career. – Barbara Kurzeja says.
Let it be your decision
To change the name after marriage or not to change it, is a significant, sometimes touchy and sensitive topic, but above all, very individual! The most important thing in all this is one thing. Let it be a decision made in harmony with yourself. Our decision. Not mom, grandma or future spouse. Besides, some things simply need to be matured, and after all, changes in life can be made even after years – name changes too!