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“Your last names are different, are you sure you’re married? Really?”  and , “Could you send us a copy of your marriage license?”

Really?!  In this day and age, the credit union my husband and I were trying to open an account with actually asked this. After an unusually long review period. And we with an excellent credit rating and a marriage of many, many years.

All those years ago when I was in college, I decided to keep my last name if I married.When asked about how  my future husband might feel about that, my response was that if he didn’t approve, he was probably the wrong man for me to marry. I met the right guy, he said ok, keep your name, and that was that. What we did do was take each others last name as a second middle name. Hence, I was Patricia Carlson, I became Patricia Allingham Carlson.


Are you married? Did you change you last name when you did? Good for you. Great choice for yourself. Did you hyphenate your two names? Great! Did you make up a new name for both to use? Fine! Did you keep your name? It’s all fine.

Why would anyone care? Well they do. Still.

I guess the old school thinking was about possession. I’m talking here of the traditional man/woman married union. As in the one married had become the responsibility of the other. At some point it became a badge of honor as well, as in, “I got the ring, I got the man, I’m now a Mrs. Smith/Jones/Allingham,”. Then there also was the passing along of a family, a clan name, and the inclusion into that clan. Ok. The joining of two families under one single name to become one new family, also fine. Of course, it was usually the man who got to keep his name, the woman who changed hers to his.

As one of three daughters in an extended family with daughters of the sons, no one would be carrying on the family name if they married. I formed my self identity with the name I was born with. Though I married into a fine family with a great last name, that was not my identity. And there was already a matriarch named with my given first name.


My first year of marriage I was asked by my boss- in a nasty way- why I even bothered to marry my partner at all if I was not going to change my name! Why not just live together? As if that is all that marriage entails!  If you are married, you know that it means so much more than just changing your name!

So, here in this time, 2016, it is astounding to me that my name choice would be of any interest whatsoever to a financial institution. In fact, being together and filing taxes for so many years together, why would we even need to be legally married at all? But we are- no matter what our names are.


To be perfectly clear- I don’t care how you resolved your names if you married. I don’t care which gender you chose to marry. I respect all choices as being right for different individuals. The main thing is that you united your lives, and that you respect each other and yourselves. Isn’t that about it?

Have a fine day, Mrs., Miss, Ms., Mr., Sr.,Mssr., All-