Photo: Getty Images
It's almost 2016 people, so rather than continuing to talk about whether women will or should take their husbands' names, let's turn the conversation on its head and ask instead: Is it time husbands take their wives names? "I think it's fine if both people are comfortable with it," weighs in Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. "I think there has been a societal shift in acceptance of nontraditional behavior.
Our definition of how we understand marriage in general has dramatically changed, and so the tried and true action of taking the husband's last name may not always be gender-driven now." But despite a growing number of nontraditional couples, relationship expert and advice columnist April Masini is quick to point out that there are still some people who wouldn't be quite so progressive. "Many men feel that their masculine identity is wrapped up in a wife and children taking his name," she explains. "When the wife disagrees with this tradition, there can be far-reaching consequences. Many women don't understand the implications of the name for men."
If this is something you want for your own relationship, Greer suggests asking your future husband to consider what changing his name really means to make sure he's ready. "When you're still connected to the family by your namesake, there's a separation that goes on when you change your last name," she explains. "Will your husband be comfortable with this emancipation?"
Masini also suggests using a conversation about changing names as an opportunity to discuss your hopes for the future. "It's a time in the relationship to think about what's important now, and to consider the future," she says. "If you're not sure he should take your name, take your time and keep the channel of communication open to regular and honest discussion about your hopes and fears for your name or names."
Finally, just as there may be men who aren't ready to make this jump, some of your friends and family may also be far behind this new way of thinking, and that's another thing to consider before your husband takes your name. "Most people may be taken aback and may not necessarily understand why you wanted to move outside traditional norms," Greer warns. "They may be curious, skeptical, and even judgmental."