It’s Independent Women’s Day and there’s only one question on our lips: when is the archaic tradition of taking someone else’s surname after marriage going to die it’s rightful death?
I know what you’re thinking, that society has come up with a solution for this already: double-barrelled names. And on some level you’re right; double-barrelled names have begun to put partners on equal footing in one aspect of marriage. But the BBC recently published a feature that suggests we’ve still got one foot in the past when it comes to the surname quarrel.
The article interviews two men that have taken their wives’ last names. Save your scoffing though, their reasons hold far greater depth than the act of pedantism they appear as. Wayne Harding took his wife’s name because they wanted her daughter from a previous relationship to have the same name as the rest of her family. Despite this act of modern heroism, Wayne’s father almost disowned him, his work claimed he was causing trouble and the bank didn’t have the foggiest idea of how to change his name. Ludicrous.
Wyn Tingley (previously Davies) took his wife’s family name ‘Tingley’ to stop it from dying out, noting that his common Welsh surname was likely to be around for a while. He subsequently encountered similar problems to Wayne, and even had to get a deed poll and “live with the name” for two years before his bank would officially recognise him as Mr Tingley.
There’s a quote in this article that underscores the 21st century thinking of these brilliant men.
Tingley said, “Despite the administration headaches and the occasional stupid comment, I don’t regret it one bit and would have done anything to make my wife happy. It was no sacrifice and it is a real pleasure to be Mr Tingley.”
What was important to him was simply making his wife happy, which was taking her name. But, maybe what makes you and your partner happy is actually taking just one of your surnames. Maybe what makes you both happy is going double barrel, or maybe you both want to stick with the names you’ve owned for longer than anything else in your life. The point is, it really doesn’t matter because as these two blokes have shown us, there’s far more you can give your partner than a second name…
Have you taken your partner’s name (male or female)? Has this proved a positive or a negative thing? Let us know!