Why I Chose to Change My Last Name After Marrying My Wife
The archaic tradition of assuming a woman will take her husband’s name needs to stop
Before I begin, let me say this: I’m not a contrarian.
I mostly steer clear of talking politics, and I think protests generally don’t accomplish much. I’m fairly private, very flexible, practical to a fault at times, and highly aware of fairness. So it’s a curious exercise to write this — even more so, to feel like I need to write this — to explain my rationale about choosing to change my last name when I married the love of my life.
Yes, from now on, I’ll be known as Parker Chase-Corwin — the “Chase” being a very recent addition — and the decision feels totally right. It brings me great comfort and joy to look at my new last name and be instantly reminded that I now have the best person in the world for me by my side. It’s kind of like I’m Tony Stark revealing a new secret superpower: I feel stronger, more complete, more capable... and I’m proud to show it.
But, let’s face it: It’s an unusual decision. In just the few weeks since our wedding, I’ve met with more than a few quizzical faces when I’ve explained my decision. In the United States (as well as many other countries around the world), it’s still highly uncommon for a man to take all, or even part, of his bride’s name. Believe it or not, roughly half of Americans think it should actually be illegal for a wife not to take her husband’s last name. That last stat is likely a leading culprit in why only about 3% of American men make the choice I did, and why I now find myself intentionally (and rather surprisingly) part of a minority that probably also experiences the same reflexive question upon hearing my news:
Them: “Really? That’s interesting. Why did you decide to do that?”
Me: “Why wouldn’t I?”
While I answer without being defensive, I’ll admit to more than a little frustration with the status quo over a patriarchal practice so common and so assumed. So allow me to share a little of what I learned as we dove into our potential last-name options.
The tradition of a woman taking a man’s last name dates to the 11th century in old English common law. (Yes…