Thursday, December 13, 2012

Marriage, taking his name...

Yesterday I went to pick up a prescription (birth control) and had a little trouble with the pharmacy lady. First she said I didn't have a prescription to pick up, then she said I had one but my insurance was expired. At that, I realized that I had just cancelled my old insurance and jumped onto Andy's new insurance. (Side note: his new job pays for my insurance and it's great insurance. Score!) So I gave the pharmacy lady the new insurance card. The insurance card has Andy's full name on it and the back of it says family members are also included, meaning me. I explained that to the lady when she asked if my name was Andy.

The pharmacy lady entered the new insurance info into the computer and came back to let me know that she had also gone ahead and changed my last name. What?! So I told her, "no that's incorrect we have different last names". So she drilled me.
"Well are you married?"
"But you have a different last name?"
"Yes. I never changed my name."
"And you are sure that you are on his insurance?"
"Yes, I can call my husband if you'd like me to."
"Hmm, well I think you have to use his last name to be on his insurance."
"What?! No, I'm sure I don't."
"Let me go call the insurance company."
"Yes, please do. They will have my name on file."

All the while I'm furious thinking this whole interaction is ridiculous. Since when does a woman have to take her husbands name just for the sake of being on his insurance?

The lady was gone for a while. Finally she comes back and rings up the total for my birth control. She says nothing about the insurance. When I inquire about it she says, "Oh yeah, you're fine."

How frustrating! Andy and I never decided not to change our names it just kind of happened. When we looked into changing our names after getting married it seemed like too much of a hassle so we never did it. (DC laws for changing your name are extensive and ridiculous.) Since then, I have been very happy that I kept my own last name. I am an independent woman despite being married therefore I have my own name. I wear a wedding ring and hold strong to my marriage vows, so there is no need to share his name as well. This is how I view it, but sometimes I feel judged for keeping my last name. I'm sure there will come many more times when this is an issue, I just have to remember to hold strong. Nowhere does it say a woman must take her husbands last name, so it's not a crime.

How do you feel about this? Did you take your husbands last name, or keep your own. Why?


  1. I'm not married, but my parents didn't change names when they were married. My mom has (unfortunately) been married several times and she has done everything except have her husband take her name exclusively. She took her first husband's name, went back to hers after their divorce and kept it when she married my dad, hyphenated with my first step-dad, and after he died has come full circle with my current step-dad having taken his name. I should ask her about her feelings about it now that she's been through all of that.

    My personal perspective comes from having been given both of my parents' last names. Growing up with a hyphenated name was challenging. I always felt like I had to explain myself. My name never fit on standardized test forms. And I was a very shocked 15-year-old the first time someone asked me if I was married. I get a lot fewer questions about it now, though I guess people just assume I'm married instead of asking. After all that, I was adamant that when I got married I would take my husband's name (unless it was totally awful somehow). But then I had a baby. She has my name. Now, if I change my name I'll have to consider what effect that will have on her. Do I change hers too? If I leave hers alone, she'll have an even MORE complicated story to tell to explain it than I did growing up. If I don't change either of our names, and I have more kids with hypothetical husband, will they feel excluded by just her and me having the name(s)? All that to say... I simply don't know what I'll do when the time comes.

    1. Sorry, I am just seeing this now. This is a great response! These have all been things that I have questioned as well. I would think now that you have a daughter, you two are a family with a family name. If you marry someday, he should take your name or keep his own. It would only make sense...just my opinion though. If Andy and I have children some day we will run into the same issue. I think about it sometimes, but have resolved not to worry about it until it actually happens. :) Thanks for commenting!