What do I call you now?

When you get married there are hundreds of questions you get asked all the time. And one of them is, will you change your name after marrying?

D and I talked about this a lot. Neither of us had very strong views on who should take who’s name, we knew didn’t want a double barrelled name, and we wanted to have the same surname should we ever have children.

I remember as a young girl thinking, I can’t wait to not have this surname, I had a strong dislike to being called Kearly. Like who knows why I was so opposed to that nickname, I mean curly whirly’s are delicious, who wouldn’t want to be likened to a gooey caramel chocolate bar. I guess being teased, or laughed at can impact young minds and start associating nicknames to a different feeling entirely.

But as I’ve grown older, and lived longer on the earth, I have become attached to my name. My parents gave me this name, my brothers share the same surname, and together we are a close knit tribe. So now the thought of not being part of that group anymore makes me a little sad.

Since well before the 1800’s women’s surnames were chosen for them, from birth they were given their fathers surname and only after marrying were they to take their new husbands name. And most of the time they were unable to choose if this happened, and not until 1970 when feminism really kicked into gear was it socially acceptable for a new bride to keep her maiden name.

In my lifetime it has become more common for women to keep their names, or in very least hyphenate their surname and new partner’s name. A colleague recently got married and she refused to change her name as she worked really hard and obtained a PHD in her maiden name and didn’t want to give that success up and become a new identity when marrying. And I have to agree with her. If I were a doctor I too would want to keep that success securely attached to me.  

I doubt changing your name has ever been a smooth process, and back in the old days there were no emails or smartphones, so maybe it was easier, I dunno. I’ve had a Gmail account for more than 10 years and there is no easy way to change the address except to create a new one, and do know how many additional accounts or profiles are attached to my email? Yea, me neither but I’d guess it’s upwards of 50 or more.

I have 33 years of being a Kearl and creating that identity, so as you can probably tell I’m not too keen on erasing my life before marriage.

We made our decision purely on if we have children and what name they will take. D’s family line will stop with him as he is the only male in his family and he is the only chance for their surname to continue on. As I have two brothers, the chance is higher on my surname continuing, so made a bit of sense to go with D’s surname.

I am not quite ready to take on a new surname. When the photographer from the local paper was at the wedding in Orange, she asked me what my name was and I still said Rebecca Kearl. D looked at me with a smirk.

I am in no rush to start changing over my name on official documents, do you know how much passports cost? It’ll all happen as things expire, which feels like the easiest way to address it. I’ll get around to changing Facebook at some stage. We had a laugh, D will change his marital status when I update my surname, ha ha so that could be a while.  

Taking on the role of a wife is already a new identity for me. So let me accomplish that first and then I’ll figure out how to become R.A.S.

Did you change your name?

How easy was it to agree to what your new surname would be?

Peace out for now


Photo credit: Erfan Ghasemy capturing exactly how petal confetti feels hitting your face

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