My husband took my last name. Here's why
Last month, Zoe Saldana made headlines when news broke that her husband made the choice to take her last name. It caused all kinds of questions, and a brief flutter of controversy. But I could relate—my husband took my last name, too.
When I met Ben, a former classical musician, he was playing in a concert series of Schubert pieces. Pretty convenient, since my last name is Schubert, too. One of the first things his mother, also a musician, said to me was “What a great name! Never change it!” I wasn’t sure if that meant she liked me, or that she didn’t want me getting any ideas about sticking around (I quickly learned it was the former. Phew!) But I honestly didn’t give it much more thought.
Cut to a whirlwind romance, living together, adopting a kitty named Dexter, witnessing the birth of his (now our) nephew, and countless holidays spent lazily happy. Then in May 2014, a little over a year after our first date, Ben got down on one knee in front of the Washington Monument and thirty curious tourists and asked me to be his wife.
In the months that followed, amidst wedding planning, a full-time job, and graduate school, what his mother once said kept creeping into my head. It was really important to me that both of us, and any children we may have, share the same name. Growing up, my older brother had a different last name than the rest of us, and while I never heard him complain about being assumed as, or lumped in with, “the Schuberts,” it was something that always stuck out to me.
Ben and I agreed that hyphenating wasn’t right for us. Would it be so bad if Ben took my last name? I have a career with this name, published under this name, and have aspirations to higher degrees with this name. It seemed to matter more to me than it did to him, but still, I was afraid to even mention it. It just isn’t done.
I once worked for an amazing woman who told me a few simple words that I have come to live by: “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” She taught me to speak up for myself, be heard, but must importantly, that my desires and opinions are just as valid as anyone else’s.
So I asked. Ben will be the first to admit he was a little confused. But very true to my husband’s personality, he took the information, thought about it, and a few months later came to me and said, “Ok. I’d like to take your name.” After getting over the initial shock, and navigating a sea of naysayers, confused family, and surprised friends, we had a beautiful wedding and an amazing honeymoon. Upon our return Ben changed everything over, taking his previous last name as his new middle name. And everything went smoothly, aside from the lady at the DMV who confusedly asked her co-worker (while holding the marriage license and new Social Security card with his new name in her hand) “Can he do that? Can he take her name?” Yes. Yes he can.
Glenna Lynne Schubert is a Coca-Cola, sparkly shoes, and cinnamon roll enthusiast. She is an avid fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald, deep tissue massages, and writing about women’s daily lives. You can find more of her musings on her website (glennalynne.com) or twitter @glennalynne.
Today in awesome: Zoe Saldana’s husband took her last name
[Image via iStock]