E shock you?😁
Caveat: Fairly long post.
So I suppose you may have been expecting me to refer to ‘your maiden name’ in the header rather than ‘your surname?’ That’s the point, it’s still your surname even if you choose to change it to hubby’s own. Like the records are clear to see. Including the most foundational of all – your birth certificate. Same way your marriage certificate lays the foundation to change your birth surname to your husband’s surname. This is assuming you wanted to eventually shirk hubby’s surname and go back to your birth surname. It may just take ‘swearing’ to an affidavit, making a newspaper pub and maybe a few fights with nosey third parties like your bankers. But I digress as that’s not the point of this write up…
So I know feminism sometimes is about ‘I shan’t gree‘ and belligerently proving a point. But it should not always be because wisdom has always been profitable to direct. Besides, who says you cannot achieve your aim without making noise? Consider Princess Meghan of the Prince Harry dynasty. Imagine she had played the feminist card – even though we all know she was self-accomplished ergo justified to do so – and refused to move to be with Prince Harry after marriage. Honestly, the media backlash on the rights and wrongs of her decision would have been a bit too much and distracting for the family. Besides, without that ‘submissive’ move would her Prince have been resolute to drop all his vestiges of royalty and relocate to Canada? We may never know the true instigator of that move. But bottomline, it pays to stoop to conquer as Meghan Markle did. Anyways…
So, the common resistance of feminists against name change is that ‘Oooo, I don’t wanna change the identity I have known for years all because of marriage.’ ‘I am already well know by that name’ etc. But perhaps, in making such assertions, they overlook the little issue that no one can ever remove your accomplishments from you simply because you changed your surname.
Have you considered that by building social capital with your husband’s surname, you are helping him to build his empire which is what marriage should really be about in’it? Building together.
Besides, if you are like me, that loves the idea of having another alias – you get the best of both worlds. Known by your birth surname in some quarters and by a new identity in others. Until people catch on…after a while. But it just drives home the point that people get to associate you with your husband’s surname without taking away the social capital you have built with your birth surname. I won’t say I am endorsing having a split personality but hey – for argument’s sake.
And yes, we all know it is a thing of pride and an ego boost for hubby when you start using his surname. Yea, I know many millennial men would say it doesn’t matter but darling – he’s lying! Especially when you are a woman of extreme value. It’s an add-on for him and helps his name to blow more. You, just change your surname to his and watch his unveiled excitement when he realises it. And you know the thing with happy husbands, you can press their mumu buttons easily – if you were into all that. Now, how is that not a win for whatever feminist tendencies you may have?
Name change helps your new family integration – married remember? You committed to leave and cleave remember? Need I say more on this? Besides, you don’t want hubby self-reflecting that perhaps if he had a Dangote-type name, you would have heartily changed your surname to his to curry favour with the name. This can trigger subconscious resentment that how different are you from a gold digger? Darling, it’s not wise to trigger resentment in hubby. In life, sensibly choose your battles.
Being a feminist or even a self-accomplished woman – particularly if you are vocal, is even a double edged sword. I kid you not, hubby and his clan would be watching your moves closely even if they say nothing. It’s very possible that because you are seen as a feminist, if you fail to do this simple rite of passage after marriage i.e name change, you would be seen as too difficult and they may subconsciously want to show you pepper. Never mind that if you were an obscure woman who simply failed to change her birth surname to hubby’s own, they may not think anything of it.
One of the more mundane reasons to change your surname to husband’s surname is to avoid having to shalaye to nosey in-laws and friends who bug you about why you haven’t changed it. Frankly, this was the least inspiring reason for me and I could probably have refused to change the name just to prove a point to people – in-laws inclusive – to mind their dang business. But hey, this is Nigeria and we know the standards society tries to impose on women. Anyways, this is probably not a consideration for a feminist.
So, what if you’ve changed your surname to hubby’s and he annoys you supremely? Do you need a constant reminder such as his surname to show you are yoked to him? Well, when your parents annoy you supremely, do you change your birth surname?! Next question please!
What are your options in doing this name change sef – let’s even say you are interested?
- You could opt to change your surname on social media fully to husband’s own without indicating birth surname: If you are into the split personality thing I mentioned earlier, this is attractive.
- You could change your surname on social media to husband’s own and indicate your birth surname: If you are worried about loss of identity, you could opt for this as any search with your birth surname would lead searchers to your new identity.
You could opt to do points 1 or 2 above without changing your birth surname legally. Not sure many men would like this but at least it’s better than nothing. The whole world knows your new identity and nosey in-laws and others can go to rest. After all, there’s absolutely no reason they should see your legal documents, to know you have only made a change in form but not in substance🤥🙃
In addition to either point 1 or 2 above:
3. You can choose to change your birth surname to your husband’s surname in your legal documents. The most straight forward change would be for your bank accounts when you provide your marriage certificate and (for oversabi banks) change of name affidavit + newspaper publication of name change. If you are still undecided as to whether you are ready to take this drastic plunge – for your government IDs like driver’s licence, national ID card and international passport – you could wait till the expiration window of the current IDs and then decide if you wanna change the surname upon renewal or maintain status quo. If you choose status quo, rest assured, no one can beat you – not even your hubby😉
4. You can choose to use a double barrelled surname i.e. your birth surname hyphen (-) your husband’s surname. Similar cycle with point 3 above. Would only add that you should talk to hubby before toeing that path to be sure he’s down with the idea. Mine was open to me retaining my birth surname but insisted that if I wanted to change to his, there would be no double barrel. A double barrel with my birth surname and his is not pleasing to the eyes or ears anyways so I wasn’t even inclined to argue that with him (choose your battles remember?). Anyway, the point is discuss with him first and don’t just assume.
How can you change your birth surname to your husband’s surname? In some cases, all you need is your marriage certificate, some would also request for an affidavit of name change (you can get this done at a court registry or by a notary public) while some overzealous ones would also request for a newspaper publication reflecting the name change.
What if God forbid, the marriage ends? Are you stuck with his surname for life? Your choice. You can retain it for life and he can’t even force you to drop it. Or you can go back to your birth surname.
Bottomline, it’s all your decision to make, and whatever you choose, own it with your full chest. But IMO, you have more to gain than lose in changing your birth surname to your husband’s own post-marriage even as a feminist.
Happy Val’s btw.
*image credit: http://www.google.com