My husband and I married nearly eight years ago on a warm September day. The wedding was fun but after the last glass of champagne had been drunk the real work of being married began…
I spent the first few weeks of my newlywed life standing in lines at the social security office, spending hours on hold with insurance companies, going back and forth to the bank signing paperwork, wasting an afternoon at the DMV and spending money I hadn’t budgeted for to expedite a new passport. All so I could change my name.
Changing your name. The ultimate confirmation of marriage. It seems so romantic, right? A symbol of unification between husband and wife. In the time before our wedding my (now) husband and I had the “talk” about whether or not I wanted to change my name. He was supportive of whatever decision I made. He had no expectation that I would take his. I could keep my name, hyphenate, we could both change our names to a new one, or he could take my name.
After much deliberation I decided to take his name, and for good reason. I grew up with divorced parents and when my mother remarried she took the name of her new husband. I always hated growing up with a different last name than my mom. Because of that experience I knew I wanted my future children, myself and my husband to all have the same last name. A solid family unit.
Even so, I still had strong reservations about changing my name but I went ahead and did it anyway.
It was a hard transition for me. I felt as if I had abandoned myself, my past and my heritage. It took years for my married name to feel normal. Like somehow I was masquerading with a name that wasn’t truly mine. Over time, it gradually started to become more and more my own.
But now that my husband and I, through a long struggle with infertility have decided not to have children, continuing to use his name for the sake of family unity seems superfluous. So, after a lot of thought and contemplation on the subject I have decided to start using my maiden name again.
Fortunately, I didn’t fully abandon my birth name. I tagged my maiden name onto my middle name when I filled out our marriage license. That means I can still legally use it.
I have to say though, I have grown to love being a Lembcke. My husband and I get to put ourselves out there as a united team. I love how we share that personal part of ourselves. But I also look forward to forging my professional life under the banner of my given name. To create a reputation of my own, unattached to my husband. My own identity. Just me and my name.