Belfast Telegraph

Keep your maiden name or give it up? - 'It's an outdated and unnecessary custom'

By Lisa Smyth

Growing up, I used to dream of a big white wedding surrounded by friends and family.

I'm ashamed to admit this, but as teenager in the first flush of love I even practiced writing the surname of my first serious boyfriend as my own.

However, a couple of doses of heartbreak later, I shunned a traditional white wedding and instead exchanged vows in front of handful of close family and friends on a beach in Thailand.

I also made the conscious decision to keep my maiden name.

Not because I'm not romantic - I can't watch PS I Love You without sobbing until the screen goes blurry.

But the fact is, when it came down to it, I just couldn't part with Smyth.

I had spent more than a decade working in an industry where your name and reputation are crucial.

As far as I was concerned, no one in my professional life really needed to know I was married, so why publicise the fact in the paper? It certainly wouldn't add anything to my stories.

Keeping my maiden name for work was a no-brainer for me, really.

The issue of what to do at home, however, was a little more tricky.

Contrary to my teenage self, I wasn't as besotted with the idea of changing my name as my wedding approached.

I have never considered myself a feminist but once I started to think about it, I felt that taking my husband's name was symbolic of me becoming his property.

We discussed it beforehand, I can't remember what he said when I told him I wouldn't be taking his name, but I do remember him vetoing my suggestion that I go for the double barrel approach - much to my disappointment.

I thought it made me sound like a character from a Jilly Cooper novel, something that amused me to no end, but he thought it sounded silly. He was right, of course. In the end, we compromised and I kept Smyth.

In my wedding vows, I specifically left out the pledge to obey him and I felt that taking his surname was outdated and unnecessary.

Belfast Telegraph


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