So, in our society, once a woman gets married, she takes pride in changing her name.
She abandons her maiden name and adopts her husband’s. The ‘Mrs’ tag is very important in our African society.
That is well and good. However, with modernity more women are not completely abandoning their maiden names.
These names are identities and brands. They either prefer to have double-barrel names or maintain theirs.
I am yet to fully understand why married women are expected to change their surnames.
For the most part, I feel it has something to do with our long-standing beliefs that women are ‘helpers’ and, therefore, should abandon their identities completely for their husbands’. Now, I think this matter should be a matter of personal choice.
I have noted with concern how some men expect their wives to change a surname even on academic and professional certificates. I think that is expecting too much if the wife is not keen.
If she is happy and willing to change, that is fine, but if she is happy to maintain her maiden name on her important papers or on social media, let it be.
A name is just what it is—a name. It does not affect the marriage and it should not be an issue to bring discord between husband and wife. The same goes for children whose daddies are not in their lives.
Some mothers prefer to use their maiden names as surnames for the children.
While other women prefer it that way because they were rejected, others do it to spite lovers who hurt their feelings. I think the issue of names should not go as far as it is going these days.
Few weeks ago on social media, I saw a post by a woman asking for help on how to go about changing her academic and official papers to use her husband’s surname.
She said her husband was feeling ‘hurt’ and ‘disrespected’ because she continued to use her maiden name.
While the majority of the women felt it was overkill for the husband to protest the use of a name that was actually hers, others felt she must humble herself and do the needful.
What is in a name that someone must feel ‘hurt’ and disrespected’ over? I think we place too much importance on trivia. It is just a name; an identity which should be personal on how one wants to be addressed.
Placing too much emphasis on names makes one feel like there is some sort of a power struggle between a man and a woman.
It should not be the case. A marriage should be founded on the basis of love and companionship. If the foundation is fine, then names do not really matter. What should matter is the marriage itself. Is it working? Are the two people in the union happy? The issue of names and trying to change one’s identity should not even rise. We have better things to worry about please!