*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
Keeping the name my parents had given me at birth was my own small personal act of rebellion.
I never thought about changing my last name before I got married. Okay, maybe I thought about it a little, but I didn't make a conscious decision about keeping my maiden name until after the wedding, after the honeymoon, in fact.
I liked my maiden name. I was used to it. It was a part of me. Why should I have to change it just because I got married? So I decided not to.
I knew it would annoy my husband's conservative family, and it did. But I didn't care. This was my name and I would not change it just because society said I should.
Refusing to change my last name was one of the best decisions I ever made.
My marriage would fail due, at least in part, to events that took place long before my wedding day, and my wedding day was a disaster. So was my honeymoon. By the time we arrived home from our road trip, my dreams of a happy marriage were tarnished, and any remote thoughts of changing my name to match my husband were done forever.
Once I realized I didn't want to take his last name, I never even considered changing my mind.
He wasn't changing his name, so why should I?
I didn't think he deserved the honor of having me accept his last name as my own. Keeping the last name my parents had given me at birth was my own personal act of rebellion.
A few years after we got married, my husband and I divorced. It was a difficult experience, made even more complicated by the fact that we had to untangle our lives in every way imaginable.
One thing that made it easier, though, was that I didn't have to change my last name back to my maiden name. I was already used to my maiden name, so it was no big deal to keep it.
Plus, it saved me a lot of time and hassle. I didn't have to go through changing my name on everything from my driver's license to my credit cards.
I didn't have to notify my employer or my health insurance company. I didn't have to deal with the potential confusion of having a different last name than a child if we'd had one, which we did not.
In the end, staying true to myself and keeping my maiden name was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only did it make my divorce less complicated, but it was also a small act of defiance against a failed marriage.
I refused to change my last name when I got married, and it made things much easier after my divorce. I wish I could say I planned it that way, but I didn't. Nonetheless, I felt incredibly free not to have the extra work of changing my name after our marriage was officially over, and I don't regret refusing to take my husband's last name just because I married him.