Also a man that would be bothered by such a non-issue imo, is a man that is not self assured and that is definitely not the man I want to be married to. If me not having the same name with you makes you feel less of a husband to me or gets you worried about how much of a man society would think you are, God forbid that I get married to you!
That is not our culture. What is the meaning of that, Simi? And your husband allowed you? You are just so weird.
These sentences above and so much more are the things I hear when people find out I did not take my husband’s last name. Some people get really outraged sef and I am always just wondering how it affects them. Is it your name? Is it your marriage?
The way people carry other people’s matter on their head ehn
My usual response to people that ask why I am not taking his name is usually to ask them why exactly I should do so. Then I go ahead to ask them to give me a biblical, cultural and legal justification for why I should do so and so far not even half a person has given me a reason. I ask for those three because they are what form the foundation of my life and guide my actions.
There is nothing in the bible about taking my husband’s name so why do we do it in the church? Why do we insist on it? A friend once told me that getting married is like giving your life to Jesus and you should forsake your former identity because you are a new person. There is no biblical truth in that so that could not apply to me. I gave my life to Jesus, I did not give it to my husband.
Others say that is what culture demands and I ask them which culture? The use of Mrs was never in our African culture, it came with colonisation for crying out loud. I cannot remember reading any old Yoruba history book and seeing Mrs used there. So which culture are y’all talking about, biko? It is definitely not African culture and I am not about to follow the dictates of a culture that is not mine. All I know in Yoruba culture is Iyaafin and Ogbeni and those two honorifics, to be best of my knowledge, have nothing to do with being married or not.
While I was in primary school, I used to be so angry at the fact that I would have to change my name when I got married. As young as I was then, it just looked unfair to me. Then one day I met a friend of my dad who had two surnames, I asked my dad about it and he explained to compound and hyphenated surnames to me. You cannot imagine the relief I felt when I understood that I actually was not required to change my name by law. I told my dad then that I would never take my husband’s surname. He found out two weeks ago that I had not changed my name and his response was “There is no problem with that. I am not surprised, I know Simi, she has always said this as a child”.
Someone asked me whether my husband was fine about it and I said if the person I married is not fine with me keeping my last name then I have married the wrong person. It is not about the name but the fact that someone would think to legislate on that for me is a deal breaker. Also a man that would be bothered by such a non-issue imo, is a man that is not self assured and that is definitely not the man I want to be married to. If me not having the same name with you makes you feel less of a husband to me or gets you worried about how much of a man society would think you are, God forbid that I get married to you!
Interestingly, I never brought up the discussion with the husband while we were still dating, he was the one that initiated the discussion. One day, dude just sends me a message asking me what my surname would be when we get married. He sent an option of just his last name and an option with a hyphenated name. I first thought to myself “Who told this one I would marry him?” (Lol, that man was very proud sha. How would he just assume that? It was still early days o) then I replied him with my name and that was it. There was no need to explain or justify anything, it was not even an issue for him. I was glad that he even thought to ask.
See, change your name, don’t change your name o, it really makes no difference to me what other people choose to do. Do what works for you and your marriage. What pisses me off is the people that choose to consistently introduce me as a Mrs or to call me by my husband’s name. It is not because of the name in itself, what annoys me is that you are refusing to honour my decision and existence as a human being. Can you just respect my wishes and let me be known as I wish to be known? Do not invalidate my identity because you think I am doing something wrong. Just respect the fact that I am a human being and respect my decision. I went somewhere and wrote my name as Simi Olusola, next time I would see it, it had been changed to Mrs Simi xxxxxxx. Why would you do that? I know some folks just do it out of habit or as banter, I don’t mind that. I know they are not doing it to prove a point to me or anything so no hard feelings there. Plus it is not like I resent my husband’s name and want absolutely nothing to do with it.
I recently met an old friend and he wanted to know what my new surname was. Told him I did not have a new one and he went in on me. I asked him why he was so particular about it and he said it was so that he could show respect to my husband. I am like, “You don’t even know my husband, so why do you have to show him respect and why does it have to be by calling me his name?”. Why do I suddenly need that extra respect because I am now married. I am a complete human being on my own and my existence does not need to be validated by a husband.
So yes, I love my husband with every fibre in me but I like my last name and see no need to change it. It does not change the fact that we are married and that we are committed to each other. It does not say I am not proud to be married to and associated with him. It does not change the fact that we are one unit. Moreover, I have had the name for so many years and it is a part of me, a part of my brand. I do not dislike his name, the simple matter is that it is his name and not mine.
Btw, this culture of name change started in France and right now, it is illegal there for a woman to change her last name. She can take her husband’s name socially but her legal name must always remain what is on her birth certificate. So you can all stop acting like I have committed a crime by keeping my name, my own name o.