Should I Change My Name When I Marry?

Today, I have been married for three years.

It has been a helluvaride. If my better half read my blog, I’d send him kisses through this post, but he doesn’t (!) so I will just go ahead and say that I am happy I did.

Also, for anyone thinking about getting married, I have this advice on name change (as earlier conveyed to a dear friend in an email):

About last names and marriage. I think the best advice I can give is
do not change your name.
Do not even add one, like I did. It is a HAZZLE and also
a weird tradition – why should I change my name just because I marry?
(actually it is not the tradition in Ghana and many other countries).

In hindsight, I do not regret adding Adu, just because that is kind of the only thing that makes me blend in a bit more here in Ghana, “aahh, so you are Ghanaian??”, but I am not sure you need that in [the country where you presently live].
Also many times, people call me “Mrs Adu” without ever having seen my
name in official print and that makes me think “why was it so
important to me to take his name officially?”. Finally, the name laws in Sweden
also prohibits me to give Hallberg as a name to my children now as it is now my “middle name”…
So, read the fineprint or just keep your name and live happily ever

Photo from my wedding day by Kerstin Alm.

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  1. I don’t see the deal with post-marriage name change. If some woman jumps the broom with me, I’ll prefer she keep her name. If she happens to be tired of her last name and chooses to change to mine, I wouldnt object since that would be her choice.
    I see marriage as complicated. I’d have to simplify it in order for it to work for me. Keeping our own names will be one of the simplification steps.

    Should you change yours? Do what will make your life (including your married life) a good one.

  2. Hi Mike, I am glad you share my opinion as many men do not! I agree keeping your own name simplifies things and God knows marriage needs to be simplified…

  3. Huge congrats on your anniversary Kajsa! I’ve always maintained that I’d like to keep my surname since I love it and it goes well with my first name but alas, I’m sure the pressures of society will eventually get to me in the end.

  4. Sankofa, I know what you mean! Although, from my research it is not a Ghanaian tradition to change your name when you wed. I think that is a pretty good argument!

  5. Congrats on the anniversary Kajsa!

    My 2 cents: Personally, like Sankofa, I love my last name and I dont think I would like to change it. But who knows, my opinion may change once I actually GET married.

  6. Congrats!
    I would certainly support keeping your name, though I agree with the cultural benefits.

    I kept my name for a number of reasons – the organisation I worked in relied a lot on writing cables which you sign with your last name.There were many people in the organisation that I’ never met, but who had read my reports. If I had changed my name, my reputation would have gone with it.

    Changing every form, bank detail etc seemed like a hassle – of course millions of women do it all the time…

    It seemed wrong too, to suddenly give up a big chunk of identity.

    I always enjoy it though when people used to ring our house wanting to speak to me and Nyani would answer the phone. They would invariably ask – are you Mr Leonard? Umm, well, no, yes, hang on I’ll get her!

  7. hi kajsa, happy anniversary! i totally agree with you and also regret, in some ways, that i added my husband’s name to mine. I now have two names no one can pronounce or spell. And I didn’t know before I changed my name that any future kids can’t have my old surname now it’s my middle name – the one reason i decided to go with both names was to be able to pass my surname (that is unique to my small family) on to future kids… I have thought of changing it again (at least in sweden) but it’s such a hassle.

  8. Yes, that rule makes taking a name less interesting indeed. PRovided you know of it! Hope you are well!