The surname swap: Why more men are taking their wife's moniker

The tradition of a woman taking her husband’s surname appears to be slowly dying [Photo: Getty]
The tradition of a woman taking her husband’s surname appears to be slowly dying [Photo: Getty]

A new study has revealed that one in 10 grooms now take their wife’s surname.

It’s quite a surprising statistic considering that most old-school wedding traditions are still upheld.

The study, conducted by the London Mint Office, found that young men are the progressive ones, opting to take their wife’s surname instead of keeping their own.

Some 72% of couples still have the man’s last name with 11% confirming that they had compromised by going for a double-barrelled version. A number of couples even splice their names together to create a completely moniker.

It’s unclear exactly why young men are making such a change (although we’d like to think it’s all for the feminist cause). Reasons range from the practical to the preferential.

More and more women appear to be refusing to change their name [Photo: Getty]
More and more women appear to be refusing to change their name [Photo: Getty]

In several opinion pieces written on the topic, men have admitted that they chose their wife’s name because they didn’t like their own, thought theirs was too common, or wanted to become a proper family unit as their wife already had children with her last name.

Women who wish to keep their own name are also prompting the decision from men. Twitter user Mark Tyler told Yahoo Style UK that he wanted his family to have the same name but his wife “decided well before our wedding that she wasn’t going to change her name. The only way we could [have the same surname] would be for me to change my name. So I did that and made my last name my middle name.”

“I did have some reservations, mostly because of concerns about criticism. And, believe me, we were criticised a lot,” he added. “I think that the tradition of men keeping their last names and women taking the husband’s last name is rooted in a past that is largely becoming irrelevant.

“I don’t know what’s going to be going on 100 years from now, but I would be very surprised if the tradition that has existed for so long continues that way.”

Another man admitted to being in a similar circumstance, writing in HuffPost that his name change came about for two reasons: his wife hadn’t even considered changing her last name and he felt strongly about their family having a shared name. The only option left was to change his name to his wife’s, although he did say that if their last names “didn’t sound like s**t hyphenated (Brender-Broberg is a mouthful), we would have done that.”

Joshua went one step further than double-barrelling. He and his wife both wanted to keep their historical family names, eventually deciding to triple-barrel their surnames so their children “could carry on the heritage.”

“It was a pretty easy decision for me,” he tells Yahoo Style UK. “I think the marriage tradition of keeping a man’s name is pretty old hat. The point of marriage is to be joined as one – so why not join names?”

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of old-fashioned thinkers around. Actress Zoe Saldana faced criticism when her husband Marco Perego married her in 2013, taking her name to become Marco Saldana.

“Why is it so surprising [and] shocking that a man would take his wife’s surname?” she wrote on Facebook. “Men, you will not cease to exist by taking your partner’s surname. On the contrary, you will be remembered as a man who stood by change.”

Too right.

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