Melania Joy Murphy

About Married Name Choices

Why don’t men typically change their names? That question has puzzled me for decades. Of course there’s the patriarchal history behind the tradition–wives had no surname except “wife of X” and the wife, up to the mid-20th-century, was the husband’s possession and ceded all property and parental rights to their husband upon marriage–but that’s in the past, and those rules and laws are no longer in place. So, why do 70% of brides still follow that outdated tradition? 

I began the Married Name Choices project to help women explore what name option they’d like to use as their married name. Whether it’s keeping their own name, taking their husband’s name, hyphenating, merging or asking their fiancé to take her name, there is no right or wrong answer. What is important is knowing all options available, including asking him to take your name, and having a conversation with your fiancé so resentment and hostility doesn’t brew underneath the surface. In this community, women have the opportunity to consider different choices, hear from other women and explore their own thoughts and feelings about what married name they’d like to choose.

With a degree in applied behavioral science, I’m interested in knowing what causes women and men to hold on to the tradition of women taking the husband’s name so tightly and defend it so fiercely. What would happen if women boldly convinced themselves that their worth, identity, family history and place in society were equal to that of the men they marry? What shift would happen in ourselves, our families, our society?

These are the questions I’ve set out to answer in the Married Name Choices project. As a journalist and communications expert for 20+ years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and chronicled their stories, bringing to life their thoughts, beliefs, courage, dreams, hopes and fears, and creating a vision of their world. I hope you’ll add your story on my Facebook or Instagram page, or share it personally with me in a free 30-minute personal coaching session. And, sign up for the Married Name Choices newsletter to learn more about married name options, women’s history and wedding trivia, tips on how to have a conversation with your fiancé, and of course, women’s stories about their decisions, regrets and funny moments along the way.

Peace, love and choices!

Melania Joy

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