SPOILER ALERT: well you’ve read the title, ‘Taking my husband to be’s surname’ and probably don’t need to read the rest – I’ve only gone and given you the bloody gist, haven’t I. But if you’re interested as to why I’ve made this decision, imma tell you.
I had NO idea this was such a contentious issue until Ben and I discussed marriage and then got engaged.
I’ve always been staunchly against marriage for a variety of reasons: they don’t last, I grew up with parents in an AWFUL one, partners ALWAYS cheat on me and ‘I’ve been taught that I don’t need a marriage,’ being just a few. So lots of people were shocked when I made a U-Turn and decided it was now something I wanted.
SO why the sudden change of heart? Perhaps since both of my parents have passed, the looming burden of being a product of a severely unhappy marriage no longer weighed on me. I began seeing close friends get married and have amazing relationships with their husbands. And really, I just genuinely don’t see a future without Ben.
Yessss I know that doesn’t mean we need to be married and that there are plenty of amazing long term relationships that have seen one be taken up the aisle by the other in a sexual way not a traditionally paperwork heavy way but bear with.
When I met Ben, I was in a GREAT position. I actually LOVED being single. I was happy within myself. I could easily have gone another 5, 10, 20, 50 years as a single woman as I had fulfilment in other areas of life. So when he came along, it had to be an out-of-this-world connection to give up my singledom and it was. It really is.
I finally believed that something could work. I have a relationship where a future seems certain (and you’re all invited to retweet this post to me if in 5 years, he’s run off with Margot Robbie and I’m moving onto my 15th cat).
And I also began looking into what a marriage means and why I ‘need’ one. It turns out I don’t. No one does really. If a relationship is strong and committed in other areas, in 2018 you really don’t NEED to be married.
But I really want to.
Having come from a fractured immediate family, with an extended family that feature virtually no lasting marriages, I want to have one that works and lasts.
I also want my own family.
I don’t necessarily mean kids because who knows and right now I can’t even look after a house plant, but I want a solid unit.
When my parents passed, Ben was there. He held my hand, as I held my dying father’s hand in the hospital. He picks me up when I’m broken and he builds me up further than I can ever build myself when I’m flying high. And he actually makes me a better person.
When you come from a family where ‘love’ isn’t necessarily modelled to you – you become a person who is so self reliant (lol absorbed). I just didn’t think I could give another person any form of energy. Because I saw another person as a drain.
But Ben has taught me that a partnership is not a drain, or a shadow or a compromise (necessarily) but it’s actually a ladder. It’s somewhere you can reach the bottom rung, as two whole people and you can continue to climb together to whichever goal or dream you want.
PUT THE SICK BUCKETS AWAY GUYS
But anyway, that’s my reasoning behind getting married. So why did I then decide to take his name?
There are a couple of reasons.
Meldrew isn’t my real surname. Most of you know that but it’ll surprise some. My surname is one of the most common EVER so it’s not like I need to preserve it for generations to come.
Our surname’s triple barrelled (because Ben is already a double barrelledy type person) sounds silly as fuck.
He suggested that we dropped one of his surnames and added mine and it just sounded gash.
We don’t see the point in making one up completely.
He suggested he could take mine but here’s the crux…
My surname is not my identity.
It never has been. It doesn’t define me. I don’t come from a family with a strong history (that I’m aware of) on my surname’s side, anyway. And I don’t know/speak to/care for my Dad’s side of the family. Whilst I’m sure they’re nice enough, up until his passing I hadn’t heard from them in over twenty years. That’s not family.
A family is a support network. A safe place to grow. A safe place to feel. And that’s what I have with Ben.
Taking his surname means that we begin our own family, inside his, that have welcomed, supported, loved and cared for me when I’ve most needed it.
And anyway, being a feminist is all about having an equal choice. I choose his name.
Did you choose your partner’s name?