now that i'm in the early (or is it late? meh =/) stages of adulthood, there's a renewed reason to toy with the idea of changing my name. among my friends and coworkers, there's a whole lot of hoopla over taking on the guy's last name after they solidify their nuptials. whether it's for convenience, a sign of independence, professional or publication reasons, ethnic pride, auditory aesthetics, or having to come up with a new signature, some would rather opt out of the name change. plus, there's the idea that the practice is archaic in a society where patrilineal rule is often irrelevant (ie. feminism, single parenting, etc).
for me, the idea of changing last names comes very naturally. that's just how it is. my parents did it, my sister did it, seems like a good idea so i might as well do it too. there's something exciting about being adopted into a new name, signifying the start of a new family. but beyond that, i might be at risk for following tradition just for the sake of social norm.
last weekend during youth group, billy gave a talk on god's covenant with abraham.
abram fell facedown, and god said to him, "as for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. no longer will you be called abram; your name will be abraham, for i have made you a father of many nations. i will make you very fruitful; i will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. i will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your god and the god of your descendants after you. genesis 17billy described the significance of the name change as a reflection of abraham's character and his destiny, as revealed by god. but why couldn't god just say "hey abram! imma bless you and make you a nation. done." and leave it at that without the whole name change process? granted there was no social security and driver's license ordeal to muddle through; but on the face of the situation, it seemed quite unnecessary. here's a man who's a hundred years old.. though the bible doesn't reveal any signs of dementia, senility, symptoms of old age, seems a little late in the game to be changing up someone's name.
i think that's just it though. if i suddenly change my name right now to pink unicorn ride, there's bound to be a stunner effect, a far cry from what i've (and everyone else has) always known - and with that, a tangible reminder of my decision to make that change. perhaps in my mind i will think, yes, that's me! because pink unicorns are so fluffeh i wanna diez cuz i lub dem so much!! obviously that's a highly extrapolated analogy.. ;)
as billy shared, god changed abraham's name to reflect his promise - that it always be a reminder to him of the covenant that was made. in the same way, changing your last name when you get married is a reflection of the covenant that was made at the altar. and from thereon, whenever you write, speak or hear your new name, it serves as a reminder of the commitment you made to god and to each other to remain in that promise. this, to me, is sound reason enough to change my name instead of blindly following tradition. it'd also give me a reason to swap out my current middle name =]
conversely, i wonder if guys have a strong preference for their spouse to change their name?
side note.. if you think about it, generally the ring is supposed to denote these same concepts - but the difference in cost between a ring and legal name change is hundreds maybe thousands. like a metaphorical ring without the giant pricetag. so from a financial point of view, it'd be more cost effective to change your name rather than getting a ring - which includes all the fuss of choosing one :D hahaa