Or perhaps to merge or not to merge is the question.  When you get married what will you do with your last name?  Will you take your partners?  Will you merge and hyphenate?  Will you both choose a new last name? (radical, but it is being done!)

This is a question that you both must address.  For some, changing a name creates barriers and challenges, especially if you have worked hard at a career that is based on name recognition.

Many years ago women really did keep their maiden names after marriage.  In a 2009 survey, it was revealed that that only 18 percent of brides are keeping their maiden name.  And a new dimension is being added for same sex couples who are getting married.  What is the standard for keeping, merging, or creating a last name?



If you work in a position that is about name recognition (YOURS!) then you may want to consider the impact that a name change will have on your career.  Email addresses often change too!  If that identity is important, consider how it will affect you and how will you can address those concerns and or challenges.

For some it may be a choice with regard to whose last name will be used.  Some couples I have worked with have created an entirely new last name (some combining part of each person’s last name and sometimes choosing something brand new.)  This is not something to be taken lightly.  This is your name!  Social Security records, tax records, credit, banking, insurance, and identity, are just some attributes that are affected by your choice.

Changing names can be complicated and frustrating.  I promote and use the services provided by  I met them at a conference and found them to be great people.  It makes the burden and hassle of name changing SO much easier.  Within a few clicks, you have everything you need to change your name.

A shared name can promote and symbolize a unified family and help give easier identity to whom you are sharing life with.  It’s easier for others to identify you as couple when doing business with you (hotels, banks, airlines, car rentals, insurance companies, etc.)

In the end, it IS important to give careful consideration and understand the thoughts and feelings of each person as you determine what is best for your relationship.  Remember this; it is about what is important to each of YOU.  Don’t worry about expectations of family, friends or society.  Do what is best for you both.


Royal D. Bush serves as a Multifaith Chaplain with Inclusive Life.  He studied at Andersonville Theological Seminary, and with the International Institute of Faith Based Counseling.  He holds a Bachelor Degree in business administration.  Chaplain Royal officiates weddings and funerals in Iowa and Nebraska.  He is available for premarital coaching, couples coaching, life coaching, pastoral care and hospital visits.

Inclusive Life offers both nondenominational and nonreligious care: serving all, without exception!   Inclusive Life offers Wedding Ministers, Premarital Coaching, Couples Coaching, Funeral Ministers, End of Life Planning, Pastoral Care, and Pathways Worship.




105 S. 49th Street Omaha, NE 68132

500 Willow Ave Council Bluffs, IA 51503

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