What's in a Name?

August 24, 2023  •  1 Comment

Seven years and counting….

I’ve officially been married for seven years. Lucky 7!

I still remember the first time I saw my husband and although he didn’t notice me at first, I knew we were destined to be together forever. Yes, I’ll always give him grief but hey, it makes for a great beginning to our love story. Love you, MUAH!

My husband and I began as partners. We’ve always had a great working relationship; and although we may not be perfect humans, I believe we are definitely perfect for each other. Our marriage is an extension to what we already had; a true partnership.

When we first got married, I had my name hyphenated. Whether at work or out and about I would get asked “Why did you hyphenate it?”, “Why didn’t you just take his last name?” “What are you trying to prove?”

I initially hyphenated out of pride in my name, my history, my culture.

I truly  believed that by God’s hand we are bound together in the holiest of matrimonies and after our ceremony we became one union. I love my husband, respect and honor him. I just felt like I wasn’t ready to give up my original last name quite yet.

I’ve met couples where the names were not changed at all, or the male takes the female’s name. The decision on whose last name is taken has changed dramatically since it all started.

So, how did it get started anyway?

Well back in the early medieval times of knights in shining armor, damsels and dragons (just kidding this isn’t Game of Thrones) surnames were created to differentiate between first names. Most times it was created by where the family lived at the time.

19th Century English common law introduced the “Doctrine of Coverture.” (Coverture meaning “covered by”) This doctrine outlined the specifics on women taking the man’s last name in marriage.

According to this law “women had no independent legal identity apart from their spouse, coverture laws also prevented women from entering into contracts, engaging into contracts, engaging in litigation, participating in business, or exercising ownership over real estate or personal property.” (Kerr, Jennifer, "Maiden Name Retention" (2021). Sociology Student Work Collection. 79. https://digitalcommons.tacoma.uw.edu/gender_studies/79 Unmarried females would take their father’s surname until they were married as we do now in modern “American” culture.

Women basically gave up any right to succeed independently and live under the bounties of their husband.  This also meant that men had to be successful enough to provide for their wife who could not work to make money outside the home. That’s a lot of pressure on the guy and a lot of trust from the girl. 

For the independent woman, this seemed like a lot of red tape. Imagine all the successful female entrepreneurs that are married now. They wouldn’t have been able to create their empires had the laws not been changed.

By the 1970’s the Supreme Court turned down a law in Tennessee that required women to take the last name of their husband prior to registering to vote. This is when the prefix “Ms.” started to arrive. This gave women more power on their identity.

With all of that being said what started off as a hyphenated name has now become just one name, Kanzler. Yes, ya’ll I have officially changed my last name to Kanzler. I didn’t keep my maiden name in any way. It was a personal decision that took me seven years to make.

I honestly didn’t expect it to take this long for me make this decision. Lucky for me I’ve married a man who’s been patient with me while I figure things out. I’m very pleased with my decision of making myself a Kanzler. I think this is a great way to celebrate 7 years with my husband, my lover, my partner in life and best friend.

Our birth name was given to us, what we decide to do with it afterwards is our decision. Some people decide to rid themselves of that name and identify and become someone else entirely. Some people decide to take their spouses’ name after marriage, some people decide to hyphenate.

Whatever you decide, know that it doesn’t erase your history. You still hold onto your culture, your family history; your identity is not lost. Changing your name will not erase your history but add to your story. It took me a long time to realize that.

So tell me…..what’s your story?

 

xoxo

Leyda Kanzler 

 

 



Comments

Letty Cantu-McGarrahan(non-registered)
Happy Anniversary ❣️ Blessings for many many more wonderful years
You are your dad's daughter
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