If your man pops the question this Valentine’s Day, or if you’re one of the 2 million people who will get hitched this year, listen up– some of the traditonal aspects of marriage are starting to change.
First we told you how a growing number of men starting to wear “mangagement rings” (male engagement rings.) Now we’ve learned there’s a new trend on the rise: Men in the US are taking their wife’s last name, or hyphenating it with their own.
Taking the Name Change Plunge
Mark Tyler is “man enough” to admit to GalTime that he actually did all of the above. Mark wore a mangagement ring during his engagement, and soon after he and his bride Carol Tyler got married last January, Mark took his wife’s last name. He started the ceremony as Mark Harper and ended it as Mark Tyler. The minister even announced, “Here come the Tylers” as they made their way down the aisle.
Mark says he’s proud. “Shortly before the wedding I decided to make the change. She (Carol) was stunned. Actually, she asked me to reconsider, that it was cool with her for me not to change. But I told her it was too late, and then she said GREAT!”
The couple started talking about it before they got married and decided it was important they both have the same last name so their children would as well. According to Mark, Carol said, “If we all have the same last name, why can’t it be mine?”
In the end Mark says he thought about Carol’s career. “She is well established in her career and I am not. Our plan is for her to be the primary breadwinner and me to be the primary parent. So, “Carol Tyler” is a well established professional while “Carol Harper” is who? I don’t have the same dynamic going from Harper to Tyler.”
Gayle Brandeis and her husband did the name swap for the same reasons when they got married: Kids and career. “It is a second marriage for both of us. I had kept my name with my first marriage as well, and my kids from my first marriage have long hyphenated last names. I was pregnant when my current husband and I married, and we liked the idea of everyone in the family having the same last name. I had already established myself as an author with my name, and he felt no particular loyalty to his father’s last name, so now my hudband is a Brandeis, as is our son.”
How Many Are Doing The Reverse Name Swap?
The Centers for Disease Control and the Social Security Administration says it doesn’t track these types of name swaps. But an up and coming company called Hitchswitch, which offers newlyweds “a one stop shopping name changing service for a fee” has some interesting numbers.
CEO Jake Wolff says they’ve helped about two thousand couples change their names since June 2011– and 5 percent of those clients have been men. Out of that five percent about three percent of men take their wife’s last name and the remaining two percent create a hybrid or hyphenate their last name.
Jake says he’s seeing this trend increase. “Even though Q1 of 2012 has just started, we have seen an increase in the number of males taking a hybrid name.”
Turning in the Man Card?
Mark says when he told people about his untraditional name change a majority of the responses were actually negative. “As for the man card issue, I get it. I guess that in many ways I have turned in my man card. Of course, I treat the whole man card thing as a joke in the first place. It’s a satirical term that, to me, describes a physically grown man who has the mind and interests of an adolescent.”
Happily Ever After
The Tylers and the Brandeis’ all report they’re still very happy with their choices. Their kids have the same last name, and all is well in nameville. Mark gushes, “I’m so proud to be a Tyler. My wife absolutely rocks and our family is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Jake Brandeis sums it all up quite nicely from his informal customer poll of men who handed in their man card with class. “The grooms told me that they did this because the couple was starting a new life together, and their new name was their new identity. They saw it as a great compromise.”