More than any other time in history, men are taking the last names of their wives. The number of women who have decided to stick to their maiden names after marriage has also gone up. Many people think that men who adopt their wives' last names have a problem; the truth is today's man has very solid reasons for doing so.

Zoe Saldana, one of the heartthrobs in the Guardians of the Galaxy film indicated that against her concerns, Marco Perego, her husband, has decided to adopt her last name 'Saldana' once they're married. Obviously, a man taking the last name of the wife isn't that normal and always draws attention from all quarters since it's seemingly a violation of established social norms.

When asked about a man taking the last name of their wives, most Americans expressed varied reasons. 40 percent of respondents believe it's a bit odd, 30 percent suppose its fine, 17 percent think it's inappropriate, 7 percent deem it's a great choice while 6 percent are not sure about it.

The use of a marriage license (or marriage certificate) in name change after marriage has been cited as one of the reasons why a man might want to adopt the wife's last name; the process involved and current law prevents them from doing so. For instance, in States where men are not allowed to change their name with a marriage license, the legal adult name change process they're asked to follow is usually expensive and very long. Most just give up. In fact, in all the 50 states only Colorado, North Dakota, New York, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Iowa, Hawaii, Georgia, Oregon, and California allow husbands to use a marriage license to adopt the last name of the wife.

As many men follow the example of the Saldanas, there are a number of reasons many are warming up to this.

Support and commitment

One of the reasons fueling and motivating men to take the last name of their spouses is to show them how supportive they are and their commitment to the relationship. This is happening mostly when the wife is the main provider in the family or when the wife seems to have a more dominant position in the family. The feelings of the man in relation to the change mostly depend on the reason for taking the name.

Egalitarian husbands

Some husbands believe in the strong principle of every individual being equal and deserving equal opportunities and rights, such as a man taking the last name of the wife after marriage. This might be a strong desire to challenge the already laid cultural convention. Even when confronted by family members or friends, egalitarian men love explaining themselves as much as they can with the intention of changing the norms according to their beliefs.

When wife's name sounds better

Some husbands believe their last names don't sound or look good. They're compelled to adopt the last name of their wives for that purpose. Some husbands could be concerned if both names do not bring in any improvement; husband's last name might be Hebrudery and the wife's Bruckenriguah. Essentially both names would not be an improvement and combining both into Hebrudery-Bruckenriguah seems like a sin against humanity and nature. Nonetheless, if the wife's last name sounds better and more likeable, male spouses are considering adopting it and dropping theirs. Otherwise, a hyphenated name with the husband's first and wife's last is a viable option.

Family acceptance

Most people getting married today find it hard to be accepted by their in-laws, which is mostly one of the reasons why most marriages find themselves in trouble. Men who find themselves accepted by the family of the wife and treated just like a part of the family are compelled to repay such clear kindness. The man could be from a family unit without a clear history or a difficult and violent family he would like to forget and put behind him; the wife's last name gives him a great idea to effect this.

When wife's name means more

Apart from coming from a great family with a breathtaking family history, there're a number of men who decide to go with the last name of the wife if it means a lot to her, perhaps if it's synonymous with her business and identity. Men who find nothing interesting in their names but everything worth talking about in the last name of the wife warm up fast to the wife's last name.

No one would like to lose their name if they are famous and well known across the country and easily found on Google, which is great for their brand and business. Nevertheless, some men are ready to go with their well known wife's last name at the expense of their unknown, weird and not very nice last names such as Smelly and Boggus.

Great branding

In a time when branding is important and some names simply help to make the branding process easier and successful, some men are taking this into consideration after marriage. This is true, particularly for men who have familiar and too common names that almost every family has and it's not special in any way. As such, a man might take the wife's last name to better brand himself, such as a tree surgeon taking wife's 'Tentrees' last name.

When a name is too familiar and costly

In the last one century, "James" has been the top first name for males across the United States. When it comes to surnames, "Johnson" comes closely second to Smith making a name such as Jimmy Johnson or James Johnson the most common. Those males with most common names, particularly last name, share birthdays, place of birth and careers with thousands of other people. If a background check is done by a company where one is seeking a job, this could be problematic if any of those shared names have criminal records. People have lost career opportunities because of this leading to some men opting to change to wife's last name to be different as well as ensuring their children do not go through the same.

Ultimately, men changing their last names to their wives' is a personal choice, and vice versa. There is no wrong or right. As long as it's right to you there's no good reason not to go for it.

What do you think? Should men take their wives' last names?


  1. James Fontaine Jacobs

    I just changed my last name by adding my wifes maiden name. It was a way a showing completeness on my part, as she took my last name. We are one and our names match. I get a lot of weird reactions but I live in Oklahoma, so that is to be expected. I would not change what i did. It was a great choice.

    1. Kyle

      How Did You Change It I Live Oklahoma I'm Getting Married In October Of This Year? I Want To Take My Wifes Last Name

    2. Jake Jacobs

      Most people who do not know you are surely going to assume that Fontaine is your middle name.

      1. Jake Jacobs

        By the way my middle name is Jason
        Lol I know. My parents should have just named me Jacob.

    1. Valera

      Hi Christopher. That's a valid reason to undergo a name change. As far as the courts are concerned, as long as someone's not looking to evade debt or commit fraud when changing their name, most any reason is valid.

  2. Glenda

    Can you pay to have the name changed if you live in a different state that doesn't allow it through marriage ? I'm getting married soon and my fiancee wants to take my last name because of bad memories following his family name but according to what I just read Tennessee is not a state that it is permitted .

    1. Valera

      Hi Glenda. Tennessee would permit such a name change by petitioning the court.

  3. Tim

    I have been married for over a year now and I combined my wife's last name with my last name and together we made a completly new last name we put her name first and it was really tough at first for my family to accept the decision…I live in Texas and found in the law books that a man can take what is called a sur name which is why this worked it was very simple and legal and costed a whole whopping eleven dollars to finalize.

  4. Hafsa Yasir

    Men taking the maiden names of their spouses might be easy in western countries but in Middle Eastern and South Asian it is still a madman's idea. Because of the social stigma attached to it, men do not dare bring this matter in utter dark and alone moments.
    Women of rural population in Pakistan still address their husbands as "mera maalik" or "my owner".

  5. Chuck Sunderlin

    My soon to be wife last name is still that of late husband. When we get married can I take her married name or should we make it her maiden name since her husband did pass.

    1. Valera

      When we get married can I take her married name or should we make it her maiden name since her husband did pass.

      It depends. Which state are you in?

    2. les

      I am in the same situation, but will take my wife's last name, not her maiden name. We will do this simply because it is simpler (and it is a nice name).

  6. Lisa Smith

    My son dislikes my husband, his biological father. He married his wife and gave their first son his wife's last name. He then added his wife's last name and became a hyphenated last name (his wife's last name before his). I was very upset when I found out. But since he is my son I just have to accept. I wonder men who took their wife's last name do when they get a divorce?

    1. Valera

      I wonder men who took their wife's last name do when they get a divorce?

      Perhaps request the divorce judge restore their birth surname? Or maybe they'll just keep it as it's now a part of their identity.

  7. Sean

    My husband and I just got married about a month ago. We haven't changed anything yet but we both want to have it where we both have 2 last names, in the same order. So my last name is McCarthy and his is Jenkins, so we would be FirstName MiddleName McCarthy Jenkins, no hyphen. We live in Texas. We want to put my last name first and his second. I don't forsee this being an issue for me, but will he be able to do it where he adds my last name first and then his follows second?

    1. Valera

      Hi Sean. I don't believe a space-separated last name change through marriage is an option in Texas.

  8. Jim Simpson (formerly Jim March)

    I did so. It felt absolutely wonderful. I'm wired male submissive…not in a BDSM sense mind you. I would have promised to love, honor and obey her but she want sure her family was ready for that.

    No regrets whatsoever, 7 years in we're doing great.

    Jim Simpson

  9. Mark Dazzler

    My wife and I were married in Hawaii and were able to both make names changes on the marriage certificate. She added a middle name as she never had one, and I took her last name (Which was a made up name by her dad when he immigrated to the US back in the 70s).

    When we got back to our home state, we only had to go to the SS office and the DMV with the certificate and the changes were made with no questions asked. No need for any court action or court fees at all. There are a few other states that allow this as well. Most require a court action for the man to change his name at marriage.


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