Men Changing Their Last Names to Their Wives'

Man Proposing Marriage

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?

We've helped thousands change their names, both before and after marriage.

Get Started


  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. Tyrone Jones

      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. Tyrone Jones

      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. Tyrone Jones

      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. Tyrone Jones

      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.

    2. T

      My son has said he has no problem with us as his parents, other than we pushed him hard to accomplish all he has. Now he is grateful for success, but said some hate filled things along the way. My husband is a stepson, not adopted by his mother's new husband, although he has been well-loved and called "my son" by his step father always. My son married and decided to take his wife's last name. He did not tell us directly, we heard it when his terribly uncouth wife corrected my brother on calling her Mrs. Son's last name. "I would never be his last name." We have never treated her poorly, but is seems more we are being punished with further distance from our son. "Any children I have will be MY last name …"

      I would propose any man considering relinquishing his father's name at least have the conversation with your parents before acting on it. Not to change your mind, but to have an understanding beforehand on what it means to you. My son more or less told us there is no legacy to his father's name … why continue it. It was rather harsh after the fact.

    3. Sue smirh

      My husband was married prior to me and had his ex-wife’s last name. They had four boys together. His ex -wife refused to take his last name when they married, because she wanted them to carry on her last name.

      They divorced. She went to live with a woman. He took back his old name, because he had ill feelings toward her. His boys have her name now. He has regular visitation with the boys, but I wonder how they feel that he took there his old name.

      To make things a little more complicated, he was married before her and had two girls (now grown) who have the last time he has now. His biological family is happy that he changed his name back.

  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. Tyrone Jones

      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

    1. Rob Richards

      Thats great Jim! I did the same several years ago and I am proud of my decision. I feel like in my own little way I was demonstrating a maturity and sense of equality we need more of in this world. : )

  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.

  10. Fred Mort

    Hi my name is fred and I'm getting married in October 12 2019 and I live in Pennsylvania k would like to take my wife's last name is their any way I can do that I looked and I cant find any thing for Pennsylvania I can fine for all the other states but that one please help thanks in advance.

  11. Gustavo Bobbio

    Hello! Im planning to get married in a month and plan to change my last name adding in my future wifes. It will be Bobbio-Hertog. Would I also need to go to court for this?

    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Gustavo. In most states you would have to go to court. Even though you could change your name with the SSA, you'll likely face resistance from the DMV. If you specify your specify your state I can provide something more definitive.

  12. Momma

    My son is taking his fiancés maiden name when they are married. We have found it to be very hurtful. His reasons are: “I have no extended family and she does.” “I have no connection to my name” “I don’t want to be Mr and Mrs (insert name).

    He connects with her father because he works out and runs marathons. He hasn’t had the best of relationships with his own father in recent months, but for thirty year, that man has lived him unconditionally and worked hard.

    His siblings, along with the rest of the family, feel as though it’s a punch in the stomach. Heartbreaking to all of us. We don’t even want to go to the wedding with all the talk this has stirred up. Ugh! It’s one thing to keep both names or each keep your same name, but to eliminate your own name? From a parent’s perspective, it’s hurtful.

    1. Tyrone Jones

      It’s one thing to keep both names or each keep your same name, but to eliminate your own name? From a parent’s perspective, it’s hurtful.

      Thanks for sharing your story. Have you considered talking to your son about how you feel about it? Perhaps he'd be willing to maintain both names if he knew what it meant to you and his siblings?

    2. LH

      My step-son did the exact same thing. He himself did not come to us to tell us he was changing his name to his fiance's name. We had to find out through the grapevine. 2 months before the wedding we finally asked him about it. He told us by taking her last name, it was the least he could do to make her happy.

      When we spoke to her she told us that ever since she was a young girl, she knew that whoever she married was going to take her last name. She never wanted to be someone's "property". She would not even consider hyphenating or keeping her maiden name. And states that he and she had multiple conversations about the name change. And that if he felt strongly about it it wouldn't have mattered. But IMHO there was no decision for him to make. She had made that apparent from the beginning.

      This past Saturday, we (our family and name) were completely removed from the ceremony and we were not even acknowledged by either one of them.

      How sad…24 years being a part of a family and you can toss that away and identify yourself with a handful of people that have known you for 4 years. He was not man enough to tell his family about the name change and now wants to pretend that we are a crappy family so he doesn’t have to feel guilty about his decision.

      1. Nina

        Why doesn’t society think the same when it happens the opposite or to the woman? Yet I might think her own family members would be for it saying she should or she supposed to be the one. Even her own family members would carry sexist ideologies. And how institution of marriage and how it is defined is sexist. No one is born to get treated as a second class citizen. Making this gender neutral changes the attitudes and definitions attached to it..normalizing wife’s name and new names not only takes the discrimination out but it gives more options to be socially acceptable.

  13. Brittany V

    My husband and I got married and kept our names separate legally for now as it requires a lot of back and forth to legally change our names to our chosen combined last name.

    If my husband were to go through the process of the court, would I then be able to take his new last name without also going through the process myself?

    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Brittany. You'd have to petition the court as well since your marriage certificate wouldn't reflect your husband's new name. Had he made the change before you were married, you'd be good to go.

  14. Michael Serrano

    Colorado is specifically listed here as one of the states where husbands can take their wife's name, but I cannot find any other information on official Colorado websites which confirm or deny this.

    Can both my soon-to-be wife and I use our marriage certificate to change both of our last names to: my last name hyphen her last name?

  15. Chelsey Ake

    My fiance has 2 last names. When we get married we both want to change our last names to just one of his current last names. So my last name would change and he would just drop one. Is this possible?

    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi Chelsey. It depends. Where's the marriage taking place? Just the state will do.

  16. William Orton

    If I have a court judgement against me will changing get the case drop

    1. Tyrone Jones

      Hi William. Changing your name wouldn't affect any present or future case.

  17. Joshua Bell

    If I get married I am thinking about changing my last name to my wife's last name I live in Canada and it is getting more popular for man to change their last names o there wife's last name

  18. Chris

    Wife and I have been married 12 years before we got married I told her I wanted to take her last name because she only had sisters and her name would die off. She was extremely hesitant on doing it so we took mine.

    I love my family but I feel closer to her family, but I also feel like my wife is in charge. We have considered going to the courts to do a legal name change but we will see.

  19. H N

    Sorry for my bluntness, but this just seems to be odd at best, and effeminate at worst. You are a man for a reason. I was trying to read some thoughts on this as the first Ive heard is my cousin doing this lately and quite frankly, trying to make sense of it. His wife wears "the pants" so the roles of man and woman are a bit reversed in that relationship anyway. Honestly trying to understand. I guess its just one of those things I never will.

  20. Nina

    Roles shouldn’t be fixed. As we know gender roles are binary and are social construct. And also both genders are capable of performing both roles. There are cultures where men do take the woman’s name upon marriage. Where the woman do take the family responsibility (financially).

    Cultures should change with time and certain things as should change with time. Why can’t we establish more peaceful society? when you know it looks a man to be weak? That is exactly you are doing to the woman’s position and an insult.

    Men and women maybe biologically different but ain’t one superior than the other. No one is born superior or inferior in nature eyes. This is all man made thing. ain’t this custom make to look male as leading and female as a secondary role. That to me is wired and on spot discrimination! A relationship should be about partnership not heirchy. This question should become gender neutral as gender roles are binary.

    Also female lead relationships should also be socially acceptable. That’s only when we will see more egalitarian society. Its 2021 and how much more we need to go for this name issue to become gender neutral socially?

    1. Trey

      Very wise and well put Nina. I agree 100%.

      Some get it – some dont.

      Its called enlightenment, and many go through their whole lives in the dark.

  21. Kaelin

    I think in this day and age with real ID and online profiles it's time we all just kept our own names on our birth certificates, whether we are male or female. Any children should inherit the father's surname and the mother's surname can be the child's middle. As a modern female, I don't need a man to change his name to mine to show his support for me, that would actually show me his insecurity. And he should be secure enough not to expect me to change my name to his.

    1. Nina

      Why would you want children to inherit father's surname? How his name is any important than the mother's? That is basically taking the problem to square one. I think its time kids to inherit mother's surname as the last name and father surname as middle name! I even think it should be the requirement the children to inherit mother last name by law and leave it as a choice for the couple to give father surname or not, if so it would only continue as a middle name. father mother order.

      If they wish to become a family under one name (he can take her name or new names are always welcome). How change of his name shows insecurity? And why should or would he be expecting of you to change names? Why do you think so? In a free world/free choice there would not be pre assumptions. I truly believe, a woman has the same right in placing her name on her own family as she wishes. It's time to do away with this stupidest "custom".

  22. Thomas Robbins

    I married in 1989, my wife did not want to take my name. I did not want her to keep her ex husbands name. So she legally changed her last name to her mothers maiden name. Once I retired, I decided to join her in her mothers maiden family name.

    My parents were both deceased, I disliked my last name, always complicated and misspelled. So I legally changed my last name to her mothers maiden name. We now share the same last name.

    Last of all, we divorced, yet I kept her name. Now we I e together again, same last names, which really helps when I take her to her doctor appointments. When we had different last names, at times we had to prove marriage. No longer.

    Just because of a last name. It was worth the change. I had to change my soc card, passport, drivers license, car titles, bank accounts, cost me about $500 in the end. No regrets.

  23. Marci Lyn Theodoriches

    My ex took my last name. Kept it after divorce. Can he give it to his new wife?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *