It was a chilly April night; I had a horrible day at work and called off our date since my job was running late, but his sweet charm and the promise of a delicious meal won me over. (There’s really not much some fresh, crusty bread and soft, salted butter can’t do to win me over.) After a great date with my best guy, we walked around our local college campus, a walk we took hundreds of times during our college years together.
We passed the dorm where he yelled, “I LOVE LINDSAY ROSASCO” at the top of his lungs in the middle of the night, with people replying, “SHUT UP!” or a celebratory “WOO” from the windows. We passed the music building where students were practicing, even late at night, the jazzy tunes floating their way through the air. We walked by the computer building where I surprised him years ago after class with a huge comforter and dessert for an impromptu nighttime picnic on the quad.
We walked around the mall where I watched him play kickball as I debated the actual importance of making it to my visual communications art class. We ended in front of our old dorm, the place I made my first friend as an unnerved transfer student who quickly became my best – where we stayed up until 5 a.m. talking, laughing, and learning. The place we acted out the cliché of young and wild and free and where a tipsy first meet turned into deep love.
Why I’m happy my husband kept his surname
Well this was also the place where, after insisting we hurry back to the car as it started to rain, that he got down on his knee and proposed.
We enjoyed an amazingly fun-filled two year engagement followed by – and I may be slightly biased – the most perfect wedding ever. It made us chuckle in the church when the priest instinctively said, “I’m happy to announce the new Mr. and Mrs…Justin and Lindsay!”
Why didn’t he announce us by our shared last name? Because my husband chose to keep his last name, and I’m okay with that. I really am.
1. Unity doesn’t mean identical: When we took our wedding vows, yes, we committed to combining and sharing our lives, but uniting into our new family unit didn’t mean morphing into an exact replica of each other. I really like the colored sand analogy for this point, where each person pours a color of sand into a jar, watching as some of the colors combine and other layers preserve the individual colors. That is unity to me.
2. Pride in his name: He wore his last name on his football jersey, just like I wore mine on the soccer field. He took pride in his family name and unique story of his grandfather changing their last name – yup, he actually just completely made up the name as an adult – just like I took pride in what my parents and siblings made of our last name. I would never expect him to eliminate that part from him – after all, I fell in love with Justin Copeland, not Justin Rosasco.
3. God has nothing to do with it: As much as people may try to throw religion at us as a way to conform to one name, God actually doesn’t care about your last name – but I have a whole post on that.
4. We’re pretty smart: “But how will people know you’re really married?” “It will be so confusing.” I have so much faith in my husband, and we’re pretty smart – we also have this faith in others. We have faith that a married woman having one name and her husband having another is really not all that confusing. We have faith that American society can join progressive communities like in Greece, France, Canada, the Netherlands, most of Asia, Iran, and most Spanish-speaking countries, to name a few. We’re smart enough to handle him keeping his name – are you?
5. He loves me: I know that even though my husband didn’t take my last name that he loves me – that our love isn’t bound by or proved by an antiquated tradition. I know that if I questioned his love or commitment to me because of something so trivial that we were not ready or meant to be married, and I know that if others question our relationship because of this, that they need a strong dose of reality.
6. I respect him: If my husband chooses to keep his last name, then I completely respect his decision; in fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
7. I don’t need to brand him: I don’t need to put my stamp on my husband to show people he’s mine and I’m his. He’s not my property or cattle.
8. Names don’t define relationships: While names can be a point of pride and history, they also don’t define relationships. Families come in all shapes, colors, names, and sizes – if a child is adopted and doesn’t share the same DNA as her parents, does that make her less? Not a part of the family? If a child is a different color than his family, does that make him segregated? Does that confuse people? Of course not – in our family, mom has one name, dad has one name, and kids have both names. Are we “less than” families who share the same name? I won’t even dignify that with an answer.
9. Because moving his last name to his middle name is absurd: Why would people ever suggest my husband move his last name to his middle name after taking my surname? It’s one of the silliest concepts ever – his parents gave him his name, Justin Michael Copeland – why should marrying me mean getting rid of his name? What kind of wife would I be to say, “sure, you can keep your name…except, you know that middle name your mom gave you? Go ahead and get rid of that, and let’s move your last name in the middle where nobody will know about it, okay honey?”
10. It’s his name: Okay, I could have just started with this one, because it’s really the only thing that matters. Why wouldn’t my husband change his name? Because it’s his name – Justin Michael Copeland, just like mine is Lindsay Katherine Rosasco. He deserves to keep his as much as I deserve to keep mine. When you think about it, it’s pretty simple.
I thank you all for understanding my husband’s decision and realizing he’s still a great, smart, loving, dedicated man and husband. I truly won the jackpot.
Thanks for our wonderful life together, bubba – happy anniversary. Here’s to our beautiful life, our beautiful babies, and many more.