Becoming One

The Jewish definition of marriage.

Comments (60)

(58) Respectgoesbothways, June 3, 2011 12:53 AM

So, reading the other comments in favor of women giving up their own names to become a Mrs. there seems to be the idea that its not a big deal and that if she doesnt she shouldnt get married, blah blah blah. If this is so, why doesnt the man give up his name out of respect and to show unity and to be joined to the wife like the Bible says and accepting the gift of her name? Think about it. Fair is Fair. IF it only goes one way then something is seriously wrong. Sound like male domination to me. Chow.

(57) Helen Ferrieux, October 30, 2010 9:22 PM

Is it so important?

Hi Lori - I am amazed to see how many comments there are about "losing one's individuality" and "women BELONG to men, like cows" (no.39) If you love a man enough to marry him you're giving up a lot of things so giving up your maiden name is just one more. Too much to ask? Don't marry the guy. In France, where I live, on all official papers, a wife is called "MRS. "A" (maiden name) MARRIED TO "B" (husband's name) (Madame A, épouse B) Good grief, marriage is difficult enough - why add more niggling problems??

Anonymous, June 3, 2011 1:00 AM

lori dont listen to this person. try to follow their logic. they are equating changing a part of you as a requirement for getting married. Any man who demands this will be unbareable to live with.

(56) Matityahu, July 16, 2010 4:33 AM

From ADAM not EVE

Women don't get it. You take the man's name not the man takes the woman's name because you, as a SOUL mate RETURN back to the single as ONE. Chava came from Adam, not Adam from Chava. If a woman does not want the man's name, it is indication that she is NOT his soul mate and he is NOT her's. Thus they should NOT get married.

(55) Jay Landau, July 15, 2010 3:04 AM

I like the idea !

Lori, The feminists have brainwashed women into being "separate but equal" during marriage, which includes keeping their names. I don't think you're old-fashioned or out-of-step, I think you are CORRECT. Yasher koach !!

(54) Anonymous, July 14, 2010 10:47 PM

Why doesn't the man take the woman's name?

Why can't the man take his wife's name if they want to be one? Why always the woman? I took my husband's name and regret it. I feel that my identity has been usurped.

(53) Matityahu, July 12, 2010 4:00 AM

What a selfish world

I think all the women who have name issues are only thinking of themselves and therefore shouldn't be getting married. Marriage is about giving and men are the standard givers in marriage. Women should show their appreciation this giving by also accepting their gift of a last name. To those who fight the give-take role and insist on a profession, again they are going into marriage with only themselves in mind....unless they talk it over with their husbands first. Marriage is a partnership not a "its all about me" thing. All matters should be discussed with the partners beforehand and in my opinion. Finally, women should not bring out the name issue which puts their husbands in an very aukward postion of fighting in the beginning with thier "fixing to be new" wives. Is is not the standard thing for a woman to ask her husband to give up his name with regard to his wife. Wives are declaring "I don't want to be joined to him" when they refuse to take his last name.

x, June 3, 2011 12:55 AM

I think all the men who have an issue with taking his wifes name is only thinking of themselves and are selfish and should not be married because he is not deserving.

(52) Guilllermo Seoane, July 11, 2010 1:40 AM

The Latino point of view

In Latin America and Spain is the custom of the woman to keep her name, but she is known as the wife of or Senora de....When the couple have children, the children are given a name and sometimes a middle name, than they are biven the father's first last name and the mother's first last name, in other words we all have two last names. Example, Issac Cohn Matalon marries Raquel Mizrahi Behar, the child might be named Jose and then Cohn Mizrahi. I like this system because I always felt that my mon's family was important I knew exactly who were my Grandparents, first cousins cousins, aunts and uncles not only from my father's side of the family but from my mom's

(51) Bonnie, July 10, 2010 6:25 PM

name changes mean something

I almost forgot to add that in the Torah, when a person's name was changed, it had a lot of significance behind it---they were changing as a person, an event was happening---they were forever different/changed after that. So too when husband and wife are under the chupah, they become one--and a name change is part of that. I was eager to be called by my new name; and even though walking in a new name requires effort over time, I am glad to have my family's name--the name of my husband. It just makes sense to me--especially spiritually.

(50) Bonnie, July 10, 2010 6:15 PM

good insight

I don't think your idea is old-fashioned, I think it is good insight. When I was married, I changed my name and took my husband's last name. That was actually done while we were on our honeymoon, filling out the form. For me, it was part of becoming one, part of leaving my father's house (as Psalm 45 says) and joining my husband. Good post Lori.

(49) Iris, July 10, 2010 3:33 AM

Women should keep their names

When I married nearly 40 years ago, I never considered to take my husband's last name. It annoyed his parents a bit, but they quickly got over it. My father's parents had a funny sounding European last name. It was a source of ridicule for my father and my mother insisted he change it prior to getting married. He did not hesitate for a moment. (It just so happens, the doctor who delivered him in the 1920's took pity on this child of immigrants and wrote on my father's birth certificate, the exact name my father selected for himself. He had to legally change it anyway, since he went to yeshiva, high school and the army with the funny family name.) Several years ago, when my son's wife took his last name, I was very disappointed in her for not keeping her last name, but it was her decision. Taking the husband's last name has nothing to do with "oneness". Any man who insists that his wife take "his" last name is not interested in becoming one with his wife, he wants to control her and lord over her. I would tell her to save herself and run - and fast.

(48) Jane, July 10, 2010 12:44 AM

re 1 Name marriage

I lived in Quebec, Canada & the laws changed-a married woman when checked into a hospital-must use her maiden name. I had trouble finding my 90 yr. old mother.I was married in Que. & have kept my maiden name for legal purposes. Everyone knows that Gerry & I are married in the eyes of God. That is what counts. We are Jane & Gerry = 1. No chidren involved-no complications. We were over 50 when married. It does become confusing when children are involved. Sincerely Jane

(47) Nicole, July 9, 2010 2:39 AM

great idea!

I think this idea is great..., the more one can do for unity,...more ideas, more ways and alternatives to try, more probabilitis for succes.

(46) lowell, July 9, 2010 12:21 AM

great point

great video Lori. my wife and i got married last month and we thought about this issue for a while. my wife decided to take my last name and i don't think we're old fashioned for doing so (we're only in our 20's!). (lhavdil) when my parents split apart, my mother kept my dad's last name so she would have the same last name as her kids. when two people become one, all of their actions should be towards that goal and when they physically create a family through their oneness, they should continue to foster that oneness. i resent the idea that my wife is "my property" because we share a last name (such a non-jewish thought!). if there are marriages out there where power isn't being shared fairly, then the real issue should be addressed (possibly with the help of a professional). unity of husband and wife and family shouldn't be undermined by refusing to share a name.

(45) Anonymous, July 8, 2010 7:15 PM

Don't agree

I prefer to keep my last name because this is part of who I am as an individual. I have had my name for my whole life, it is how I 'identify' myself. Changing my name would make me feel like I'm losing part of who I am and I don't think one should have to lose their sense on individuality to get married and have a happy marriage. How would a man feel if they had to change their name 'for the sake of their marriage'. I think this is emotional blackmail.

(44) Suzanne, July 8, 2010 6:06 PM

Lori, this is really an interesting discussion. I think that the retaining of the maiden names as well as the giving of the hypenated last names were an attempt by women to keep their hard won identities and not have them submerged once they became married. That is, they had fought hard for their respect, their opinions, their freedoms as well as for their professions and they didn't want it all ruined once they became married and were mothers themselves. Furthermore, many women looked at their own mother's lives and thought that they could have been vastly improved if the same options had been opened to them as they were for their daughters. Now, here is the real politically incorrect question, are we, on some sort of spiritual or metaphysical level tampering with our basis natures too much (that is the whole "vessel" idea? Is tradional femininity really our truest and best natures? Are we really happier with the new changes? I understand both sides of this argument. An interesting question,indeed, and I bet we'll all go back and forth on this one forever!

(43) Marilyn, July 8, 2010 4:55 PM

I agree with you.

Thank you for having the courage to teach from a Torah based perspective, and for holding fast to your standards, even when others disagree. You are a real blessing to those with eyes to see, and ears to hear.

(42) Patty Ann Smith, July 8, 2010 3:27 PM

Two Becoming One

I believe scriptures tell us that when a man and a women unite together (like a puzzle) then is when they become one, at this time in Gods eyes they are bonded together as one!. The trouble with our world today is men and women are married (bonded) to so many people they are confused and miserable!. When we become one flesh we are to leave our parents and the husband is to be head of the family, which only makes sense that the family all have the name of the head of it!!

(41) David, July 8, 2010 1:44 AM

Long Life

a joke I heard: "It's not true that married people live longer. It just seems longer."

(40) , July 7, 2010 11:44 PM

my first marriage was a disaster and lasted for 23 long years of gehinnim i had that last surname on all my legal documents.what closeness????? what nonsence My second marriage is to a wonderful man who i do not legally have his surname and we are truly soulmates. i hope that answers that

(39) Maria, July 7, 2010 11:29 PM

Becoming one

What is the big deal? I bear both my father's and my mother's last names. No problem. No confusion. No akwardness (except for someone at the post office who stupidly insist that he/she can--or have the right to--determine what MY last name is). My double worded last name is on my diplomas, my passport, my driving licence, and every other important document. What is the problem? If anything, people's brains will grow a tiny bit by creating another neuronal path (Wow! That should be a mitzvah!). The woman taking her husband's last name has nothing to do with love or oneness. It is a testimony that the man OWNS that particular woman. Yes, own, like a cow or a goat, an acre of land, or any other piece of property. Nowadays the woman is no longer regarded as chattel (although many men are not yet aware of that), but the custom has persisted. It has nothing to do with developing relationship based on love, understanding, mutual respect, and helping each other grow spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally, in the eye of the world and in the presence of G-d. Ever wondered why doesn't the man takes his wife last name for the sake of "oneness"? Right. It's just a tribute to the sociopolitical and economic situation of oppression of millions of human beings; a situation of injustice toward the other half of humanity, also created in the image of Hashem. A situation that kept women in a state of subserviency and kept them from superior education, the right to participate in public life and commerce, and barred from making a contribution to the advance and betterment of society. Nothing to do with love and oneness. Honoring each other is what goes all the way toward achieving oneness.

(38) SusanE, July 7, 2010 3:21 PM

I thought marriage was about making children.

Lori, I thought the oneness and unity of marriage was completed when we made a child who was a combination of both our bodies into one whole being. Isn't that the ultimate oneness and unity? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The idea of Jewish woman taking the husbands name seems backwards. Wouldn't it make more sense for the marriage to carry the Jewish womans name, so the children would be sure to carry on the maternal proof that they are indeed Jews?

(37) Chava, July 7, 2010 2:37 PM

over-simplification of how to help acheive 'oneness'

Our mazel is linked to our first name, not our second name. When we get a blessing it is our mother's name that is utilized as a mother's love is eternal and strong. Years ago women did not assume their husband's last name (100's of year ago) but as people became affluent and rights of inheritancebecame an issue, women and their children were given the last name of the husband/father to denote "to whom this property belongs"-in other words the wife and children were his property. When women decided, during the 20th century, to abandon this practice is was to allow them to have a marriage based on a more equal footing-not as property, but as a wife. I am one women who has done both; kept my maiden name for my first marriage and assumed my husband's name for the second marriage. It has nothing to do with the success of the marriage. I believe you are oversimplifying this.

(36) Anonymous, July 7, 2010 2:10 PM

I agree!

This is the way it is: they become one flesh ! I think that the feminist movement and political correctness is driving a wedge between the beauty of Torah and modern society. There is absolutely nothing wrong or demeaning to take one's husband's name. It shows love, humility and courage. Bravo!

(35) Anna, July 7, 2010 11:28 AM

There is nothing about this matter that has to be overly complex , unless people make it so . There are those that have had great losses in their lives , and their maiden name is a way of keeping their connection to the ones they loved and lost , and a lineage they never wish to forget . And to the reader that has managed to offend , and antagonize those with this viewpoint , "women libbers" , and gay couples , while maintaining an extreme sense of superiority over gentiles - I would like to say that : your superiority complex , and disrespectful /intolerant views towards others is quite distasteful . However you are entitled to your opinion . Live and let live . Conflict , and confusion ,and disharmony between couples and people do not arise out of personal choices such as having two surnames , they arise when people forget to accept one another , and make issues of none issues .

(34) Alice, July 7, 2010 7:17 AM

My husband took MY surname!

My husband took my surname. We married when we were 20 and 22 and nine years down the track he has never once regreted his decision. It is nice and in many ways simpler to have one surname - that said my mother kept her maiden name and that's fine too. There is a wonderful feeling of onceness in having the same surname - I feel that I changed my title from Miss to Mrs and he changed his surname so we both made changes together. Also statistics (in Australia) show that this is a growing trend.

(33) Joanne W-S, July 7, 2010 1:14 AM

There are no surnames in the Torah

Everyone is known asShlomo ben Avraham or Shlomit bat Avraham, the father's name. When we pray for the sick it'sShlomo ben Sarah or Shlomit bat Sarah, the mother's name. I chose to hyphenate, which is very awkward. But for my son's sake, I've been Mrs. S or Ms S, even after divorcing in 1994. And I still us Ms. S at work. I have to say I agree with Lori in this: I feel more connected to the S family, still part of it. I think there is something to becoming part of your husband's family. And it certainly simplifies your life.

(32) Barbara, July 7, 2010 12:36 AM

I'm with you!!

It really is difficult enough without spliting things in that fashion. Hashem gave us a pattern, who are we to try to change it.

(31) Anonymous, July 6, 2010 8:51 PM

I disagree

As the mother of a happily married daughter who decided to keep her birth name for professional reasons, I think that the only problem with her having done so is that it's less convenient to address mail and invitations to her and her husband. Also, of course, it gets complicated with the children's last names. But I don't think having different names has any effect on the "oneness" of the marriage, the quality of the relationship or its prospects for success. However, I do think that if a man and woman feel like they want to or should have the same last name, it should not necessarily be a choice of the husband's name. Why not choose the wife's birth name as the new "family" name on the basis of what sounds better? Why does the choice always have to be the husband's name? When I was in high school in the late 1950's, I had a male teacher who got married and changed his name to his wife's last name. It seemed strange to us at the time, but I remember thinking that her name was really a "nicer" name in that it was shorter and easier to spell. It may have even sounded better with his first name, which I don't remember. Before I was married, I always played around with appending the last names of the boys I was "interested in" to my first name and would never have thought of not taking my husband's last name (which, BTW, I like a lot better than my birth name). But I was very young when I married and hadn't made a name for myself in my professional field with published articles, etc. as my daughter has. And, even if that's not the case, women may have different reasons for keeping their birth names - none having to do with wanting to be less than "one" with their husbands. I

(30) Kyla-Kyle, July 6, 2010 7:24 PM

Anonymous 7 and 8

How does keeping the maiden name honoring your parents? If such is the logic then you are dishonoring your other parents (his) by keeping your maiden name and his parents should act accordingly. Anonymous 8 is the only one giving a logical reason to keep the maiden name. It also gives another reason why a Jew should come to Israel. Why are you submitting to gentile logic and rule? You should be teaching gentiles not gentiles teaching you. And hmmmm, I don't think Guy marrying another guy is honoring either parent. If I was their parents, I wouldn't want any of our last name put in an hyphenated name. And Virgina, why is changing a name also losing an identity or family? And Tzipporah said it right! And women libbers...please explain to me why this is such an important issue?

(29) Matityahu, July 6, 2010 6:47 PM

Anonymous (1) has missed the point

The point is to unite. If you insist on the man taking her name, you are not saying "it's about us(ONE)", you are saying "It's about ME." The "norm" follows the logic that Chava came from Adam's side, while the women's lib position is that Adam came from Chava's side. Which of these two are Torah?

(28) Duane, July 6, 2010 6:32 PM

old fashioned

There is grace and practicality in those old fashioned rituals, that is for sure. . .

(27) Sarah Dinah, July 6, 2010 6:27 PM

You hit the nail on the head, Lori!

When a woman keeps her maiden name, she is saying, in effect, "I am me and you are you and we are not united."

(26) Stephen, July 6, 2010 6:06 PM

Some perspective

I'm no historian, yet I do have a vague understanding that most of us adopted surnames only in Napoleonic times, which is fairly recent in Jewish terms. Sure, there are some ancient family names like Abulafia, but most of us just adopted or were assigned a patronym or toponym or nickname. Many olim did the same; Netanyahu, Sharon and Begin were probably not common names in Warsaw. Why shouldn't a couple create their own identity nowadays? I've never understood why it's a feminist statement for a woman to keep only her father's family name (what then--have a list of four names for the kids?). Anyway, we're all still son/daughter of Mom/Dad to the Aibishter and the Jewish community, may it increase with many new names. Thanks again for inspiring us to think, Lori.

(25) Anonymous, July 6, 2010 5:32 PM

Another Option- choose a new family name - together

Why should the woman be the one to give up her identity in the noble quest for unity in marriage? What is the man giving up or changing toward this same goal? I agree that two different last names causes confusion. My suggestion is that the couple prior to marriage choose a new last name for themselves as a family - a name that accurately reflects either a combination of both their family names or some other name that reflects their beliefs and values. This is a very unifying act for them as a couple.

(24) Jeanne Borrman, July 6, 2010 4:58 PM

Wonerfully true

You are BRAVE. lol This was so very true. I wish I could get this in print. Hearing problems no matter how I have turned up the sound, make it hard to understand some words.

(23) Devora, July 6, 2010 4:24 PM

Right and Wrong

In the interest of family unity, it is important for the wife to take her husband's last name as far as her driver's license, the bank account, the school records, etc. However, if she is well established in her career under her maiden name and wishes to continue to work after marriage under her maiden name, then she should do so and there should be no push-back from her husband. Women who use their maiden names or hyphenate their last names in business actually make more money than those who change their names after marriage. But using the husband's last name in all regards to family life eliminates all confusion and presents a unified front to the world.

(22) Natalie, July 6, 2010 4:11 PM


Hi Lori I agree with you! A surname is just a hook to hang things on to, and by all using the same hook, so to speak, it shows unity and blending from the beginning

(21) Sarah, July 6, 2010 3:57 PM

whose name?

Would you feel the same if he took HER last name? Is the principal point that they should BOTH use ONE name or is the point being made that it specifically has to be his name? Does that make the difference?

(20) Kaela, July 6, 2010 3:56 PM

Oneness is so vital to marriage

Yes Lori, I definately agree that it is benificial for a woman to take her husbands name. I believe that when a woman choses to keep her own name there are several possible reasons behind the motive. A woman should check her motive and see if it lines up with Godly principles. In my experience the only motive that I have come across as remotely positive is to perserve the family name because you are the last of that lineage. Other motives that I have seen are pride, rebellion, stubbornness, disrespect and self-importance. As to your comment about "old fashioned"; I prefer to see it as "God fashioned". Blessings, Kaela

(19) ruth housman, July 6, 2010 3:52 PM

the power of names

We all know of an ancient Jewish medical practice involving names. If you have a terrible illness and it looks bad, then it's believe that changing one's name might confuse the Angel of Death, meaning your destiny, changes. There is so much to the concept of naming, for sure. And I do deeply believe in the potential of the Hebrew letters and that all words are sanctified, and certainly this includes names. But I don't agree with this. I think it's fine to take a husband's last name. But I also feel it's fine to keep one's own last name. I think it's fine to change one's name. I have friends who felt uncomfortable with their given names, as if they did not quite fit, and so they changed. Why not? Why ONE size fits all? What I find interesting in these debates is the fire, the energy, devoted to having these discussions. In fact, I will go out on a limb and say, since we are all souls, that God wrote us all into a story, and that our words, are themselves, souls on fire, and we are intended to generate the passion from these discussions. I live in a world in which we use our gray matter to make ethical decisions. I do not live in a black and white world. I think for all decisions we can go back and forth, and that it is the personal angst in making the decision which is at the core of ethics and where we are supposed to be.

(18) Anonymous, July 6, 2010 2:59 PM


I agree that Oneness is the connection between 2 souls combining into one. A last name does nothing to change the connection between the two people. My wife kept her last name to honor her father that died 3 months before our marriage. Her name does not change our connection. Also, my sister who changed her name when she got married. Added her maiden name to her last name after our father died. What is the problem. My wife does not get upset if she is called by my last name. who was it that said " A rose by any other name is still a rose". The soul is what matters, the name is just that A Name.

(17) Jeff, July 6, 2010 2:49 PM

Unnecessary and Stereotyped

Your views naturally represent a well-established norm, but times and awareness have changed significantly in the last 30 years from the common practices of our youth/ancestry. One reason for a person to not change a surname is to maintain identity in a profession. If someone has written/published articles or books, done research, or otherwise has his/her name known in society, it makes more sense to retain that name, even for merely utilitarian purposes. Additionally, some people may want to merely keep their surname alive and circulating to maintain their identity or connection in the world to their family of origin, or simply like their hame and don't want to relinquish it. I think that while abdicating one's surname and adopting that of one's spouse can be a statement of unity, the converse that not doing so will somehow diminish their commitment, intimacy, or marital success is baseless concern or fear. And to view oneself as merely "half a soul" who is made whole by a marriage is a prescription for disaster and marital failure. We are each created whole and are enhanced by merging with our partner of choice ('beschert' if you prefer). Your statement implies that there is something aberrational about people who choose to be non-partnered, or can't find someone compatible, and suggests that they can't have/lead fulfilling lives. You are off the mark on this commentary and shouldn't read too much into what are in effect customs or conventions, which often are left aside with the passing of time/generations in favor of different practices reflecting new awareness and paradigms.

(16) Anonymous, July 6, 2010 2:33 PM

Oneness is simplicity

I think what Lori is getting at is the importance of simplicity (oneness is simplicity). By creating additional complications to established convention, whatever the reason that it exists, we add tension to a situation where there needn't be any. Because my mother kept her maiden name, I encountered worlds of trouble as a kid: customs at airports, program applications, parent-teacher interviews, and even visiting at the hospital. And for what? It's just a last name; like a piece of clothing, it exists to serve a labeling function. I think Lori wants us to question why we make choices: for the greater good - in this case using the marriage in the most effective way and for the right reasons - or for another reason, whatever that may be.

(15) Michal, July 6, 2010 2:23 PM

You are right

Hi, Lori, you are absolutely right, I think.. Thank you for your many and different ideas!

(14) Renee Crook, July 6, 2010 2:19 PM

No Lori, you're NOT wrong. You're absolutely right. I have never been in favour of women who do not take their husband's last name. I think it IS important to do so for all the reasons you give.

(13) Cynthia Greenberg, July 6, 2010 1:14 PM


Shakespeare said "What's in a name?" I think he was on to something. Lori, you blew it this time.

(12) Tzipporah, July 6, 2010 1:01 PM

Torah says the family name is important, right on Lori.

You have a very good point. I have never liked the idea of a woman keeping her maiden name. It is not about honoring the parents. A man and a woman entering a marriage are both supposed to leave their parents and cling to each other under Torah. Anyone who says your old-fashioned is being insensitive to the traditions of the Torah. Just reading through the Torah, last week's parasha, where there was thecensus, the family names, according to the men's names, are counted. It is very important for the continuation of the fmaily names. That is one important way in which each man as the head of his family is enabled by Hashem to live on and be remembered. When a couple doesn't give their children the father's name this mode of rememberance is lost. One important aspect of the mitzvah of yibum is to have the deceased brother's name to be remembered and built up. There are more reasons for why this is very important in a marriage. Right on Lori. We need to return to traditions of the Torah and not feel old fashioned or embarrassed.

(11) virginia, July 6, 2010 12:59 PM

why can't he change and take my name?

i agree with the significance of the one name bit. I have been married for a number of years and kept my name. However, when thinking about the whole issue, why is it that it is only women that are asked to lose part of their identity and the identity of their families upon marriage? If we are really to become one, could the men not change their last name?

(10) Anonymous, July 6, 2010 12:47 PM

maybe; maybe not

I have been married more than twice (I am 81) and each time I changed my name. My eldest daughter, however,had established a professional reputation in her maiden name, as did my second daughter. My 2 sons had no such problem ! Circumstances alter cases, but obviously, in my case,I agree with you. I love your videos.

(9) Guy Sutton, July 6, 2010 12:47 PM


Hi Lori!!! Great story, again!!! Not only do you have great topics, your presentation and the video is always a highlight from all of the AISH emails I get.... OK< back to the topic at hand... About 8 years ago, I broke up with the man I thought I would be with for my entire life, but things developed, ok, so that is over. yet, we did discuss name changes if we were to marry, which was getting very close. We decided to hyphen both our names to create 'one' from the two, yet honoring BOTH family names and heritages that came with them. he came from a ultra-orthodox and me a total liberal ding dong. But out of respect for both, that was to be the decision and the way it would pan out. I agree with the 'oneness' and with confusion for kids and even adults, but why not hyphen ALL marriages to show respect for both lines..... It's all good..... Great to hear from you..... Stay cool and smile, it looks great on you! Guy

(8) Anonymous, July 6, 2010 1:01 AM

I totally agree

I totally agree and would love to have the opportunity to follow this message. Unfortunately, in Montreal, women are legally obliged to keep their birth names. To change names costs money and requires a certain number of years of marriage. What happens then is that women who want to follow Lori's advise go with their birth names in their professional lives, where everything goes by their legal names. Socially, however, they can choose to intruduce themselves as their husband's name. It is very confusing!

(7) Anonymous, July 5, 2010 12:37 AM


My fiance and I have thought about this dilemma and discussed it at length. I want to honor my father and mother by keeping my (sur)name, and yes, I have diplomas in my 'maiden' name. We have decided to hyphenate both of our names. We believe that we are two individuals joining to create one unit, one household, and neither of us want to lose our family names. Perhaps this is confusing, perhaps it doesn't make sense to others, but to us it is a special way of joining our individual selves into something new; we are both contributing to our relationship and are striving for 'oneness.'

(6) Anonymous, July 4, 2010 5:38 PM


Hi Lori, No, I don't think you're old-fashioned but one thing doesn't work for everyone. I'm a frum woman married over three decades who opted to revert to my birth name for a number of reasons. Hubby understood, and it has never been an issue between us. A husband and wife have myriad opportunities to honor one another each and every day of their marriage. IMHO, this isn't necessarily one of them. Continued hatslacha in all you do!

(5) Debora, July 4, 2010 2:37 PM

Good advice to follow

He is honoring her when he asks her to marry him and become a part of his family, she is honoring him when she takes his last name. When a girl is young she stays with her parents where they are responsible for her, when she marries, her husband is responsible for her, coz she becomes 'his', in the best way of the meaning. Eve was Adam's wife and he recognized her as 'his'... flesh of his flesh.... So even in ancient times when ppl didn't have last names, it was pretty clear who was whose wife. Women have to be aware that by taking husband's last name they don't lose nothing of their charm, wit or ability. If they think otherwise, they should not marry. BTW, being single mother by choice is terrible way of life, either for a mom and child. Although they might not deal with respect issue in their society, they usually lack means to support themselves and kids. And they just become part of sad statistic. Of course, it is generalization, there are some ppl who do well, but it is important to inform girls why is being single mom by choice - bad choice and stress out that its consequences will accompany them all life.... And yes, when I get married, I'll take my husband's surname :)

(4) Rebecca, July 4, 2010 2:18 PM

doesn't really matter

Personally I think that the husband and wife will ALWAYS be two unique, completely distinct people and having the same last name will not make them closer or create more "oneness". Yes, it's convenient for other people when everyone has the same last name--easier when they send you an invitation, i.e.. "The Cohens" instead of having to write each name separetely. But convenience is not the best reason to change one's name.And by the way, I just heard of a wedding where the husband is changing his last name to his wife's! Why not?

(3) Ginny, July 4, 2010 1:48 PM

Professional women

These days there are plenty of professional women who HAVE to keep their maiden name due to the almost insurmontable problems of trying to change to their married name due to issues related to licensing, certification, diplomas, etc. What does she do? Keep a professional name as well as a married name? Now that is confusing!

(2) lisa, July 4, 2010 12:47 PM

last..but not least

I think you are making too much out of's not confusing..only if you want it to be!!! Its so irrelevant...did Avraham & Sara have a last name?? Did Moshe?? Lets get to more meatier topics.....PS....Aish has a terrific author who they feature regularly...her name is Slovie Jungreis Wolff...why not ask her .........

(1) anonymous, July 4, 2010 6:31 AM

Why doesn't the husband take the wife's name?

That way they can 'STILL be one.


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