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Joined: Jun 2007
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adams27 Offline OP
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Hi, I am currently in a marriage with some major problems (including 2 children, age 3 & 2 months....they are not the problems ). I guess I could type all of them here but I think it would take to long so I will try to stick to one problem that came up tonight. Actually it is just a new twist to an existing problem.

After we engaged my wife said that she was not to excited about changing her name but never said no. In later conversations with family/friends she implied that she was going to go through with the name change. We are currently five years into our marriage & she still has yet to change it.

Tonight during one of our many arguments, she stated that she never said she was going to change her name, now she never said that previously and we have argued about it in the past.

I guess my overall complaint is that I have never felt that she has sacrificed anything for me in our relationship and this is just another example. I would have preferred not to spend a ton of money on her engagement ring but I did. So I guess I am just looking for advice, I don't think I am the type of guy to be a stickler about the name change but there have been so many other issues (mainly sexual disinterest) that it just really bothers me that she never did.

Also, tonight I said that I should just take back the engagement ring as that was my symbol of my love, is that wrong? I understand that some women don't want to change their names because it is based on sexist traditions, but why doesn't that include the engagement ring? She seems to view the engagement ring as a symbol of our relationship but not the name change?

Thanks in advance for any advice/opinions.

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Hi there! Your message caught my eye because I also did not change my name. My husband and I were together for 6 years before getting married and during that time my decision about name changing went through some changes too. It was a hard decision and was very symbolic for me. My husband was also confused that at some times I'd be okay with it and at other times I'd be adamant that it was wrong for me. I'm telling you this so that you can maybe consider that your wife isn't sharing all of her feelings with you regarding her name change. There are other reasons besides sexist traditions too. Mine is because if I change my name, no one will know I'm Hispanic because I'm so fair skinned. That might seem odd but, it's very important to me. Maybe your wife has a unique reason that she thinks you might not understand? Just a thought... about the ring: you said it was a symbol of your love and that you said you should take it back. Are you trying to tell her that you want to take your love back? She wears your ring which tells the world that she is "taken", so it must mean the same to her. Anyway, I totally agree with you that this isn't mainly about the name change, it's about the sacrifices and you not getting your needs met. My advice would be to try to get to the root of the problem and avoid talking about rings and names, which are just symbols. I hope you can both be really honest and get to the bottom of this for your happiness and your kids!
best of luck,
Allison

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screw that, she should change it, what last name will the kids have, lame

tell her to build a bridge and get over it

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Adam, you know it was wrong to ask for her ring back. You might as well have asked for a divorce.

I get the sense you are ambivalent about whether you stay married to your wife. You should read some of threads on the Divorcing board or After Divorce board where spouses wish they could get their ex's back.

It is incredibly difficult to be a part time parent. Plus, you still have to work with, and try to cooperate with your ex. And then, there's the financial cost. Being divorced with children to support means a dramatic change in standard of living. It is not something to be undertaken lightly.

Please read some of Dr. Harley's books, like LOVEBUSTERS to start. And read up on the Policy of Joint Agreement. It is actually a GOOD thing your wife has not made sacrifices for you. What good came to your marriage when you sacrificed to buy that ring? Hmmm? So far, what I see is that it built resentment in you and a sense that because you did this for her, she should suffer for you. It is bad for a relationship when we get our happiness at the expense of our partner's happinees, even if we do it unwittingly. Following the POlicy of Joint Agreement will prevent that from happening.

Also, read the letter about fighting. Fighting is not good for relationships and needs to stop. If you feel like a disagreement is escalating to an arguement or fight, take a break. Say "Honey, I'm getting upset about this. I'd like to take a break until I'm more calm." You don't even need to wait for her reply. Just walk away.

NOTE: Adam, it may seem like I'm pickign on you, and ignoring your wife's part. I know she's playing a role in all this, but she's not here looking for help. You want to the situation to change. The fastest way to change the situation is to change your actions. By you changing, you force your wife to reconsider her actions and reactions. This does not mean she's going to start jumping your bones every night. That is a more complicated issue. It does mean you can make it much more likely she'll want to desire sex.

As for the name change, let that go for now. If everything else were great in your marriage, would it be a big deal? Maybe, maybe not. If everything else were in order, you might not need that demonstration of her commitment.

BTW, I have a thought on counseling. Your wife may be more motivated to go to counseling if it were marriage counseling. She may be motivated to "fix" your behavior. That's not a bad place to start. A good marriage counselor will be able to bring out that she may need to make changes herself. At least you've got her to the table. Just make sure you have a REALLY, really good MC. Get references and check them. Ask your pastor and other pastors, rabbis, whatever, if the MC has been successful as far as they know, especially in dealing with complicated dynamics.

Too many MCs are whimpy. Some just suggest "Putting the fun back into your marriage." Others won't call a spouse on not doing homework, not participating or lying. And others may take sides. What I don't want to happen is for you to get a mediocre MC who hears about your verbal abuse and automatically puts all the ills of the relationship on that. There is no excuse for verbal abuse. That said, I think there's a LOT more going on in your relationship.


Divorced.
2 Girls
Remarried 10/11/08
Widowed 11/5/08
Remarrying 12/17/15
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Perhaps, part of your wife's reluctance to change her name may be tied to her PERSONAL identity. To how she sees herself. Perhaps, she has a well-developed sense of individuality and fears losing that. Perhaps, she has has a very tenuous poorly-formed sense of individuality and is afraid of losing it.

There could be things going on that she doesn't know how to express. It may not be a rejection of you or your family but it could be a need to embrace herself.

When I married, I willingly and gladly changed my name. Did you know it is a LOT of work to deal with the name change. You have to change your driver's license, bank accounts, credit cards, Social Security card, magazines, all that stuff. Then, if you forget to change something and you go to do business with that company, you may spend quite some time waiting for them to find the account. You have to change your mental programing - your image of yourself. It's a pain in the neck.

At the time of my divorce, I kept my x's name because I had disliked my maiden name. When he married another woman, I chose a name from my family tree and changed my last name again. This time, because I followed the proper procedures, my birth certificate was ammended so that my yucky maiden name is GONE. I now have a name I have chosen - first, middle, and last.

My boyfriend - who was not my boyfriend at the time of the name change but who was a friend at that time - knows what a major decision that was for me. He knows that the new name is part of my healing. He feels that I should never ever marry a man who even thinks that I should change my name to please him. He has told me that any man who expects me to change my name is not worthy.

Perhaps you have not considered that your wife's name may mean something to her that you don't understand. It may embody her parents, grandparents, siblings: remember that the woman you love was formed by many life experiences which don't include you. Perhaps she is unsure of your unconditional, undying love for her.

That name is a label. Just that. A label. It identifies her. It does not define her. If you love her, do you love her because of who she is? You chose her. Is she not good enough?

I know it is easier when everyone in the family has the same last name. But, are the people different or better because they have the same name? I live with that on a daily basis. My children and I no longer have the same last name. But, we are the same people regardless of our labels.

What if one of your children decided to change his/her name when they become a legal adult? Will you deprive them of your continuing love and support?

Your wife's clinging to the name she had before she married you may have meaning you don't yet grasp. She may not even know why it is so important to her.

I have heard of couples who had their individual names - she retained her maiden name for personal and business purposes - but they agreed to be known collectively as Mr. & Mrs. His Name. There is no ONE way to be properly named.

I don't mean to downplay your need for her to have your name but I want to help you understand why she may not want to go through the process of changing it. Is this a 'hill to die on' or just a difference of opinions. Do you want eveyone in the family to have the same name or do you want to be happily married? You may have to chose between the two.

You both would do well to learn about love busters and POJA.

Joined: Sep 2005
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Adams,

I take it you have a 2mo. That's a lot of work, alone, on top of a 3yo. I probably sound rude, and for that I apologize, but could you drop it until life settles a bit and she has the free time to change her name (if she chooses)? It is a LOT of paperwork, and a fair amount of time (not to mention a PITA), sending copies of marriage certs out to everyone, filling in all the details, etc to change a name, even after the legality is resolved. Credit cards, bank statements, driver's license, vehicle registration, loans, to name a few.

And it is normal (not desirable, but normal) for a woman to have reduced need for SF so soon after a baby. She's dealing with weight changes, hormone fluctuations, and 24/7 childcare (and does she work in addition to this?) Try to help her out as much as possible, and make sure to get a babysitter so you guys have date night and/or alone time (I recommend weekly), whichever she finds comfortable. SF will come back! And patience, support, and understanding from you will go a long way. Can you ask her for SF, just for yourself? Does she understand how important this is to you?

Whoops, just read your other thread. Sounds like more than baby changes. I highly suggest you start using protection, b/c you are going to be a father again pronto if you don't. Maybe do a little updating on your technique, and ask her if you could try something to see if she liked it...(look up Tommy Leonardi on Amazon.com)

Last edited by chobbs; 06/27/07 03:24 PM.

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