As a man I never gave much thought to the fact that many women lose their identity when they get married. Yes, it’s by choice but tradition denotes that women generally give up their surname when they get hitched in order to carry on their husband’s family name. It’s far from fair, but it’s just the way things are.
Even before the Mrs. and I knew we were going to walk down the aisle, we had a completely different conversation about the subject. A few years ago I made the decision that I would buck the system and actually change my name when I got married. It didn’t matter who the bride-to-be was because I wasn’t planning on taking her surname but my mother’s maiden name.
My father never played a major role in my life, so my maternal grandfather, Barthelmy Jules Rocque, served as my primary male role model until he passed away when I was 10 years old. I always liked my grandfather’s last name but being that he only had one son and my uncle and his wife decided not to have kids I knew that the Rocque name would likely die with my uncle.
For years I toyed with the idea of naming my first-born son Rocque in memory of my grandfather, until I got the idea that adopting his surname would be a better homage. Rather than make the change right away I decided to wait until I found the woman that would become my wife so we could go through the name change process together as a family. Well, that’s assuming my then-unknown bride-to-be would even want to take that legal leap with me.
After my wife and I got engaged and started planning for our big day, a fair share of our pre-wedding conversations were about whether or not she was going to be my “Rocque Starr” or some variation of the names on our respective family trees. For a while, she planned to just hyphenate and I was completely fine with that. She’s an individual who’s built her own name as a journalist and, as a writer myself, I understand that her byline is her brand. However, as we got closer to the wedding date my wife made the decision to give me the ultimate gift and fully take on the Rocque name.
As of January 14, 2012 the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett was no more and Rocque la Familia was born. What started as a tribute to my grandfather now has a much deeper meaning. In changing our names neither my wife nor I have lost our identity in marriage, but redefined who we are as a family by not following tradition and opting to create our own.
Would you change your name for love? Sound off!
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, New York-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.