8 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Last Name (and 6 Reasons I Did)

In less than one week, I’ll be getting married! Once I’m back from my honeymoon, it will be time to adjust to a whole lotta change—a new address, a new roommate . . . and a new name. One item I can already see on my to-do list is:

Go to the social security office and officially change my last name.

I thought you might be interested in why I chose to change my name. So first, here are the reasons that are not motivating me:

  1. I’m not changing my last name because my husband defines me or because he’s my whole world. He’s not.
  2. I’m not changing my last name because I don’t like it. I love the name “Hendricks.” I’ve been a Hendricks—and proud of it—for thirty-two whole years.
  3. I’m not changing my last name because it’s fun or easy. From what I hear, it will be “a marathon, not a sprint” and will include a lot of trips and phone calls to a whole lot of different places.
  4. I’m not changing my last name because it’ll be a good move for my writing career. (FYI: I think I’ll use “Paula Hendricks Marsteller” online for now until people get used to my new name.)
  5. I’m not changing my last name because Trevor coerced me—or even asked me—to change it; this is all me.
  6. I’m not changing my last name for tradition’s sake. (Who cares if “that’s the way it’s always been done”?)
  7. I’m not changing my last name because I think Trevor and I aren’t equal. We have equal value because we both bear God’s image (Gen. 1:27).
  8. I’m not changing my last name because my identity is changing. I am still dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. I am still a sinner-turned-saint-by-the-grace-of-God.

So why on earth am I changing my last name?

When I began to follow Jesus Christ, I was given His name: “Christian.” Now that I belong to Trevor Marsteller, I will carry his name as well.

  1. I am changing my last name because we’re no longer two, but one flesh (Matt. 19:6).
  2. I am changing my last name because my authority structure has changed. Now instead of obeying my dad, I will obey Trevor Marsteller. Yes, we are equal, but God has given us different roles in our relationship, and I joyfully choose to submit to this man.
  3. I am changing my last name because I belong to another now. When I began to follow Jesus Christ, I was given His name: “Christian.” Now that I belong to Trevor Marsteller, I will carry his name as well.
  4. I am changing my last name because we will never, ever divorce, and I don’t have to worry about what might happen in the future with my last name. (Just to be clear, I’m not naïve enough to believe that Trevor and I will always feel love for each other. But we are both wholeheartedly committed to loving each other with Christ’s love for this lifetime, as marriage is not ultimately about us but serves as a visible picture of God’s never-giving-up love for His bride, the Church.)
  5. I am changing my last name because I believe this choice shows honor and respect to Trevor. And that is what I am committed to—showing him honor and reverence for as long as we both shall live, whether I feel like he’s acting in a manner worthy of respect at all times or not (Eph. 5:33).
  6. I am changing my last name because I no longer have to fight for “my rights.” Jesus temporarily laid aside His name (“King of kings and Lord of lords”), His position (Ruler of the Universe), and His rights (to be worshiped and adored by all His creatures). He did this so I might take His name and live with and belong to Him forever. Because of His humility, God the Father has given Jesus the name that is above every name. For this reason, it is my joy to bow my knee and submit my life to King Jesus—and to the man He has given me for this short period before eternity (Phil. 2:5–11).

How about you? Have you thought about whether or not you’ll take your future husband’s last name? Why or why not?

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on PaulaWrites.com.

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