The Name-Game:Is a woman who hyphenates her last name not submitting to her husband?

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Is a woman who hyphenates her last name (keeping both her maiden and married name) not submitting fully to her husband? 

This is a question I saw recently on Facebook, as well as the comment I posted in response.  I wanted to share this with all of you in hopes of getting your feedback.The question itself was genuine, and not meant in a negative way.  A new bride was sincerely asking for the opinions of those she knows.  The slew of comments that followed were, in some cases, heartbreaking.  They lead me to do a little research into the ‘new’ movement where husbands are taking on the last names of their wives as opposed to the wives taking on the last name of her husband. Read both the question and the comment I posted in response… Out of the 26 responses to this question, mine was completely ignored by all except the writer of the original question… So, what are your thoughts, and what Bible verses/principles/cultural depictions of the people of God do you use to support your view?

“I have not read the other comments…so no offense intended if there is any…when we choose to BECOME ONE with a man, we are doing just that…becoming ONE…in order for that to work we both    must die to our own selfish ambition and become a different person…a blending of the two…part of that for Eve is the taking on of her husband’s name and what that represents (wo+man=woman)… what it communicates to the world around us. It communicates that we are women who are under authority and consider it a blessing to be covered in life by first, the Lord, then by our earthly fathers whose name we bear until our marriage, and again that covering and protection and provision is passed to our husbands, and is signified by the taking of their name. (1Peter 3, Ephesians 5) It is a sign of honor and respect as well as encouragement and edification to our husbands. It demonstrates love and trust. That said, it is anti-feminist and is another aspect of marriage where we (Christian women) tend to take on the mindset of the world and follow their cultural trends rather than the culture designed by the Word. But it’s big deal…just a hyphen…but the communicates the opposite of what our marriages as believers are supposed to communicate to the world we live in. It doesn’t communicate unity or oneness or sacrifice, it communicates division, and a reluctance to really take on our husbands name and hang on to our own is communicating that Eve is still alive and well. We (women) are the greatest influencers in the lives of our husbands and our children, and everything we do will either communicate our obedience and submission to God, or our rebellion and disobedience to Him.  So does God’s word explicitly tell us not o use a in our names when married? No, but it does tell us to submit to our husbands as unto the Lord. Have we taken on Christ’s name? Do we hyphenate it so that we can maintain our independence/identity with our old sinful nature and our new nature? Do we even think about these ‘minor’ issues in light of our marriage relationships mirroring our relationship with Christ? And if we still can’t come to an understanding, it’s always a great ides to ask our husbands how it would make them feel, really, and what it communicates about our hearts for them.  Some women hold on to their last name because they have children prior to marriage or from a previous marriage and don’t want their kids to not have the shared identity of their last name…. I understand these cases as well, but we have to understand that the relationship between a man and his wife is the ONLY relationship on earth that is called to represent the relationship that Christ has with his bride…it is to supercede all others…

This is the post. What feedback do you have? Agree. Disagree. I would really like to know 😀 And what about men taking on the last name of their wives???? Have you even heard of that? I truly look forward to hearing from you!


6 thoughts on “The Name-Game:Is a woman who hyphenates her last name not submitting to her husband?

    peacefulwife said:
    October 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Joyfully Submitted,

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your answer! What a clear and concise explanation of the holiness and unity of marriage and the significance of taking on our husbands’ name. I especially love how you showed the protection, provision and authority of our fathers being represented by us bearing their name and that all of that is transferred to our husband when we marry – and the name change signifies those incredibly powerful attributes of the marriage relationship.

    That a man would take on a wife’s last name speaks volumes about where feminism has led us as a culture. I have never heard of that! But I think it would be symbolic of the wife having control and power in the relationship and if that were the case – the marriage will suffer tremendously under the strain of being so opposed to God’s holy design.

    Sometimes those little things that seem so insignificant – those small symbolic things – are actually important (not because there is power inherent in the hyphen) but because of what it represents.

    Spiritual authority and the hierarchy of God’s authority structure God>Christ>Husband>Wife is a cornerstone of God’s design of marriage and is crucial in our ability to portray the living parable of the very great mystery of Christ and the church. When we tamper with God’s design – we invite disaster.

    Total submission to Christ is the only road I have found that leads to abundant life, peace, joy and the power of God at work in my life. I pray that this generation of women might discover the delight and joy of God’s design for us to submit to Him and to respect and submit to our husbands – even in the smallest details.


      joyfullysubmitted responded:
      October 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Peacefulwife, thank you so much for posting a comment and sharing your thoughts!!! Very well said…The joy and peace found in following God’s deign and perfect plan will always b greater then the misery we usually find when we choose to do it our way. While there is no direct command to change our name, there is a direct command to submit both to the Lord and to our husbands. The blessings experienced by obeying both are immeasurable!!!


    Kayla Gulick said:
    October 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I LOVE this post! Great answer! I totally agree.

    I do know a couple in our community in which the wife hyphenated her last name, and so the husband did as well. They both “took each others name” so they could match. I think that shows a clear sign that the autority of the home is equal. And it is a result of the feminist movement that was started by the sinful nature and flesh of women who rebelled against God.

    I find it so weird that women are unwilling to change their names now. Just over 10 years ago, I couldn’t WAIT to change my last name to match my husband. I wanted to be “his.” I felt like it was another very special thing he was giving to me that he doesn’t give to anyone else.

    I appreciate you sharing your comment here. I know it won’t be popular with all… but I believe it is a beautiful reflection of scripture.


      joyfullysubmitted responded:
      October 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks Kayla! We know that any perpsective that agrees with or upholds the standards/cultural customs of God’s Word will not be popular…Our Savior wasn’t popular…and as we learn to stand for righteousness more and more neither will we be…that’s why we must stand together! Thanks for sharing your joy at taking on your husbands last name. The security of that is only second to taking the name of Christ, who humbled himself and put on human flesh, gave his life and died for us. What an amazing example of submission we have to pattern ourselves after!!!!


    Benjamin Pennington said:
    November 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm


    You are amazing. I am thrilled that you decided to start tackling this topic; it is something that has been on my own heart and mind. My thoughts led me to question this as well. I knew that in Spaniard cultures, the hyphenation of the wife’s name was normal (although I do not know the reasoning behind it), which is something that they have been doing for generations. But what does it mean in our own culture? I have pondered this myself, and I think that it goes beyond submission to the husband (as you have rightly pointed out). It goes to the point of not submitting to ANY authority. And why not? Although I love my country, let’s be honest, that is how our country was founded. We failed to submit to God’s authority, and I believe that we are paying for that sin by perpetuating it.

    I love the way you worded this: “It doesn’t communicate unity or oneness or sacrifice, it communicates division, and a reluctance to really take on our husbands name and hang on to our own is communicating that Eve is still alive and well.” Now, when I look at the Bible, what I see is instructions and edification for CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES. Having studied Ephesians recently, I started to notice some things that shed a TON of light for me on Ephesians 5 and 6. This epistle is about family. SPECIFICALLY, it is about how the family of God should look in comparison with those of the world. The language he uses is so blatantly family oriented, and so eternally rooted in Christ. For instance,

    (1) We have the Father (1:2-3) and His mighty work in predestining us through the finished work of Christ.
    (2) Paul makes it plain that this predestining salvation is by grace alone, while dead in our trespasses (2:1-10).
    (3) Paul stresses our exclusion and then grafting into the family of God because while dead in our trespasses as Gentiles we were “alienated from the COMMONWEALTH of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise” (2:12), but now are brought near (2:13).
    (4) and create in himself ONE NEW MAN IN PLACE OF TWO, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in ONE BODY (2:15)

    (5) Now “we both [Jew and Gentile] have access in one Spirit to the Father…” and are “members of the HOUSEHOLD of God” (2:18-19).
    (6)This inclusion of Gentiles was once a “mystery [whereby] the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body” (3:6).
    (7) So in the Father “every FAMILY (or all fatherhood in the Greek) in heaven and on earth is named” (3:14-15).
    (8) Chapters 4 and 5 seem to bridge much of this material together. WE DO NOT WALK AS THE GENTILES (non-believers) do any longer (4:17) and put off the old self (4:22), but instead we walk wisely (5:15) and put on the new self (4:24).
    (9) We are to be imitators of Christ “as BELOVED CHILDREN” (5:1)

    So what I see at the end is this: But we are filled with the Spirit (5:18b). We look to Christ as our example (5:1-2), we now walk at children of light (5:8b-21). We live ordered and non-chaotic relationships (5:22-6:9) that are submissive, and how do we now protect that orderly life from the attacks that come from the Enemy (spiritual armor of God; see 6:10-20).

    Truly, what women (and men) have been sold is a beautifully packaged bundle of C4 explosive lies. This is what happens to marriages when the armor of God is not put on. Can you imagine hyphenating your last name with Christ? Benjamin Wordly-Christian. Or Benjamin Satanic-Christian. You are so right, Selena, in pointing out that women that take this approach start the marriage in division, much like a marriage with a pre-nup. And men taking women’s last names? That is an issue of a man with a deeply wounded heart; a man living in the passive nature of Adam.

    I do not want to say that all live this rebelliously that hyphenate. Sometimes it is not so much a heart problem as an ignorance problem. But what does that say about the leaders of the Church. If the Bible is written for Kingdom Communities, then it is time that we focus on the Church’s understanding of submitting to Christ and let the world see that we live differently, exactly what Ephesians is telling us to do! Let the world be independent, arrogant and full of vain self-worship, and let US stop following their lead.


      joyfullysubmitted responded:
      November 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      Benjamin what a phenomenal response!! I am planning to post your comment as a follow-up post if that’s ok with you :D? This is a ‘hot’ topic, and getting hotter as women fight to reconcile their independent identity to their new identity in Christ. What is lost in translation is that the two cannot be reconciled. We must take on HIS identity and die to our own…. Thanks for commenting!!


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