My divorce was sudden, traumatic, and scandalously public. Maybe that’s why some assumed I would change my name back to my maiden name after the divorce was final.
But with some distance (it’s been almost five years!), I can more objectively consider some of how the divorce will affect my future, and after some thought, I decided to not change my name after divorce. Here’s why.
Why I Kept My Name Married After Divorce?
- I am no longer the old me – I am no longer the person associated with my maiden name. That girl no longer exists. I am no longer the girl with the world ahead of me. Opportunities I had then, doors that were open to me then, were shut – some of them permanently. On the other hand, I am also no longer that insecure girl, unsure of her values, searching for her worth. Now, I am still making stupid mistakes, but they no longer define me. Now, I am More.
- My children – My ex-husband’s abandonment was sudden and traumatic. Like in many divorce cases, our children also experienced abandonment issues. Although their father sees them once a week, he is no longer part of their every day lives. He misses so much of the every day stuff that makes these amazing children who they are. Their last name is part of who they are. By keeping it, I hope to help minimize their feelings of abandonment. My ex-husband’s family has a history of brokenness. Breaking the cycle is a monumental task, but with God anything is possible. One part of the hope I have in breaking the cycle is providing my children with a positive association with their name. With the Grace of God, this cycle of cheating and divorce ends here. This might not make sense to others and there are those who will disagree. It’s not easy to explain, while it’s easy to judge from the outside.
- The annulment – Right now, my annulment is still in the works. I had thought it would be finalized months ago. It is a painful process, but technically, according to church, my husband and I are still married for better or worse. Could God have known what “for worse” would mean? YES! Could my ex and I get back together? I cannot imagine it! The thought makes me physically shudder, but I do believe in miracles (And Lord, if I thought Jesus walking on water was a miracle, my marriage working out would be…<speechless here>…beyond miraculous!)
- A future husband – It seems strange to think about getting married right after claiming I’m trying to follow the church’s idea of still being married, but I promised to be truthful here, and remarriage is something I have thought about. I do not know whether the Lord has plans for me to remarry or not, but if He does, I will take my new husband’s name, and I would prefer to minimize name changes. I truly believe marriage means my husband and I will become one. For me, this includes taking his name. I will trust God to protect me, as He has now, if that marriage falls apart. I will not keep my own name based on that possibility.
The first two points are very important to me, and I am not certain I explained any of the four right. I am still learning! 🙂
I have no opinions on those who keep or change their names after divorce. Divorce is such a deeply personal experience that the last thing any of us needs is to be judged or to judge others. I am simply explaining some of the reasoning behind my decision.
I’d love to hear what you decided and why. Please share in the comments below.
While I didn’t change my last name after divorce, I did change some things. Check back in tomorrow to hear about those!