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Name change after marriage gradually losing importance, Lagos residents react

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Lagos, March 11, 2019 Some Lagos residents on Monday gave diverse reasons why name change for married women was no longer seen as significant immediately after the wedding had been consummated.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews that the complexity involved in name change had discouraged many married women.

Some ladies thought that it implied losing their identity as individuals; others believed that their career provided a valid rationale for keeping their maiden names.

Some were also of the view that retaining their maiden names alongside their spouse names thus bearing compound names as their surnames would open doors of opportunities for them.

Some others thought answering one’s maiden name after marriage was utterly disrespectful to the men who got married to those women; hence, the woman is usually described as the man’s better half.

NNN reports that in many cultures in Nigeria, the woman after being married is expected to assume the name of her spouse.

However, this commonly held tradition is changing as it no longer holds the importance and value it once did.

Mrs Elizabeth Shittu, an insurance sales’ agent, said she had been married for almost eight years and had always considered name change a hassle.

“For me, it is the hassle involved in name change that totally discourages me.

“The thought of having to effect the change at my bank, place of work and then swearing an affidavit that proves I no longer bear my father’s name is not at the top of my priority list.

“If the process isn’t so stressful, maybe a lot of us, married women, will have considered it.

“Thankfully, my husband is not bothered, which means everybody is happy,’’ Shittu said.

Mrs Titilayo Adeshina, a business woman, said it never occurred to her that she had to change her maiden name to her husband’s name.

“It is funny that I always thought being married is just about having the prefix `Mrs’ in front of my name.

“Truthfully, I don’t think I have a problem with changing my surname from that of my father to my husband’s own.

“However, as the only living soul in the Adeshina family, I don’t think it is a good idea to change my surname.

“It is particularly disheartening that when I die someday, the name will die with me.’’

A medical doctor, who wished to be addressed as Amara, said when she finally finds a man to settle down with, her plan is to explain to him reasons she will never change her last name.

“As a medical doctor, I do not think I want to change my last name and most importantly, my last name is my mother’s maiden name.

“As her only child, I have decided to keep it.

“My mum single handedly raised me, because my father refused to acknowledge that I am his biological daughter,’’ she said.

Mr Gbadamosi Ariyo, a secondary school teacher, told NNN that sometimes the harsh realities of life could make one forget some of these important traditions.

“When my wife and I got married in 2012, we had several challenges we battled with as newlyweds and if anyone had suggested a name change then, we would not have given it a thought.

“In my opinion, I think life dishes out too much in this part of the world and I am sure some people have similar experiences with us.

“I was not bothered about my wife changing her surname to mine, and I am still not going to pressure her into changing her last name.

“She has shown her commitment to me as a good wife and taking my name is nothing compared to the experiences we have shared.

“I have an amazing woman by my side, my children bear my father’s name and that is more than enough for me,’’ Ariyo said.

On the other hand, Mr Rotimi Oladipupo, a sales’ executive, said he is an old-fashioned person who took tradition seriously.

He said that he would count it an insult to himself and his entire family for his wife to retain her father’s name under his roof.

“I personally don’t think there is any sense in a woman being unnecessarily adamant about not changing her last name after marriage.

“Also, I think it is disrespectful to me if she decides to bear a compound name: a combination of her father’s name and that of her husband.

“The moment you make a decision as a woman to tie the knot, certain changes come with it that must be taken seriously,’’ Oladipupo said.

Oladipupo said he was completely taken aback when a video of a Yoruba lady, who refused to kneel before her husband at their traditional wedding, went viral on one of the social media platforms.

“It is a complete disregard to the culture, family and every individual that was present at the function. It is even more painful that the society accepts these shameful acts.

“I think a lot of things are changing our cultural values and I, as a man, will not stand to be insulted by a woman I choose to marry.

“So, yes! I do not see why I have to ask my wife to change her last name. She is married to me and I expect that changing her surname will be the next step after getting married.

“The basis of getting married in the first instance suggests that the two must become one. A spouse’s commitment starts to show from taking your husband’s father’s name.

“Nothing should give my fiancée more pride and joy than changing her last name to mine,’’ Oladipupo said.

Mrs Mujidatu Adegoke, a retired civil servant, told NNN that back in the days past, it was a joyful thing to immediately change your last name as woman to your husband’s family name.

“It is surprising that what gave a lot of women pride and dignity in our days is now seen as a hassle.

“I wonder if the children of today ever consider the joy it gives a man when you make him see how much you respect him by changing your last name as a woman to his.

“He made a decision to marry you out of love, so no matter where you come from or for whatever reasons, a woman changing her last name to her husband’s surname is not up for discussion,’’ Adegoke said.

Pastor Ade Philip told NNN that name change after marriage was physical evidence that a woman is married.

“Every woman should proudly answer her husband’s name after marriage. It is a sign of unification to each other and the children they will both bring to the world.

“The couple will bring confusion and discord into a growing family when the children find that their parents answer different names.

“I believe that this issue should be addressed when intending couples are being counseled. The importance of name change can never be over emphasised,’’ Phillip said.

© 2019 NNN NEWS NIGERIA. EDITOR@NNN.COM.NG