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Take A Mans Last Name

Where in the bible does it tell you a woman has to take the mans last name when she marries him? What does it matter if she keeps hers?

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 ---judy on 3/14/09
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It stated in Eden
Mr Adam MAN
and Eve W0 MAN
---francis on 1/4/11


I like the idea of taking the mans' name and the unity it signifies. But It's not always for the best.
My niece and her husband are both lawyers. They were both well established in their individual careers before they married. If my niece changed her name, she would lose business and continuity with past legal documents bearing her name. It would cause ongoing confusion, No one would know who "Alicia Roberts" is!
---Donna66 on 1/2/11


While it is not directly addressed it stems from the scripture that says to be in Christ is to be one Spirit.
Paul spake of the "mystery" of Christ and the church through types and shadows of a man and his wife.
To take the man's last name gives the individuality of the first name while being joined as one.
---Frank on 1/2/11


The Bible talks about the two being united as one, but some pastors & denominations use scripture as legalism to control or stifling born-again people's concept of Christianity. A woman's choice of keeping her family name after marriage or hyphenating her name with her husbands is a "grey" area of individual conscience.


Paul talked about judging herb eaters VS eating meat or wearing make-up & attractive clothing VS dressing modestly without make-up.
Paul tells us NOT to scrutinize our brother or sister about their small, personal choices, We need to be looking at our OWN sin rather than dictate every small decision others make in their daily lives that do not hurt or damage.
---anita_ivette_ferrer on 1/1/11


Addressing: Mr. John Jones & Ms. Jane Jensen, or names in reverse order. It really doesn't matter who's first. I use Mom's maiden name, because it better reflects my Danish heritage. Someone asked my hubby if I took his name and he said "no she did not, I'm still Mr. Jones, and I did not take hers away from her either." He's awesome! It's the " & " between our names that really connects us. That, and our matching wedding bands.
---Leah on 1/1/11




It's true. If a woman shows reluctance to take her husband's surname, she does not love him enough to respect him. In my case, when I learnt his history of sexual immorality and infidelity, my attitude towards him and marriage was completely changed although God still wanted me to take his surname and comforted me by telling me that I'd be given a new name in heaven.

Moreover, I also think whoever pays for the wedding gets to keep his or her surname.
---Fairness on 3/29/10


\\ I haven't seen anywhere in the Bible except in the very beginning (Genesis) where a woman takes a man's last name.\\

Please tell me ONE place in Genesis where a surname--last name--is used.

Give book, chapter, and verse, please.
---Cluny on 6/25/09

If you go back and read from 1:26, all of the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Genesis, you will find that Eve was called "WOMAN" until after their fall from sin in 3:20.
Before the fall She took Adam's name- MAN.
---miche3754 on 6/30/09


drc0369 - *I am actually doing a study on the Sabbath now ...

subscribe to Proclamation magazine and you will find all you really need. You can also see all their articles online.
---Jamison on 6/28/09


In western society the tradition has long been to keep your fathers name. Most of us still do and it simplifies things.

When you think about it if a married woman keeps her surname it's a man's surname isn't it, her fathers!
---Warwick on 6/26/09


Hi Jamwao, I love the way you put that, the beauty of the marriage ceremony--wow! Even though I've said for a long time that I would never change my last name if I ever got married again, the man I love is such a treasure that if we someday marry, I just might change my mind lol! He is the rare type of man who would indeed commit himself to love, cherish and honor me and I feel the same about him. Anyway, my point being, you put it beautifully--God bless :)
---Mary on 6/26/09




There are of course several societies were this is not true. In China, Mongolia and others women keep their entire names after marriage.

My own sister kept her family name and put her married name(the husband's name) at the end of her name. We kid her about being proud of her family name.
---mima on 6/26/09


Post 1: There is no direct quote, but it is summed up in the right verses of scripture: Eph 5:22-24 NLT, For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. Now keep in mind this means everything according to gods word. I wont go into details, but use wisdom there. This falls into this verse, a wife is under her husbands covering when she marries and to keep her parents last name is not showing full commitment to him. Cont.
---drc0369 on 6/25/09


\\ I haven't seen anywhere in the Bible except in the very beginning (Genesis) where a woman takes a man's last name.\\

Please tell me ONE place in Genesis where a surname--last name--is used.

Give book, chapter, and verse, please.
---Cluny on 6/25/09


You know, Paul said that women should cover their hair and remain silent but he also said in the same breath that "there is no other custom than this."

Today, women in MOST of the world keep their surnames, but are under their husband's last name for legal purposes, such as Jane Smith family of Johnson. As others have said, it is correct, for many generations "son of" or "daughter of" has been used instead.

Surnames in America are simply a custom, and it is fine to abide by the custom, but it is certainly not a sin to keep your last name. Remember, everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. God gives us choice over these little aspects of life. Rejoice in it.
---cathy on 6/25/09


There is a lot I could say here. But in brief, while there may be no biblical commandment in regards to this issue. It is clear from scripture (Mal. 2:13-17) that in marriage the responsibility of taking care of the woman is transferred from the father to the husband through the marriage ceremony. The reason then that the man's surname is attached to the wife is to show that he has assumed that responsibility. From that point on he is to love, honor, care for, and cherish her till death. Now why would anyone want to make that a bad thing?
---Jamwao on 6/23/09


I haven't seen anywhere in the Bible except in the very beginning (Genesis) where a woman takes a man's last name.
People back then didn't have last names.
They were called "So-and-So son/daughter of so-and-so"
it was done for geneological purposes.
The last name thing came about to establish a new way of following geneology, taxes, class, race.
My opinion is that a woman should take her husbands last name out of respect for him. To give him reassurance that she is his wife only.
---miche3754 on 6/23/09


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So what last names do the children get if the woman doesn't adopt the mans name? Remember also that right from the begining it was the man that has the authority in the home.
---john on 6/22/09


The Bible says that the "two" are to become one flesh. There is no mention of last names. The important factor is to put Jesus Christ at the center of your relationship and to continue to work out your salvation with "fear and trembling".
---jody on 6/22/09


Wow this could turn anyone off of marriage
---Melanie on 6/22/09


There is no where in the bible that says you HAVE to take your husbands last name and that's that. It's a personal choice. People should be more concerned about the well being of a marriage not a last name. The changing of a last name is simply a tradition. If God does not say you have to change it then don't worry about what any MAN tells you. God comes first. Changing your last name doesn't make you loyal to your husband that's a choice. A name doesn't show that your married,you can change your name and not be faithful. Marriage is more than a name. Worry about the stuff that matters. The stuff that we keep you guys together.
---bri on 6/22/09


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It doesn't. I used to think that automatically his last name would be given to me unless I said something. Not the case. If I want his last name to be mine, I have to go to a specific offic branch to make it so.
---amand6348 on 5/10/09


Excellent BettyW: Genesis 5:2 clearly shows GOD'S intentions of placing Eve under Adam's umbrella of delegated authority.

Adam (man) was never intended to be in a position of superiority over Eve. Adam needed Eve & vice versa to fulfill God's plan & purpose for their lives (Gen. 1:27-28).

Eve (womb-man, the mother of all living) obviously kept her individual name (identity). God further identified her as equal but subordinate when He named her "ADAM" since the two (A & E) became one in essence but different in function when God married them.

As it was then (when God instituted marriage between ONE MAN & ONE WOMAN) so it is today! :)
---Leon on 5/8/09


It is a tradition, not a commandment. The use of a last name (surname) was intended to show "roots" or lineage. As the population grew it became important to know who came from who and where. As God chose the man to be head of house (and with that responsible to God for the household), custom became that the household would carry the man's name forward. Whether slave or free person, this custom has worked for at least 200 years in this country. Many people have an AKA (also known as)for their jobs while using the family name for the family. We are all equal but someone had to decide the buck stopped with the man or the woman... so the Bible says God did.
---mikefl on 3/22/09


Genesis 5:2 - "Male and female He created them, and blessed them and called their name Adam...."
---BettyW on 3/22/09


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The bible doesn't say that a woman needs to take the husband's last name. It is just an old custom from generations to generations. In all honesty, the woman takes the last name of her husband to be is out of respect. The women did have bridal showers or bridal presents, Genesis 24:53 and Psalms 45:12. Whomever said they won't look up verses on this because it doesn't matter was just plain rude. If you don't know, say you don't know but don't say you won't look up any verses if there was any. How will one know if there are verses if they don't take the time out to check?
---Rebecca_D on 3/20/09


BettyW: WHO says a wife SHOULD take the husband's name? You are talking about an old custom that was probably started when women were seen as belonging to their father's till they married, then they were treated as chattel. 100 years ago, you probably would have thought that women did not need the right to vote. After all, her husband could handle that for her as well.
---Trish9863 on 3/19/09


Actually, surnames were relatively rare in Biblical times. Generally, a person was known as "son/daughter of [father's given name]". It's only in the last few centuries that every one in the West as a surname.
---katavasia on 3/19/09


If it's not in the Bible, perhaps it doesn't matter! Can anyone find a scripture on this one, because, I am not going to look for one? Because, I don't really care enough to look for one.
---catherine on 3/19/09


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What an entertaining discussion about a quaint custom.
---mima on 3/19/09


Why not? If you are married you should have his name. Would you want people to think he is single? Read all about it. You two are one flesh - you should have one last name.
---BettyW on 3/18/09


** Tom2: Then why not have the husband take the wife's name?**

I've already given examples of this being done.

In fact, by law now in Hawaii, a married couple may adopt either surname, or combine or hypenate them any way they see fit, or keep their original surnames.
---katavasia on 3/17/09


Tom2: Then why not have the husband take the wife's name?

It is a cultural more, not a Biblical rule.


More excellent way: As for the silly argument about the children, my son and daughter-in-law have a very solid marriage and their children will be very secure in the love that their parents have for each other, and for them, if the Lord sees fit to bless them when the time comes. The mother's name has nothing to do with the children's emotional security. What a silly idea.
---Trish9863 on 3/16/09


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there is some scripture references that God will change names in heaven as he has done here.so my question would be if God changes your name will you object then also?
---tom2 on 3/16/09


**I believe that a woman who does not love her husband enough to take his name dishonors God and him.**

As I said, this is merely a custom, showing that the woman enters her husband's family.

In nations with more stratified social classes, such as the UK, if the wife's status is higher, her husband might well take his.

Queen Elizabeth remains Elizabeth Windsor, since she's on the highest rung of the social ladder, though her children are properly Montbatten-Windsor.

I understand that Princes William and Harry use the surname Wales.
---katavasia on 3/16/09


Naoma: "The principle of this custom is found in the very first marriage." True! Yet, some may argue Adam gave the woman (Eve) a 1st, not a surname. True too! Afterall, Adam had the God-given ability to name the other creatures as well. (G2:19-20)

I believe Eve's surname (married name) was established by God, i.e., wife of Adam, Eve Adam. (G1:27, 2: 18, 21-24) So, I question the motives of "married" women who choose to keep their maiden name in place of their married name.

I understand for professional & family legacy reasons the need to keep one's maiden name, but, I believe it should be linked with a wife's married name. A wife is "one with her husband" or...
---Leon on 3/16/09


The principle of this custom is found in the very first marriage. In Gen. 2:7, God created man first. In Gen. 2:23 Adam said what Eve would be called. Eve did not say what Adam should be called.In Gen. 3:20, Adam changed her name to Eve. Since that time men have changed women's name to theirs when they marry. In Ephesians 5:22-24, we read how God commands that a wife be in submission to her husband because he is her authority in marriage as Christ is the head of the church.
I believe that a woman who does not love her husband enough to take his name dishonors God and him.
---Naoma on 3/15/09


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JUDY:- Genesis3:16 If you marry he rules which means His name. IMHO
---MIC on 3/15/09


I don't think it does matter, unless it's an issue for either party. In fact, it's much easier for a woman to keep her own name, if I ever marry again, I will keep my name--sooooo much trouble to change it lol
---Mary on 3/15/09


If you are going to be fully committed to the marriage, then there should be no objection to taking the husband's name.

Beyond the MARRIAGE issue, if you are going to have children and become a MOTHER that is fully committed to her children and give them a good life, then you will have to stop all this petty objection to a "name change".

Children should grow up in a good, solid/unified and peaceful family. If that's not going to happen, the most humane thing to do is to not have them.

Statistics are that most children of divorced parents grow up with depression into late adulthood or beyond because the parents are no longer unified and the children have lost IDENTITY (and feel they should never have been born).
---more_excellent_way on 3/14/09


It is not in the Bible
It does not happen in all cultures
It does not matter
---alan8566_of_UK on 3/15/09


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This is no more than a social custom. Basically, it shows that the woman enters the man's family.

In Iceland and Greenland, one's surname is usually the father's given name, with the suffix -sohn or -datter, which a woman keeps when she marries. Ethiopia has a similar custom.

In Hispanophone cultures, the man appends the woman's surname to his own (frequently with the conjunction "y") and the woman adds the husband's surname with the preposition "de". Properly, a married woman is not Seora Gonzalez, but Seora de Gonzales.
---katavasia on 3/15/09


Taking the last name of the husband is traditional not Biblical. If a woman is known in her own right professionally she can still use the last name by which she is known professionally. I even know of an an instance where a husband's last name was foreign hard to pronounce and spell and he chose to change his last name to that of his wife. So you are in reality not locked onto any course of action and free to choose an alternative that suits you both.
---Phil_the_Elder on 3/15/09


It says nothing in the Bible about a woman losing her name at marriage. Now many women have careers where they are known for who they were before they married, not to mention the royal hassle of the paperwork of changing your name. I took back my maiden name after my divorce. Not sure if I ever marry again, I will change my name again.

My daughter-in-law did not change her name when she married my son. She is an actress, in New York, and already had a reputation in the theater community using her name. I support her in keeping her name. It just gets confusing when I address mail to them.
---Trish9863 on 3/15/09


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