Back on my soapbox

Traverse City’s community weekly has a profile this week on a local lawyer, Enrico Schaefer, who specializes in Internet law. In telling his background, it contains this sentence about his marriage:

” ‘In an act of love that few husbands would even consider, Enrico also took Nan’s last name to carry on her family name. “She’s one of seven sisters, so her family line was likely coming to an end,” he notes.’

I’m heartened by Mr. Schaefer’s decision – who now doubles to two the number of matrilineal men I’ve come across in my life. But the context of the sentence riles me: “In an act of love.” It implies that not taking a spouse’s name must be the opposite of an act of love — an act of rejection, of selfishness, of lack of commitment to the marriage.


Taking or keeping a name is a personal preference. Multiple factors come into play: Fairness, as Schaefer notes, and genealogic continuity. Tradition. Career or professional status. Religious beliefs. Age. Educational attainment. Whether or not the couple plans to have children. Marital history, especially important if there are already children from past relationships.

But not love.

What do you think?

Image credit: Me. Takin’ names boots, Zany Consignment Boutique.

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