Of names and changes.
I have always put a lot of stock in names and the meaning of names. My first name, "Bethany" has always been pretty weighty to me because it's biblical and I felt a deep sense of responsibility to be worthy of name that's in the Bible. My middle name is "Raelene" and I love it, I have always loved it. Growing up, there were a couple of other girls named "Beth" in school but I never met anyone with the name "Raelene" and I secretly wished that it was my first name. My last name, "Joyce" I also love, although it has always been confusing for older women who always assumed it was my first name and I can't deny that it's a bit of a relief to not have to deal with that anymore. Oh what's that? Why won't people be calling me "Joyce" anymore? Because it's not my last name anymore!!!
I spent this morning at the Social Security Administration and then the DMV, waving my certified copy of our marriage license in people's face and being confused as to why they weren't as excited about my new last name as I was. Didn't they know this was a BIG DEAL?! Didn't they know that I had been waiting my whole life for this moment? When I took a (Bob Ross!) painting class in middle school, I consciously made the decision to sign my name "Bethany Raelene" because I knew that if I got married, I would be changing my last name and just in case I became a super famous painter, I wanted all my early work to have the same name as my later work. Yes, this is the real reason why I use "Bethany Raelene" for all my art, including my photography business. Now, if only my painting career would take off, this logic wouldn't seem so ridiculous. :)
And now that I am married (!!!), and have officially changed my last name (!!!), I can continue using "Bethany Raelene" for all my artsy-fartsy business... but you can bet your last dollar that I will be using my new last name ever single chance I get!
"Hi, my name is Bethany Recaido, have you met my husband Joshua Recaido? Oh what's that? Why can't I stop smiling??? Duh. It's because I have the same last name as MY HUSBAND!"
I am so in love with having the same last name as my husband, the love of my life. I know a lot of women agonize over wether or not to change their last name... but for me, there was never a question. Of course I would change my name, of course I would have the same last name as my husband, of course I would have the same last name as the children I might have some day. The Bible states very clearly that man and wife are to become one and I believe that includes one last name. I have plenty of dear friends who haven't changed their last names or have simply added their husband's name onto the end of their maiden name and that's all well and good for them. I definitely am not saying that they are wrong for their choices, obviously they did what works best for them, but it definitely would have been the wrong choice for me. If I hadn't changed my name to that of my husband, I would feel defiant, like I was resisting the bonds of marriage, trying to hold onto the very independence that I was supposed to be willingly giving up. And that is the very last thing that I would want to do. It might be a very traditional and old-school view, but I believe 110% that the man is the head of the household and that the woman is to be in subjection to him. And before you get your feminist panties in a twist, I do not mean that I am my husband's servant, I mean that as he loves me the way that Jesus loves the church, I must be submitted to him as the church is submitted to Jesus. It's biblical. Don't try to convince me I'm setting woman's lib back 100 years, it won't work. Okay thanks, I'll get off my rant now. :)
I'll admit, I might have teared up a little at the sight of my new driver's license, seeing that I no longer shared a name with my parents. It's a hard thing to let yourself leave the family that you were born in to, that you grew up with, that made you who you are. They are the people that I have identified myself by for 27 years! Now, instead of being "Mari's little sister" or "Walter and Arlis Joyce's granddaughter", I now introduce myself first as "Josh Recaido's wife". It's amazing and slightly daunting and the words aren't entirely comfortable rolling off my tongue quite yet but the joy in my heart when I hear myself say it, it's like nothing I have ever known. And it's not just a new last name, it's so much more. It's love and commitment, it's safety and security, it's unity and loyalty... it's everything. And it's forever. How could I ever hang on to my maiden name if I'm planning on being married for the rest of my life? How could I say that I am his, if I refuse to give up being my own?
"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." And now my last name proves that.