To Change My Name or Not – That is the Question

Over the past 16 months I have lived through a separation and divorce from my husband of almost 28 years. The first thing that I want to say is that I dearly love the man I was married to, however we both wanted to live life in very different ways. We both realised that we could not continue to live together as the tension and pain of each other’s ‘wanting the other to be different’ was constant and causing us both much heartache.

So we decided to separate and then divorce when we were able to. The process of this was done with deep respect, and at times, with a deep love of each other as we organised and moved through this challenging time.

What this has brought up for me is the question of whether I change my name back to my maiden name or stay with my married name?

This possibility has been on my mind for some time, with the following thoughts filling my head:

  • Will changing name hurt my children?
  • Will it hurt my ex-husband if I seemingly abandon his name?
  • It is a lot of work to change my name with having to contact all the businesses that I deal with, telling friends and relatives… the list goes on.

But this morning I lay very still in bed and allowed myself to feel each name – first my maiden name. Immediately I felt a sweetness, a purity and an innocence inside of me. I then felt my married name and immediately felt myself ‘shut off’ the sweetness. This didn’t feel very nice in my body – I felt rather sad, dense and somewhat numb. What was so very marked though was that I no longer felt the sweetness I had held before marrying.

First and foremost, it is not my husband’s fault that I felt this way. It was completely my choice to shut myself off to the sweetness that I held within. It was like getting married flicked a switch inside of me that said – OK, now you have to toughen up, you have responsibilities, you are a wife and you have to care for your husband, your thoughts and philosophies on life no longer matter, you have to take on those of my husband’s… and that my friends were no longer important. I had a husband now and he was the most important thing in my life.

This continued as our married life matured. When I became a mother, the many pressures and expectations this brought reinforced the choice to harden that I had adopted. This continued to be my pattern as I began to be a very hands-on parent during the schooling years, and also an active community member.

All the while there was a resentment and bitterness growing inside of me. The hardened way I was living completely shut me off from accepting any help or support, as I saw such care as a criticism and so pushed away anyone who loved me and wanted to support me. My outside persona constantly said that “I was alright; I don’t need you.” The hardening shut down my ability to be open and honest and to lovingly accept support; I was unable to simply share what was happening for me and most importantly, how I was feeling.

This morning’s experience has brought much understanding as to how one’s life is forever changed, moulded and lived from the choices we make.

Back to the question, do I change my name? Earlier today I would have said hands down, yes change it back to my maiden name, that is when you felt and lived your sweetness to the best of your ability. That by marrying and hence taking on my married name all of the sweetness was buried seems simple, right?

Well, actually no; as I write this tonight I can feel very clearly that the change of name is not that important – what is important is that I have recognised what I did to myself in my belief of how I needed to be in my marriage. That I could clearly feel the choice I made to shut down such a beautiful part of myself and that I can at any time, no matter what name I hold, open up again to my sweetness and everything that comes with it.

It now feels that if I change back to my maiden name I will not be giving myself the grace to heal the hardness that I brought into my life from the moment I married. It would be like ‘running away’ from accepting the choice I made to harden, to hold back the purity and sweetness that has always been within me. As I open again, allowing my sweetness, already there are many moments flashing before me of the way I was living in my marriage and the countless interactions that came from my hardness. As I see each one and read the energy that I was choosing to use at that moment, I am becoming aware of the tension that I have held in my body from living this way. I am aware of this because my body is literally releasing this tension with each memory.

It feels almost scary to let my sweetness out, to let it be seen and felt inside of me. I have not done so since before I was 20 years old – I feel very vulnerable and fragile. But underneath all of this there is a sense of surrender, a ‘thank goodness’ that I am choosing to return to my true essence and its presence that is very palpable. That to know another intimately will become my natural way, because I am choosing to know myself intimately again.

So the question to change my name is not the true question that I was asking: what I was asking is, am I prepared to live again, explore, get to know and share with the world the sweetness, innocence and purity of my essence?

Thank you Serge Benhayon: your love and dedication to truth has ignited the same within myself.

Published with permission of my ex-husband.

By Leigh Strack, Goonellabah, NSW

Related Reading:
Divorce – A Gift of Love
A True Family Model for the 21st Century
End of a Relationship and the Expression of Love

352 thoughts on “To Change My Name or Not – That is the Question

  1. Awesome sharing Leigh – and it highlights the fact that we can give our power away to a name change rather than accept the healing and the learning that has come with our previous choices! A beautiful way to see things as an opportunity on all levels!

    1. Love your expression here Henrietta – and it is so true, the mind can be such a trickster and when we choose the body over the mind we are able to much more feel into the truth of what is really needed rather than the things the mind likes to pan out for us…

  2. This reminds me of when I got married and I had not decided as yet whether to take on my husband’s name or not, but as the wedding ceremony ended the celebrant announced me as Mrs Chang, and though it was a surprise (and, he had not realised that he had done it!) it actually brought a big smile to my face and I just knew it was what felt right. But Leigh, I love what you have presented here about the symbolism of taking on another name and also about how things can be construed by others, self or children etc. There is a beauty in both names and this needs to be appreciated for what it brings.

    1. “There is a beauty in both names and this needs to be appreciated for what it brings…” This is so true Henrietta, There is a common thread of beauty contained within all names that is there to be appreciated if we choose to feel… like the facets of a diamond, each name brings its unique beauty and sparkle.

  3. ‘It now feels that if I change back to my maiden name I will not be giving myself the grace to heal the hardness that I brought into my life from the moment I married.’ This is quite a revelation and amazing that you are prepared to look at your past choices and what the repercussions have been.

  4. Family names are very much tied up in ideas of legacy, legitimacy, inheritance and the like. All of which are ultimately falsehoods, being about preserving or adulating a lineage when the truth is we’re all part of the same, universal family. To have a focus on the former is to have a focus on separation, on ‘me and mine’ rather than the all.

    1. One of the things that arose in the pondering of my name change was the inner strength and quality that the woman who shared my maiden name lived with. There was a moment when I felt this that I almost went and changed my name back. I have since realized that I would have done so to essentially hang off the coat tails of their living way instead of firmly and forever deepening my own.

      1. That is a great realisation Leigh – it also shows your deep connection to yourself, your essence – to who you truly are.

  5. It’s interesting how when we have a ‘challenging’ decision to make, we can worry about how it will impact on others. Whilst it is loving to consider other people, it also feels like it can sometimes be a distraction for us to avoid deeply surrendering in our own body to feel what best supports us. It’s very beautiful how you stayed with your body, Leigh, allowing yourself the grace to feel into what feels true for you.

    1. That is a great point Alison and the truth always support EVERYONE equally so it is the most loving thing for everyone if we choose what is true.

    2. Very much so – it can be such a burden if we forego our own inherent true feeling and decision making in favour of how another might feel because of it. Of course it is important to reflect on our choices, yet ultimately it is our own body that we can trust the most and allow its communication to support our decisions.

  6. A name or a title can never in itself bring us anything, it’s our energetic choices that bring everything to anything. I don’t need to have a religious title to feel God in every cell of my body and likewise the title of ‘Pope’ does not guarantee that whoever has the title will know God.

    1. Such wise words Alexis and so true. A title is just that, and does not guarantee that the person with the title is living a life that reflects the truth of what they are representing.

  7. We tend to go into relationships with expectations of how life will be and that is always going to lead to frustration, resentment and bitterness, because life rarely turns out the way we expect. If we compromise in any way in order to preserve the relationship then that can lead to disaster as we feel like victims of circumstance. One of the most important things I am discovering is the need for us to express truth right from the start – not in a critical way, but in an honest way, without judgement or blame, and without expecting or even wanting the other to change. Relationships offer reflection to us 24/7 and it is up to us to make the changes and adjustments but always in truth by letting go of our own hurts, not by being abusive or by hurting our partners.

    1. In reading this comment it really hit home for me how we go into relationships looking to them to be our savior and in so doing don’t take to the relationship the quality that we choose to live by. How much has the way relationships have been formed and lived undermined the truth of connection with another human being.

  8. Beautiful teaching Leigh showing us that when we create the space to really explore what is behind our desires, a whole new appreciation and awareness of our choices and motives opens up, which can very intelligently guide our future direction.

  9. I think it’s great how you recognised that actually the question isn’t really just about the name change but more so are you willing to open up and allow yourself to truly express who you are and be seen in the world, consistently with everyone, without perfection but with a commitment to be true to who you are rather than play a ‘role’ or ‘title’…

  10. If everything is energy, and as Serge Benhayon has presented, everything is therefore because of energy, then there is energy to a name and especially when that name is spoken because this creates sound. So, what names we have and are called by surely does have an impact on how we feel about ourselves and the relationship we then have with the wider world around us.

  11. in coming back to this blog, what I love about it is that you claim yourself in the process, you feel, become aware, learn, realise, and in all of that you claim for yourself with your lived authority what is true for you. Beautiful example that every moment in life provides potential, to learn, to heal, to understand, to deepen, and to claim ourselves.

  12. The sounds and spellings of names are so different and varied, yet more so are the people with those names – who each bring a unique quality to the name.

  13. Thanks for sharing Leigh and this is such a honest way to be looking at what is really going on when the thought of your name change came about. We can come to some realisations but it doesn’t mean we need to abandon where we are, we simply have the opportunity to re-imprint and choose what feels true.

  14. The words you used Leigh “toughen up” in relation to what is involved in changing a name, is very significant, as it meant more of the same hardened energy you have been living in. That you asked your body to show you and it led you to accept and live the sweetness you are feels beautifully surrendering through your choices to the continuously evolving process of your life. We can never go back to the garden of Eden and that complete innocence of childhood, but moving on can bring us to Heaven on earth, where maybe you will feel to let all names go?

  15. ‘It now feels that if I change back to my maiden name I will not be giving myself the grace to heal the hardness that I brought into my life from the moment I married.’ – Such a huge realisation Leigh – we can so often move on from the discomfort of feeling the consequenses of the choices we have made and miss out on the opportunity to heal the old hurts – which would bring us to a completion.

  16. It is amazing what we can take on when we step into a role and rather than being ourselves in the role, we become the role and how we think we should be – in the case of marriage, that can be represented by the taking on of the name of another.

    1. Yes indeed, it is important to consider if there are any roles we are taking on in life, and if we are compromising our true selves in any way to fit the bill.

      1. I agree – we can step into many different roles and responsibilities, so long as we step into those roles with all of who we are and we bring who we are to the role, rather than needing the role to give us what need to have an identification

  17. What do we take on when we accept ‘titles’ to our name? It might be the ‘Mrs’ or the ‘Ms’, and what of the honoury titles like “lord, Sir, Lady etc.’ or the qualification titles like ‘Dr., Judge, Proff’ and the like. Who do we morph into when we assume a role that is external to our innate essence or can we hold both equally?

  18. I’m sure it doesn’t really matter whether you changed your name or not, but on the other hand, names do have a vibration and represent who we are, so I feel we are entitled to choose.

  19. There is not an ounce of truth in pictures. Any time that we are mesmerised by a picture or hold a picture as something to aspire to then this is a sure sign that we have a deviated from the truth.

  20. I get a sense also of letting go – letting go to the attachment or the role that is symbolised by the taking of another name

    1. Yes that is a great way of saying it – letting go of the attached role to a name. Funny how we assume something other than what we are just by adopting a name …

  21. ‘…am I prepared to live again, explore, get to know and share with the world the sweetness, innocence and purity of my essence?’ I love this question. It says we are never bound by our past choices and always free to choose love.

  22. What I love about Leigh’s approach about the question of retaining her married or maiden name is how she gave herself the space to feel what was the truth for her with a sense of real patience and understanding and without the need for a quick answer that may have quenched a feeling of tension but might not have ultimately been the most healing answer or approach.

  23. There is much more to changing names than we often realise. For example there is a numerological aspect to each name and there also is an energetic aspect in relation to other people who have incarnated under that name. There are also the points you have raised Leigh and our personal relationship.

  24. For the first 50 something years of my life I was known as Nicky. I was only ever called Nicola by my family when they were telling me off or speaking to me in an unloving tone or when I was being addressed by an official. Some years ago I decided to claim my full name back again and had to go through a major period of adjustment. Every time anyone spoke to me I thought I was being scolded – it was hard but worth it!

    1. Yes I have heard this from another too and how uncomfortable they felt when addressed with their full name, due to the childhood experiences – it makes one wonder that the name that we are being given at birth can be used in such a negative way that it leaves us not claiming it…

  25. Thanks, Leigh. I love how you are not skirting around the self-responsibility to face your own choice to contract away from your sweetness. Very inspiring…

  26. When we make decisions out of reactions at the time seems totally justified but we can’t get out of the way we have chosen to go forward from that moment. I love how you gave yourself the space to feel what was there and to get to the bottom of what was there for you to look at and heal. Truly powerful.

  27. The energy of names and the playing out of this in our lives is far more Impactual than we may realise and it is great to discern this and honour who we truly are.

  28. We can be so quick to jump to the answer, in this case whether to change one’s name or not, where the beauty here is in the freedom you have chosen to unlock for yourself. This healing will lead to you never giving yourself away to all the ideals you had held about being a good wife, allowing you to simply be yourself whether married or not.

  29. I experienced the same beliefs when I was considering changing my name back to my maiden name. We often think about what’s best or easiest but fail to feel which name fits us at that time. It was great to read what you discovered about your beliefs about how you had to be as a wife. The stories vary but we all have these affecting us as women.

  30. There are always deeper aspects of events that on the surface may appear to be about something, but go deeper and we see a much bigger picture. This also supports a much deeper understanding of ourselves.

  31. For me it was a very interesting process, as I had 4 name changes, due to my parents divorce and also 2 marriages. When all that finished, I was left with feeling none of these names had any meaning to me. When I sat with that, what came up was that my grandparent’s name sounded beautiful and strong in my body. It took a huge effort and quite a lot of money to get the German Government to agree that I can have my grandmothers name – I have had this name now for over 10 years, and it feels truly beautiful.

  32. Gorgeous ending to your blog Leigh – “Thank you Serge Benhayon: your love and dedication to truth has ignited the same within myself.” I am also deeply thankful to Serge as well for supporting me in forever deepening the expression of truth within myself too.

  33. It is inspiring to surrender when things get challenging for us to understand that everyone and every situation in life is to allow us to see and return deeper to who we truly are. It is always a blessing.

  34. The beauty in this is that we continously are able to learn and to expand, even in feeling our names. Thank you Leigh, for sharing this.

  35. This blog is very honouring of the fact that our names carry a feeling or quality and that we need to discern whether a maiden name or married name feels right for us. Too many of these decisions are made by the pressures of social norms rather than what is actually true for us.

  36. I choose to keep my name when I got married, how can I describe it, it just wasn’t in my body to change, I had no impulse, it may come and I am open to a change but for me it has been wise to listen to what the body shares and not over think things. We need to do what feels true in life, not the should and shouldn’t often laid on us in society.

    1. Well said Samantha – there is no right or wrong, there simply is the opportunity to feel what is needed in each moment to support and what offer the healing. And the same can be said after divorce – it does not mean that one has to change back to their maiden name at all, but of course this too can be a healing in itself depending on the person and the situation. Amazing to feel the openness and the allowing of all choices and how they are all here to support in some way.

    2. ‘We need to do what feels true in life, not the should and shouldn’t often laid on us in society.’ – We learn from such young age what we ‘should and shouldn’t’ do in our life, and it seems like majority lives by those rules during the entire life, without so much as questioning whether or not it actually feels true to them.

  37. What I love about this article is the sureness I felt when I read it – your sureness about the different feelings you had from your maiden and married names; the sureness that you will continue to allow your sweetness out however awkward it may at first be and the sureness that this is going to change everything. Thank you, Leigh.

  38. I recall when I got married and changed my name…the funny thing is that my first name is actually Maria, and so when I went for the first time to see a GP after getting my family name changed, I was sitting in the waiting room and they called out ‘Mrs Maria Chang’ – I had no idea who that was, and of course did not respond straight away! Hilarious!

  39. There is a lot to uncover with the name change – I know that for myself it felt beautiful for us all as a family to have the same name – like an umbrella for us all…for me it felt like the name change was supportive, and drew us all closer together, but I know this can also be a fake way of ‘getting together’…I could also sense different things that people around us wanted – family and friends who did or did not want me to change my name because of a picture or belief they had. How important is it to stick with what feels right for you at that moment in time, and honour this fully.

  40. This highlights that so much of what we take for granted as being the right or the wrong way to go, is in fact, once we put the assumptions, pictures and beliefs aside, an opportunity for truth and evolution.

  41. What a beautiful confirmation that what you thought you should do simply didn’t feel right within you and that actually in this following the ‘done thing’ to do you were shutting down and avoid the key issue that needed to be addressed and healed. Super powerful, well done and very inspiring.

  42. “It was like getting married flicked a switch inside of me that said – OK, now you have to toughen up, you have responsibilities, you are a wife and you have to care for your husband, your thoughts and philosophies on life no longer matter, you have to take on those of my husband’s… and that my friends were no longer important. I had a husband now and he was the most important thing in my life.” Wow, why do we do this? Surely a husband wants you to be you, be the woman you were when he first felt drawn to you, not to turn into someone else to please him, its like loosing your own inner anchor and wondering why you drift.

    1. How appropriate your statement ‘it’s like loosing our own inner anchor’.
      That is so very true, for there is no steadiness or inner confidence in self if we are not being true to ourselves, how we feel and living life how we want to. The thing is, as you say others don’t want you to be different, so why the heck do we think we have to be?

  43. Like most decisions it is important to feel into what is right for us from the beginning rather than the shoulds and should nots that can often influence us.

    1. What has been interesting in my personal process has been how prominent the thought was to change my name, but also how I was unable to physically do so. My head was saying a resounding yes whilst my body could feel deeper, to me at the time, an unbeknown sense that it wasn’t right to do so. It was this feeling that finally caused me to delve deeper into whether to change it or not.

  44. Thanks for your blog Leigh. It’s amazing the choices we are prepared to make (some of which are in complete disregard of our body) in order to live up to the expectations of a role we have adopted, and in doing so we lose the connection to, and willingness to express from, our essence.

  45. ‘what I was asking is, am I prepared to live again, explore, get to know and share with the world the sweetness, innocence and purity of my essence?’ – Beautiful, I feel the fact that you have been able to express your question this way already confirms the answer.

  46. A Great example you bring here to us how powerful it is to look deeper what is going on, were it is really about. We can do that with everything. To look open what is really going on behind the action.
    This is evolution and supports not just us but the whole.

  47. So great Leigh that you came to this awareness and were able to then start living more the real you again free of the constraints of old beliefs and back into the true sweetness that is you.

  48. ‘So the question to change my name is not the true question that I was asking: what I was asking is, am I prepared to live again, explore, get to know and share with the world the sweetness, innocence and purity of my essence?’ This is such a beautiful consideration and reflection to share. As women how much do we give ourselves over to our roles and to our relationships instead of remaining true to who we are? I have known this but only incredibly recently understood from my body what this actually means for me. Thanks for the confirmation!

  49. “This morning’s experience has brought much understanding as to how one’s life is forever changed, moulded and lived from the choices we make.” I can completely relate to this, the entire life we lead can be changed by one choice, yet overall regardless of our choices I am starting to appreciate how we will all end up back with God.

  50. I know that so well the hardening and protecting ourselves and then in this making out that I am totally self independent and that I don’t need anyone. What I have found amazing is that when I have let the wall of protection down in doing so I have allowed others in and admitting that sometimes I do need help.

  51. “It was completely my choice to shut myself off to the sweetness that I held within” The power of our choices and the effects these bring is enormous in all aspects but ultimately it is up to us to appreciate and simply be the love we innately are and the inevitability of this is very beautiful to know inside.

  52. Like you I recognise that changing my name (to my married one in my case) is not important, what is important is that I am true to myself, in all my sweetness, without changing for anyone, whatever name I use.

  53. Trying to ‘figure something out’ like whether we should change our name or not, how we should eat, dress, sleep or live based on ideals creates so much complication, and negates the fact that there is a TRUTH to every situation, and this truth is always super simple.

  54. Thank you for sharing so openly Leigh. It’s clear to me that you have a very beautiful relationship with your ex husband and that love is not dependent on a relationship remaining the same, in fact sometimes separating is the most loving thing to do.

  55. Taking on someone else’s name due to marriage could symbolize the ultimate giving away of one’s self, and I’m sure it has been the case countless times for many women. OR, it could be a total claiming of the choice to step into a truly loving relationship and a way of celebrating the union.

    1. I agree Rebecca, my mind thought that I was doing just that, but the energy that I had chosen was running a very different reality, one that has taken much self acceptance to unravel and most of all understand. Let us all begin to discern what energy is behind our choices and thoughts, for when what you share is done with the fullness of our body we are living the love we all truly desire.

  56. When I am invested in another being different and changing I often am projecting my own disatisfaction at not living the truth of who I am.

  57. Sensational Leigh – we like to make life about the big events and think that other people fence us in, but the simple truth whatever we do is every choice comes back to you. We do have a say, we do have power, it resides in the type of energy we align to not in any complicated decision, like we might consider.

  58. Although a name says a lot, much more than we normally are aware of, simply changing a name because of felling hurt is not the way to go. Like what you share in this blog Leigh, is important to remember. We have to make our choices carefully and not from any emotion or hurt but with the awareness of the reality of a multidimensional world we live in in which it matters on what basis we do make our choices.

    1. I have the sense that my choice to stay with my married name has a much greater purpose than I have any conscious connection to at this point in my life. This engenders a great deal of trust inside oneself to allow whatever is needed to be.

  59. ‘It now feels that if I change back to my maiden name I will not be giving myself the grace to heal the hardness that I brought into my life from the moment I married.’ – A profound realisation, and allowing yourself the space to complete the cycle of this relationship as well.

    1. In so many ways Eva, daily there are deeper awarenesses, not only about how I felt and lived, but also more of an understanding in how by being caught up in our own hurts and hardening, that we aren’t aware of what is happening for another and just today I was gifted a moment to feel just how harming and judgemental it is to live without the understanding and awareness of what another is dealing with. Our awareness of our own life and choices is but a very small step in the big scheme of things for that awareness once felt for self, becomes a way of living with everyone else. This is the true gift of our commitment to knowing ourselves intimately again.

  60. I have been learning about the meaning of names recently, and this shows how you can feel your married name and you are not liking the feel of it. It is a great observation to sit with and you have come to know your essence deeper who you are through this process.

  61. I just learned about the power of numbers during the esoteric Numerology workshop presented by Serge Benhayon.
    All the letters of a name have a number which carries a quality of energy. A very profound way to look at life And get a deeper understanding of the support of heaven by the absoluteness of numbers.

  62. The choice of name is a very personal relationship that reveals the many different aspects of how we have allowed the name to reflect who we truly are. When divorcing I decided to keep my married name – the name did not feel loaded with the past, and had become part of the woman I was now embracing.

  63. Knowing now how the vibration of a name not only affects the person whose name it is, but also their family and all who call them by their name, highlights the deep responsibility we have when considering a name change.

  64. ‘ one’s life is forever changed, moulded and lived from the choices we make.’ – It is truly that simple . But we often don’t like to take responsibility for that fact.

  65. Leigh what you shared has played out for me from the perspective of when I got married. I had such an attachment and identification with my maiden name, that I didn’t want to take on my partner’s name.
    But with time I realised I was no longer part of that previous life anymore and I had a new beginning, I was a different person, so took on the new name despite having to change so many documents.
    I began to realise its not in the name but who we are with ourselves in any name.

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