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

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

  1. I love how you felt into the 2 surnames and felt the difference in how they felt in your body. By choosing to go deeper you were able to feel how you had shut yourself down and hardened to conform to the ideals and beliefs of marriage and in the process lost the sweetness that was there before. What a wonderful healing you had just by looking at your surnames.

  2. When we take out of the equation what others would think and just allow ourselves to feel exactly what feels true to us then we are being respectful and honouring of what is true for us. Even if later down the line we realise maybe it wasn’t what was needed, in truth it was because there is always a lesson to be learnt. Life would be pretty dull if we were know it alls!

  3. It feels very important that you’ve mentioned that it’s not your husband’s fault that you’ve shut yourself off to that which is within you, the sweetness, innocence and purity of your essence. No one can take this away from us it is always our own choice to lock this away and shut ourselves off but it is always there to re connect to.

    1. Yes, it is always there, shining brightly underneath the ideals and beliefs that we have succumbed to in being an adult. These beliefs (no matter what they are for each of us) are essentially locking away our tenderness, sweetness and truly loving way that we could live by. It really is very needed that we let go of how we think we need to be and again remember who we really are.

  4. The switch off of the sweetness felt as a ‘maiden’ doesn’t surprise me. We have a lot of ideals fed to us from the time we can play with dolls and watch what it means being a wife. No one ever tells you that you just keep being and loving you and sharing that with your husband. If this was the case there would be no switch off of our essence and sweetness of childhood.

    1. “No one ever tells you that you just keep being and loving you and sharing that with your husband.” Beautifully said Fiona, and often by the time we get married or have a partner we have learned already big time to adapt and to fit into the roles we think society expects of us.

  5. I love the way this shows how we agree to so much more than ‘just getting married’. When we agree to things what are we really signing up for – do we even discern the energies we go into when we make a decision?

  6. It is an inspiration to hear how you are not running away from re-imprinting how you were in the marriage – it can be easy to just change your name back but this sharing shows how there can be much more to feel and learn if we don’t run away. And if we take responsibility for our part in something.

    1. The choice to let my sweetness be seen is a very steady process, it still feels very vulnerable to live from and constantly reveals to me that even though I am no longer married we are not to live this life alone. This doesn’t mean I need another partner, what it does mean though is that to truly allow support from others, and to ask for it when I need it. Which then let’s me truly feel the love another has for me. This is deeply humbling, as living as I have done previously I sabotaged any love another had for me with my belief that I didn’t need another, and my belief that I wasn’t worthy of love. All in all a very deeply humbling experience, one that is constantly bringing forward more feelings of vulnerability, and more acceptance of the love I am and that others do love me.

  7. I love the responsibility that you take of your own choices Leigh, none of this trying to shift the blame for any of it and also how you remain strong in what you feel and that is what matters the most.

  8. I’m reminded of how fiercely we can defend our beliefs and ideals simply because they were passed down to us and therefore are part of our culture. We have come to depend on them so strongly for our identification that there is no space to openly discern the quality and truth of those beliefs and ways of being. And so in order to bring change it is not even so much the culture that needs to be changed but our need to identify with it.

    1. Well said Carolien,
      Being aware that it is not our responsibility to change the culture, but to be ourselves in it is very key to having the strength to adjust our own behaviors when we feel that they are no longer true to how we want to live.

      1. In a recent conversation I was reminded that there is another side to our traditions and why we may hold on to them even if they are not based on truth which is the sense of belonging, of solidarity. We deep down know brotherhood to be our natural way and miss it in our way of life. And so we hold on to that which we know is not it as it sooth the sense of missing.

  9. There seems to always be something to “do” in life, be a certain way because we are a man or a woman, because we are married or single, or be a certain way as a parent or worker, the list of all we need to do goes on and on, but a simple life and a very loving one is to simply return to who we are and be that same beautiful essence in all we do. Throw out the instructions and just be our gorgeous, sweet selves. Thank you Leigh 🙂

  10. We’ve been habitually trained to examine the surface of life, to change colours, places, names and sizes. But rarely do we look underneath life’s bonnet at the energy we choose to live. When we address this we discover the true power of alchemy – thank you Leigh for reminding me.

    1. Yet in the superficial changes, nothing changes. This in itself is proof positive that opening to the alchemy you mention is the only way to engender the change that is needed, for ourselves, and others.

  11. It is crazy how we marry someone for love and because we love them for who they are and they love us for who we are but then this all changes once the subconscious roles come in. Its great to call this out and have this ongoing discussion. A few weeks ago I saw an article on a couple that had got married and the man had decided to take on his wife’s surname instead of her taking on his .. although this was something that felt good to both of them the uproar this caused from others was shocking in whereby complete strangers were threatening them, calling them names, abusing them and saying the most vile things. So yes there is definitely a very ill consciousness to be broken here.

    1. Wow, Vicky the reactions to a man taking his wife’s name has been quite strong, but how are others truly affected by this? It seems that people’s investment in things staying the same is very deep.

  12. It is touching to read how your choice of staying open, observing and honestly reflecting, instead of just jumping for a yes/no answer to your enquiry, has led to such great insights and wisdom.

  13. Beneath the myriad of ideals and beliefs we have taken on, further clouded by the ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’t’s’, lays the simple truth we need to connect back to in order to know what is our true way forth in any situation.

  14. Aaaah, sweetness, Buried under so many ideals, beliefs, hurts, layers of protection. But it lays there, patiently waiting for us to return to it, pick it up, tenderly hold it our hands, and live it to the best of our ability.

    1. Just like we would a two year old child. Pick them up, hold them tight and enjoy the magic that happens when the sweetness is shared with another. Imagine our world if we all shared our sweetness with others.

  15. Everything that happens in life is an opportunity for us to learn from and grow, including whether we change our name or not.

  16. Love that you looked deeper than the obvious knee jerk reaction, and in a way that accepts your responsibility for the way you feel. This way of living empowers us, and does not need anyone else to change, or their permission, or allows our judgement to linger. It frees both you and I to heal and evolve which is the most natural process of all.

    1. It truly does empower us, when we accept what we are responsible for in our life. We can again take responsibility for our life, know that we sit in the drivers seat and begin to drive (run our life) how we want to.

  17. You’re right, ultimately it doesn’t matter what our name is, it’s how we choose to live while we call ourselves that name. The power is not in the name but in every step we choose to take.

  18. There are so many aspects in life that we take for granted or find to insignificant to give much attention to when in truth nothing does not have any meaning. Every small bit is part of and hence influences the whole and so to stop and deeply question the set standards, cultural habits and those things we simply never give much thought to can open up a whole new world of revelation and insights.

    1. Agreed. We all know that many of the ‘things we do’ and ‘ways we do them’ don’t truly support the quality we know ourselves to be. The fact that we can choose to live from our quality first and foremost is the revelation that begins the process of unraveling the many other aspects of the life we have made to be our way.

  19. When we choose to shut ourselves off from what is on offer especially from those we love we dig a deeper hole in separation to ourselves. To have the understanding when we choose this way of being is gold. To hold ourselves and reflect love may not be easy but it is a responsibility of what is being asked of us in that moment.

  20. When we stray from simplicity any manner of seemingly viable alternatives appear and we then try to ‘work out’ which is the best option without realising that all of the options at that point are off-course.

    1. This is Gold Thomas. If we consider how many choices we make everyday, and then consider our quality as we made them, we would begin to feel the responsibility we all have in life.

  21. Honouring what is true for us in every moment and situation, our body is always communicating to us, we just have to listen and honour what it shares.

  22. “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”…I feel this statement that you could take out the word marriage and replace it with a trillion other words as it offers the reader the opportunity to see what we do to ourselves in the name of….getting a job, having friends, being in the community, with family. How do we think we need to be in each of these situations?

  23. Thank you Leigh, this blog is so inspiring and supportive in many ways, I especially loved the way you took the time to explore what you were feeling instead of rushing into changing your name out of an ideal or belief. Your story reminds us to step back and observe the bigger picture and not to do anything in haste or out of reaction, for when we allow this space all unfolds beautifully and in a very natural and simple way.

    1. It is so very easy to get “pulled along with the tide” in life and it takes a steady foundation of stillness to be able to hold against that tide. Whilst one may master this in one area of life, it does not mean that it had been mastered in all areas. This is where personal responsibility kicks in. It is up to each of us individually to bring such steadiness to every aspect of our lives, and to honor that we require a steadfastness in our living way to be willing to do this.

  24. It seems strange but basically the given that when you get married or whatever category of life change you move into, you need to be a certain way. That illusion has no foundation when we focus on our movements and being present with ourselves.

  25. I would have used to of thought that to change your name would not have any real impact but what I have come to understand and great to read this blog as well for another angle on it is that our names actually mean a lot and energetically they hold a quality for us as well. Worth feeling into what feels right for us then if this is something that presents itself.

  26. I remember reading this blog a while ago and thinking, wow, I have to do this with my name. I am happily married but have not actually legally changed my name as yet. I have changed in on forums like this and social media, in order to get use to this new name but I have never just stopped and laid still and felt both names, this is a huge support of anyone struggling with indecision. You have reminded me that I must do this.

  27. Most of our issues in life actually boil down to whether we have chosen to express the love, tenderness, sweetness and joy that is deep within us. If we stay true to our natural essence, we are equipped to deal with pretty much every life situation we face.

    1. Dare I say, all of our issues stem from our choice to not choose the beauty and depth of love that we hold. A depth that, in my experience, is way deeper than I ever thought and that is constantly calling for even more tenderness and sweetness of being, as I arrive and feel yet ever more of the love that I am.

    2. And doesn’t this bring a simplicity back to life? We can attribute our woes and issues to millions of outer sources however there is no issue when we live the love, tenderness, and beauty we are in our essence.

  28. I love how you have deeply looked into what feels true for you Leigh. Your respect for all concerned including yourself is beautiful. We can have the propensity to throw the baby out with the bathwater when we feel uncomfortable and itch to make changes, I know I have. Y.ou have changed the water whilst still valuing the baby and the bath itself. Enjoy bathing in the sweetness of you.

    1. I love what you are saying here Jeanette, it is easy to literally throw things/situations out/away so they are gone and one has never to look at them again but it is a whole different story to look at why one had needed/engaged with them in the first place to then allow for a true healing to take place where it is not just turning a blind eye but fully understanding of where one is at.

  29. I love your writing Leigh such warmth and great deepth comes through and I always take something very precious from your expression.

  30. We can go through life and not worry about a feeling we have as it can be to complicated or a drawn out process like changing your name. The importance of honour what we feels true for us is super important.

  31. Love the depth in which you have read the situation you find yourself in, your reading and awareness of what is really going on is healing in itself.

    1. To me Sam, going through this process has been a very deep learning, it has left me pondering on just how many ‘things’ we think are the issue, are not. That there is a deeper aspect, one we often completely miss in getting all consumed in what we ‘think’ is the issue at hand.

  32. It’s a beautiful process to admit what exactly it is that you’ve chosen. I know that once I’m willing to name this then all the examples in my day to day life become highlighted – I get to see just how much I had identified with that way of being in life. I can catch it when I go to fall back into that pattern, until it comes to a point when that is no longer my normal.

  33. “That to know another intimately will become my natural way, because I am choosing to know myself intimately again.” This is very beautiful Leigh.

  34. I have been married for over a year and sometimes even forget I am married… not in a way which does not honour our marriage. No in fact I see the union together with my wife as defined by the love we share each and every day and not by the marriage status.

  35. I love the question Leigh of living the true qualities of our essence without the assumed roles smothering who we innately are. From my understanding there is a gloriousness available and only tension and hurt to release if we choose to re-connect to whom we truly are.

  36. With the knowing that our name carries a quality and vibration which not only affects us but also affects all others. Choosing whether to change our name or not comes with a responsibility to deeply feel if the change is for the benefit of all, or just satisfying a reaction or a belief on our own behalf.

    1. This is a very real truth, one that needs to be discussed constantly in our lives, as so many choose the knee jerk reaction in changing names and responsibility is not once been a part of the decision.

  37. What a true understanding of our lives from the choices we make and how this plays out and gets magnified from there. To be who we are and stay open to being love expressing it and receiving its in its simplicity and joy is all we want and know deep inside and honouring this is a real gift for ourselves and others and it is never too late to return to who we are and expressing this as our journey unfolds.

  38. When we honour what is true there are no outcomes or pictures that give us thoughts like ‘I have to do it this way’ or ‘but I’m not doing it that way’ etc. The simplicity returns…

    1. It does Thomas and all of a sudden we find our selves in a reality where there are no rules around how to be, what to do, what to say, what to eat etc. There is a simplicity of feeling what is true from our bodies and the grace of following this feeling.

  39. Whether married or not a name does not define who we are. We are innately all delicate and deeply sensitive loving beings and this does not change whether married or not.

    1. The most important thing is to follow our own heart then the choices made are true, whether this be a choice of name or the multitude of other choices we have to make in our lives.

  40. What a beautiful story of divorce. Divorce is not about cutting someone off and out of your life. It can be a loving process as you have clearly demonstrated.

  41. Awesome Leigh – before we change anything we need to deepen our own awareness and expression, otherwise we will take exactly the same into the next situation.

  42. Beautiful Leigh – to choose to live love or not – now that is THE question. We endlessly look at situations to change, people to be different but forget the key element we are to bring to life – our soul inspired Love. Live this and what was before mysterious and hard to understand, will be unlocked.

  43. It’s amazing that you’ve been able to look deeper than what ‘sounds right’ and have tuned into what is TRUE for your expression. Our names are, as you’ve shared, so much more than just ‘names’.

  44. Thinking we have to be a certain way creates so much hardness and tension within the body, it is like putting up a fight to not be ourselves and instead we live what we think we need to be.

    1. When we consider that many in our world live this reality, what do we have? A world of people not being themselves.. a world of people trying to fit themselves into a picture of what life is meant to be, without being who they are. Does this not engender resentment, bitterness, frustration, anger and blame? Then we wonder why there are such atrocious acts that humans perform. It is so obvious that all of this comes from our own choice to live devoid of being ourselves in this world.

      1. Agreed Leigh, we are all in a constant battle with ourselves to not truly be ourselves ! Sounds crazy but from my experience I know it to be absolutely true. Instead we mould ourselves to what may for the best in the situations we are in. Once this is realised for what it is it is very easy to spot.

  45. I can sense the truth of what you are sharing Leigh. It is not about simply changing our name when we feel uncomfortable with ourselves. It is more to look what we have done to ourselves in life and by observing that we slowly can undo all of that one by one, step by step until we are at the core of our being. Then we can check our name, if it still matches the quality we are living and what we bring with that name into the world. Life is magic and it will be magic for us to when we allow more truth to flow in our lives.

  46. Leigh I can feel the utmost respect that you and you husband had and have for each other. I feel when in comes to divorce this would almost be a rarity. Its such an important foundation for any relationship. With the foundation that the two of you have it means that the relationship will continue. We need to see this much more in a world where there is great disharmony in how we are together in relationships.

    1. Relating to one’s former partner with utmost respect is a glorious foundation to continue your relationship on and a beyond awesome example of how to live life for your own children and everyone else you have in your life.

  47. Great to ponder on which name supports a person best. Each name carries with it qualities that can carry the person and support them in their life, though of course they are still to choose that for themselves.

  48. There is (literally) a world of ideals and beliefs around us that we almost unnoticeably take on, day by day as we grow up and learn what we think is expected from us. While we do this what we truly feel inside is being pushed to the back burner until such point that we are only focussed on what is right in front of us. It takes a serious ‘boiling over’ for us to start looking at all the pots again and maybe rearranging what it is we give priority.

    1. So well said Carolien,
      The moment we let ourselves go to accommodate what another wanted is the beginning of letting into our bodies that from the outside world, and we all know the horrors of what our world now has in it. So when we again take responsibility and begin to choose to be ourselves, so much comes to the surface to be seen for the imposition it is, this process can be grueling, but the lightness of again feeling who you truly are is the guide that eventually sees everything as it is and responsibly let’s go of what is not equal to the joy and beauty of who we are.

    2. I love what you have shared here Carolien. The comfort we choose, know we are in and allow over days, months, years, lifetimes catches up with us sooner or later. The pictures, investments, ideals and beliefs we take on create the momentum’s we live in. Tension builds until step by step only love can be lived eliminating all comfort and all our ill ways. In my own life I cannot escape (only temporarily) no matter how much I try what is being presented to me and by saying yes I am saying yes to what is possible and that is love in all relationships including the relationship to self.

  49. “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.“ Yes objects and things like a name change can never have power over us unless we make a choice to let them because of the ideals we have and the attachments we hold.

  50. Honouring what we feel from within and staying true to who we are is so fundamental to our lives and this is a beautiul reflection of the power of learning so lovingly found.

  51. There is such a simplicity and clarity in making decisions using our felt sense, where there is often complication and complexity in only using the mind. We have access to a whole body intelligence which we have dismissed and ignored for way to long because we do not like how it exposes our waywardness.

    1. Bringing our innate knowing first to any situation is the gold that is offered by the teaching of the Ancient Wisdom. The mind games set us on a path of doubt but the body’s intelligence gives us the the truth with such simplicity.

  52. This is such a personal decision to make and really it comes down to how you feel and where you feel you need to be. It is all part of the process and which ever you choose you get to express what feels true to you.

    1. I agree its all about a process and where we are at in our life. Each choices has its purpose, we need to claim which ever name we choose and reflect it to our fullest.

  53. When I was younger I always used to wonder what name would come my way due to marriage. There was a part of me that looked forward to this, as if a new name would bring me a new life and a new me. There was a want to escape my own family name. No such day has arrived! And the more I accept myself as I am the more I claim my name. No reason to change it, and every reason to confirm me as I am.

    1. Great point Rebecca – but how valuable to play with names and see how they feel as this gives an idea of how that name holds a certain vibration and how it may or may not support you. And of course always coming back to the birth name as this may be the one to hold you in this life.

  54. ‘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. ‘ As you say Leigh, when we step out of old ways and return to Love there is a feeling of vulnerability, and also the incredible power in being so open and transparent. When we stay surrendered – this is the place where nothing can truly touch us.

    1. Very beautifully said, what you share Jenny is totally upside down to what we are taught and lead to believe. But it is a truth that cannot be ignored when one feels the true power that comes from surrendering, feeling our vulnerability and having the sense that to hide this from another is where all of illness and disease begins, for it is where we begin to hold our body in ways that prevents it from functioning at its optimum.

  55. It is very inspiring, Leigh, to read how you are giving yourself the time and space to heal, and not changing your name out of any reaction or need, because getting to the truth is what matters most.

    1. I agree Janet you have to get to the truth of the purpose of why one would want to change the name. If it is done through reaction it will not truly serve its purpose.

  56. I am very committed to my relationship, a marriage, but I have never wanted to change my name. This choice has come from within, it has never felt true for me…this can change and I am open to it doing so, but this is the point, we all need to honour what we feel within. No need to justify, explain or rationalise. When we know, we know… and this is worth honouring.

    1. I love what you say here Samantha, that we need to honour what we feel from within. So very true as otherwise we just follow what we think or deem to be right but do not stay with what we feel is true.

    2. True Samantha ‘when we know, we know…and this is worth honouring’ I had never wanted to change my name either but after 21years of marriage I felt to change my name in my partners name as I feel I am part of this group now, of my husband and my children and it was and is worth honouring this.

    3. What is beautiful in what is shared here is that things can change. It can be very easy to lock in on an idea, or even a very settled solid choice, but if things change, if we begin to feel that something needs adjusting, then allowing ourselves the freedom to do this can also be incredibly healing.

  57. There really is so much ideology around marriage and being all we think we are supposed to be instead of just being ourselves and seeing where that takes us – together. We don’t stop walking our own walk, we just walk beside another.

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