The woman takes her husband's last name - biblical?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by BobVigneault, Jul 16, 2008.

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  1. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I took a pretty firm stand at supper last night and really ticked off my 24 year old daughter. I have some good friends, a married couple, and the wife kept her maiden name.

    I made the statement that this is a non-negotiable. My argument was that in marriage a man and woman become one flesh and that means there cannot be two names for one flesh - there is ONE name. Furthermore, because the man is the head of the family it is his name that represents the family.

    I told her that lots of folks can have novel ideas based on politics and sentiment but my stand has 10,000 years of endorsement and it's non negotiable.

    How firm is the ground I'm arguing from? Is there a Biblical argument for the woman taking the man's name? It seems like a no brainer to me but I'd better be sure.
  2. Kim G

    Kim G Puritan Board Junior

    I prefer that the woman takes the man's last name. I was more than happy to take my hubbie's name!

    However, having been in South Korea and now teaching ESL students from China and Brazil, I realized that our mindset is highly "western". In Asia, the husband and wife keep their own names, but all children take the name of the father. (It's the same in at least some parts of Brazil.) Even the Christians that I fellowshiped with in Asia do this. It's not considered a violation of the "one flesh" argument or a lack of submission on the wife's part. It's not a "maybe I will, maybe I won't"--it's just not done.

    So, in our culture, yes, I prefer name-changing. But I can't make that a hard and fast rule for everyone in every location for all time.
  3. PaulB

    PaulB Puritan Board Freshman

    Clariification Q


    Which of the practices are you opposing?

    A) Woman keeps maiden name that is to be used in all forms of address & communication with a hyphen as in Hillary Rodham-Clinton
    B) Woman keeps maiden name as her "new" middle name that as such is rarely used and referenced.


  4. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    No problem with "B" Paul, I would oppose "A" and I would oppose the wife just keeping her maiden name to the exclusion of her husbands which is the case in the marriage of my friends.
  5. PaulB

    PaulB Puritan Board Freshman

    I think I'm on board with you, then. The reason I asked is that a friend of mine refused to allow his wife to keep her maiden name in any fashion whatsoever. He saw that as equivalent to what you are opposing. I do think that taking the husband's last name reinforces the one-fleshment of marriage.
  6. Seb

    Seb Puritan Board Junior

    It's funny. My wife really struggled with the idea of taking my last name when we got married.

    I can't imagine why? :p

    But ultimately she knew it was a husband headship / one flesh issue and submitted to it.

    Since then she's tried to talk me into changing our last name a couple of times, for the sake of our daughter of course. :rolleyes:
  7. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I trust that number is hyperbole; I took you as a Genesis means what it says person.

    Japanese and other's often take the wife's last name like my White neighbor who's last name is Hiyashi, so I wouldn't argue from that position anyway. My own surname is Welsh, and I believe it wasn't until Henry the Seventh that the Welsh had to take last names.

    Like everything (in my poor opinion) at least hints can be found in the Holy Scriptures. In this case, it's pretty much always "so and so the wife of so and so", rather than the reverse, so we can get a hint as to the optimum, i.e. the wife is known publically by the man's name, since that is the Scriptural pattern.

    But at the same time, there are other principles involved, one being that while something might be optimum, like not eating pork or road kill or harvesting the corners of your field, where there's no civil or ecclesiastical penalty, the issue is between God and that person, and while we can instruct we can't demand.
  8. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Ok, so what is the argument from Scripture?
  9. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    10,000 years was not hyperbole, I'm a young earther. :eek:
  10. Seb

    Seb Puritan Board Junior

    I don't think you're going to find one more than the "leave and cleave", one flesh, husband headship verses that you already know.

    Surnames are a fairly recent invention: Surname - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  11. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Aside from the fact that surnames have only been around a fifth as long, and even then only in limited areas of the world, what examples could you give of any sort of names 8,000 years ago? After all, you're appealing to tradition.
  12. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I take it you give your wife the option of picking the kid's names :lol:
  13. Thomas2007

    Thomas2007 Puritan Board Sophomore


    I think you are on the right track. The practice in our culture was developed through English Common Law which is customs derived from Biblical law.

    The man is the covenantal head of the family, a woman takes a man's last name because she is transfered from her father's household to her husband.

    The modern propensity of rejecting a husbands name, or attempting to play the father against the husband in hyphenated last names, is sinful and a rejection of the creation mandate. The latter is probably more common, as in the Rodham-Clinton example above. Who has dominion over this woman - her father or husband? I would interpret it to be neither, and I think that is the whole point of why the feminist culture advocates that.
  14. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Bob I agree with you, but I think it is cultural not biblical.

    Now I happen to believe that this part of our (western) culture is based on biblical principles & is worth saving & defending. I also think that those who undermine this tradition do so out of a desire to undermine the underlying biblical principal.

    But, we are making a big leap to say "thus saith the LORD..."

    in my opinion.
  15. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I see what your saying Tim. What I mean by that is that since the creation of man, man has been the covenant head and the wife has cleaved to her husband . So the question is, once surnames are introduce, should they reflect the headship and authority of the husband?

  16. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Well said Thomas. I agree totally.

  17. Seb

    Seb Puritan Board Junior


    She picked the first name, I picked the middle, God picked the last:

    "Katie Camille Butts"

  18. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    God called the man and woman together by the name Adam.
  19. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Of course, in most circumstances, as it's the clear Scriptural pattern, and as has been pointed out, the household transfer ship comes when the woman is married. And very few mature Christian women would argue with that, although in the case of special last names there can be a pre-nup that allows the woman to have the last say as to the kids names :lol:

    Sorry, Seb!! As a young man I hoped my name meant the mighty dragon slayer or some such, and when I found out than Vaughan is the feminine form of the word small in Welsh, I was somewhat deflated :lol:
  20. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    The assuming of the husband’s last name is a purely cultural convention. I have not, nor ever heard of, a biblical case for this practice. However, I can see how this practice / convention get's its inspiration from biblical principles, i.e., the males being covenant head of household.

    That being said, I think it is a good cultural convention we ought to keep.
  21. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I used to live in a very old farmhouse built by the Butts family. They came from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin after the War of Northern Aggression. We had all their names over our kitchen doorway. It's a pretty common name but I am curious if you have any Seymours in your family tree.

  22. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Of course the funny thing is that most women who keep their maiden name are really keeping their father's name.
  23. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor


    Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

    Notice, that Eve (though she had her own separate name given to her by Adam) was also named Adam. Mr. & Mrs. Adam, you might say.

    This is one of the basic principals of biblical law: the wife comes under the authority of her husband, and is called by his name.

    The name represents authority. We use the surname as a device to recognize whose authority one is under. For a woman to retain her father's surname is to recognize that she is still under her father's authority. When a woman marries, this is not the case, and she must take her husband's name. If she keeps both, then she has two masters (which is impossible).

    By the by, surnames are given in the bible, as you may see with Simon Bar-Johah, which means Simon Johnson in our modern usage.

    Modern feminism is a laughing matter. Hillary Rotten Clinton is recognizing that she is under the "name" or authority of both her father and her reprobate husband. Rather than showing her independence, she is (on paper) acknowledging that she has two lords. Women who reject the name of their husband are rejecting the husband's authority, and this is the real issue. When God puts His NAME on us, it says we are His. When a husband puts his name on his wife, it shows she is his.



  24. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Adam, you may be a man on the edge but I like the cut of your jib sir. Perfect! That was a great treatment of the question. Thank you.
  25. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I always take it that the man's name should be taken for WOman was named after MAN.
  26. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    That reasoning may sound a bit Johnnie Cochranesque, but I like it.

  27. CovenantalBaptist

    CovenantalBaptist Puritan Board Freshman

    Re: Genesis 5:2

    Although it is an attractive argument for a modern practice, for those saying that God called Adam and Eve "Adam" - while this is iterally true, one must be careful not to read too much into this as the word "Adam" is in Hebrew both an appellative noun meaning "man", and the proper name of the first man, much as if we in English should denominate the first man simply "Man."

    If you read Genesis 5:2 in the ESV, this is made more clear. ::Offtopic::This is one reason that there is some differences of opinion as to what is being referred to in Hosea 6:7. See Warfield for an excellent discussion on that text.
  28. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The linguistic aspect isn't quite so convenient in the Hebrew, though, are they?
  29. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Modern practice? I think not.

    Also, it seems more likely that the ESV is seeking a politically polite position.

    What is more, the authority of Adam is also signified by his giving a name to his wife: Eve. Would you prefer the husbands of today rename their wives, or simply give them their name? Maybe both?

  30. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Much more so. <<Ish>> is the word for a man, and <<Ish-ach>> is the word for "taken from man". In the same way, <<Adam>> means earth, or dirt, and Adam was called <<Adam-ach>> or one taken out of the earth. The English term Wo-man is meant to say that Eve was taken "from the womb of man". Pretty much the same concept.


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