Within the KC Community many questions have been asked that have challenged our mindsets as it relates to marriage.
One question asked earlier this year was:
“Why does a woman have to take the man’s last name if [the man] is the one who leaves his father and mother?!” This is what Genesis 2.24 says ‘That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.’
Our response to this is:
A response on gotquestions.org, quoted from the book ‘Sacred Marriage’ highlights that “In Western culture, it has been a common tradition for a wife to change her last name to that of her husband. The vast majority of married women in the West still follow that tradition…” but, believers have not been explicitly commanded to follow this protocol.
However we’d like to ask you dear readers: if Christian wives are totally devoted to the Lord, completely committed to their husbands and honour the call to submit to their husband as they would the Lord* (see Ephesians 5:33), would taking the husband’s last name defeat or fit these purposes?
Additionally, through study of the Word and researching the material out there produced by trustworthy Christian leaders, we found and have come to understand that marriage has three goals; these being to sanctify the two people (1 Thessalonians 4:4-7), to illustrate the dynamic between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:22-33) and to produce godly children (Malachi 2:15**).
The route by which this is achieved, as Christ revealed in Malachi 2:15, is by making the two individuals one entity.
To say this another way, once God joins a man and woman together in marriage, He sees them like they are one person.
And there is a lot to a name…
We see in scripture that those who identified with a family, bearing the family name were able to trace their lineage and participate in the family heritage (Numbers 27:1-11, Judges 8 & 9). In the Roman era, adopted children were given the family name and, by this act, were granted a sense of identity and placement within their new family. These days, married couples are afforded certain benefits (social and, atimes, financial) from sharing a name, and it helps illustrate a certain unity to others. Some examples might be The Obama’s, The Clinton’s and so on.
So, our response is that, the Lord making a husband and wife one person in marriage is a profound and beautiful mystery, one He has creatively engineered. Indeed, there is nothing in scripture that says that a wife keeping or changing her name changes the truth of that.
Yet, we believe that the wife’s name change can serve as a physical display of incredible spiritual realities, like the two becoming one and the husband being the head of their home – and it can also bring about benefits we can step into today, as well as benefits for generations to come!
Below is some great material we sourced on marriage and its purpose. Click below to discover more!:
Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy by Gary Thomas
Voddie Baucham – Love and Marriage Part 1: In the beginning. Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chAvBs5Fexw