Scott Tibbs

Women taking their husbands' names

By Scott Tibbs, November 1, 2021

Jesus quoted the book of Genesis in Matthew 19:5 when He said that when a man marries a woman, the two become one flesh. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul explains in Ephesians 5:23 that the husband is the head of the home. This is why a woman takes her husband's last name when they get married: Sharing the same last name confesses they are one flesh and taking the husband's name confesses he is the head of the home.

Even though we are in a post-Christian society, this tradition has continued, and continues to silently confess these two principles from Scripture. However, if you actually spell out the reasoning for this on social media, many people will be very angry with you. These two principles are hated in today's world.

Some would say this is misogynistic, as it signifies the woman is no longer a person but is her husband's property. But the Apostle Paul also tells husbands to love our wives and give ourselves up for her, following Christ's sacrificial love for the Church. The notion that taking a husband's name makes a woman property is binary thinking, when the truth is much more complicated. As is often the case, it is the world that thinks in black and white terms while God's Word is more nuanced and puts responsibility on all sides.

And seriously - unless we change our names, we are all living with names given to us by someone else. A woman taking her husband's name is no more an indication that she is chattel than a newborn is chattel when his parents choose a name to put on his birth certificate. It is an indication of union with her husband. She does not lose her identity, and neither does her husband. Instead, both identities change and simultaneously become one. As the Bible teaches, it really is a great mystery.

The context above is important, and many books have been written and many sermons preached diving into this much more deeply than I could do in my blog post. But as the context does matter, it is also important for Christians to embrace and confess these two Scriptural principles, especially since the world hates it so very much. The sexual revolution has done great harm to our culture, and we should not be afraid to confess what God teaches in His Word.

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