I was chatting last week with a few girls about love and relationships and I was asked: “What is the biggest sacrifice that I’ve made in my marriage?” I had spent the entire night chatting away, but on this one – I was stumped. “Sacrifice? What do you mean? I love being married. I chose my partner myself, he’s wonderful to me. What sacrifice could I have possibly made?” Three days later, it dawned on me.
You have to understand that I married one of the sweetest, kindest, and selfless men there are in the world. He wants the best for me and almost always over what’s beneficial for him. He is the kind of man that every woman should marry, and he doesn’t ask for much from me. But this one thing was important to him.
Changing my name.
As one of two daughters, I always felt very proud of my name. As hard as it was to pronounce and worse, spell for everyone “N-O-O-RU-TWO Ds-I-N.” It was mine. For 25 years, I was Sabrina Nooruddin and that was just me. Dropping a part of my name felt like losing my identity. This is who I am, how people know me, do I just let that go? It also didn’t feel fair that if I chose to keep my name then I would be the one ousted from the family name and have a different name from the children that I would birth and raise. It’s something I struggled with for a really long time.
Sahir really wanted this. He saw all of the benefits of me keeping my name (trust me ladies, the process is so much worse then what you’ve heard. Aside from your social security card, ID, and passport you have to deal with your credit cards, airline frequent flyer programs, your bank accounts, mailers, everything!) and he got it. Ultimately, he was fine with anything that I decided, however, this was something that meant a lot to him. Sahir comes from a big family and there is a lot of community built around his name. He wanted me to be a part of that and share in the family name as we build our own family together.
It took me about a year after our marriage to decide to change my name and I actually did it in secret. I lied about going to the passport office and DMV (so stealthy of me!) so that I could surprise him. On his birthday, I showed him a copy of my new license. He was so surprised but so happy! When my sister asked about it later he said, “Sabrina has given me a lot of gifts over the past 10 years, some sweaters, tickets, and gadgets – I don’t remember them, but this gift is one I’ll never forget.” heart-melt.
I don’t regret my decision at all. I actually legally changed my middle name to my maiden name and that helped a lot with the identity complex and the legal process. (Highly recommend BTW- it makes it easier when your names don’t match up on your passport or visas or anything for you to have both last names on your legal ID) Not to mention, spelling M-O-L-U is so much better. I will say this, one of the things that troubled me is how many women didn’t want to talk about the identity issues when discussing if they would change their name. Maybe some didn’t feel it, but I’ll be honest and say that I did. I don’t think it makes me love my husband any less or makes me less excited about my marriage. There are pros and cons to each side, but for me – his happiness of sharing a family name meant way more to me. So whatever you decide, I hope the men and women around you support your decision.