"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

What's in a name?


When my ex-husband left our marriage, amid the many conflicting and complicated emotions with which I grappled, I found myself clinging to my surname - his name - partly because I felt I had no other (it had been way too long since I'd used my maiden name, my father's name), but mostly because I desperately wanted to keep the same name that my children had. And if I'm completely honest, there was also a fairly sizeable element of indignation, that by golly I'd earned that name over more than 20 years, and I wasn't going to give it up just because he no longer wanted to be married to me!!

It's funny how grief can impact us in the most odd and nonsensical ways.

Taking a new name
And it seems so strange to me now, because by the time I remarried, I couldn't wait to take my new husband's surname. It took the longest time to change my name on everything, an endlessly frustrating process, and much more complicated than I remember the first time around!! At the time that my new husband proposed, I'd already booked an overseas trip in my "old" name. That trip became our honeymoon, and so I had no choice but to travel under a different name to him.

We were away for 2 months, so I didn't set the wheels in motion for changing my name until we returned home. Soon after we got back from our honeymoon - and came "crashing down to earth" and the reality of this new life together, back to our jobs, and stepfamily life (and wishing, at times, that we were still blissfully strolling the streets of Paris) - we booked a short overseas trip for later in the year so we would have something to look forward to in a few months. Then, oops, I realised that having done that I'd need to hang on to my old passport for a while longer, until we'd travelled again. Oh well.

The tortuous (and torturous) name-changing process
The name-changing process seemed endless and frankly ridiculous. There were so many places I had to contact, so many forms to fill out, photos to be taken, documents to be certified. There were times when I felt like shouting "It's MY name, don't tell me I haven't got enough 'points of ID' to change it. I should be able to do whatever I like with it"!!! In the end it took over a year to finally get my name changed, on everything except the title deed on my house, which simply wasn't worth the enormous trouble and cost it would require to get changed. Phew!

Unexpected grief
And then, once it was all done, as much as I loved finally having the same surname as my new husband, I started to feel a niggly little ache - the realisation that I now had a different name to my children. And not only that, not only did I now have my husband's surname, but I also had the same surname as my stepchildren, my husband's relatives, and my husband's ex-wife. But I DON'T have the same name as my own children anymore, and I will never again share their surname. That brought a real pang of sadness, and it made me realise, yet again, that the repercussions of divorce just go on and on.

He knows my name
A while ago I watched a video blog and read a post from cafeSmom about this very thing, and it was comforting to realise, once more, that I'm not alone in this journey, that there are others who understand because they have also struggled with the implications of this, and the many other aspects of divorce, remarriage and stepfamily life.

And so I concluded that, really, what's in a name? The only thing that actually matters is that, as it says in Isaiah 49:16, I am engraved on the palm of His hand. The God of the universe knows me by name - I am His - and I am called "precious", no matter what name I go by in this life.

6 comments

  1. Divorce is so common now days, but the repercussions go on and on don't they Sue? I'm so sorry you've had so many issues to deal with (big and small) but I guess they all add to building character don't they? God can use all sorts of experiences to teach us - and if we handle them with grace then we know we're growing in Him. You seem to be doing really well in that department.

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    1. Thanks for such kind words Leanne, I know for sure that I don't always handle these situations with grace, but even when then God still uses circumstances for my good and His glory. I do think people go too easily into divorce without thinking through the many and ongoing ramifications. I just wish they'd ask me first, lol xx

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  2. I remember the hassle of changing my name when I got married - like you say, there's far too much red tape to go through! It's funny how our name means so much to us, that we go through a fair amount of effort to get it to reflect who we are and who we belong to. I like your point about God knowing us and that we are engraved on the palm of his hand though, whatever our name is. It reminds me of that song "He Knows My Name" by Tommy Walker - beautiful song - now I have it running through my head! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXsiWoyjw60

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    1. It is a beautiful song, I have teared up listening to that one.
      It's funny for me that I still occasionally have to see my former married name (work won't change my basic profile in our system because I'd "lose all my settings", apparently), and it's really weird and feels quite wrong these days! Complicated!!!! Thanks for your comment xx

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  3. Oh, I'm so sorry Sue that you've had so many problems, and changing your name is never easy, even when you get married - so many different things to think about. I don't know why it's a 'thing' to change our names - ridiculous really - like having to be 'given' away by a man at our wedding. I'm so glad Meghan bucked the trend with Harry at the Royal Wedding in a stance for feminism!

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    1. It's funny Jo, because I actually don't think of myself as having had "so many problems", but I guess to people who haven't been through divorce and all that it brings, it may seem like just endless grief and heartache, which it certainly is in the beginning, but definitely gets easier over time.
      I also think Meghan would have loved her dad to give her away, and I saw her solo walk into the church as somewhat poignant, and was glad Charles stepped up so that she didn't have to do the whole long walk all by herself. That would have been pretty lonely I think. I loved that my dad flew to Perth to "give me away" at my first wedding, even though I'd been living far away from home for years by then, and I love that this tradition has endured. I think some things are just intrinsically lovely, I guess xx

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