Taking a husband's surname when married

Question or Topic

Is there any scriptural requirement that a sister should take on her husband's surname at the time of marriage?


There is no direct command on this matter. In the circumstances of the modern world, it is increasingly common for married women to have different surnames than their husbands. This practice blurs the distinction between those who are married and those who are living common-law since most common-law partners operate with different surnames. For this reason, the practice of a sister retaining her own surname is one that we counsel against, because it could give the appearance of evil, in causing associates in the world to assume that the couple is not lawfully wed but simply living together.

While there is no direct command on this matter, there is a body of scriptural teaching that implies that it is right in the sight of God for a woman to adopt her husband's surname. The analogy is drawn in the Scriptures between the relationship between the husband and his wife, on the one hand, and between Christ and the ecclesia, on the other. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3). With respect to the matter of names, it is our honour and privilege to bear the name of Christ after baptism into his name. Likewise, it is a matter of honour and respect for a sister to bear her husband's name after their marriage and thereby acknowledge his position as the head of the family.