It is interesting, in American culture, once a woman becomes engaged it is all about preparing for a wedding.

It is only after you get married the government asks: “are you sure?  . . . is this relationship worth the red-tape?”.

I don’t question the decision to get married. But the weight of what I consider to be a permanent legal change did not hit until I had to fill out piles of government paperwork. (I even learned to bring a personal profile of all my legal documents with me places to show proof of my name change.)

For those of you who are/will be engaged soon, let me give you a heads up on the legal stuff required after you get married to become Mrs. ___________:

1.  Your officiant has to sign and deliver the marriage certificate to the country clerk within 10 days after the wedding. Then you can file for copies which includes having your paperwork notarized. Once you pay the fee and mail off the paperwork you wait.

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2. Eventually you receive copies (more than one is helpful) of your marriage certificate. You can then file to change your last name with Social Security. This  requires another form, another fee, copy of your marriage certificate, and your passport/birth certificate. Then you wait again.

3. When your new social card comes you can go to the DMV! At the DMV you need your social, copy of marriage cert., your license, and of course the name changing forms. You take a new photo, pay another fee, and wait.

4. When you will get your new driver’s license  you can apply for a new passport! For this you need copy of your marriage cert., your old passport, new passport photos, the name changing forms, and another fee.


So yes becoming Mrs. __________ on Facebook is the easiest thing you will do.

You don’t know how many times I became confused as to when to write/sign my maiden name and when to write/sign my married name. (Let’s just say I had to fill out some forms more than once.)

For any women the journey of adjusting to a new personal identity, becoming  Mrs. _________ is greater than the legal name-changing saga. Every piece of paperwork in the name-changing process or new piece of mail addressed to a Mrs. ________ is a reminder of a permanent change in social and lifestyle status. After four months of marriage I am still asking myself: who is Mrs. A. Greene ? What is or will be different about my identity or roles as Mrs. Greene ?



Although my name changing process is finally over my  journey to become Mrs. Greene, to adjust to the meaning behind the name-change, has just begun.

For those recently married: any thoughts to share on adjusting to new roles/identity?

Any other newlyweds find it takes awhile for the name-change to sink in?

6 thoughts on “Becoming Mrs. ______________

  1. It’s been so long I forgot all the detail that has to be done to transition into a new life style. You’re right there is alot more involved than just changing your name. But I for one like being “Mrs. Greene”, though in the forty plus years I have been married hardly anyone calls me that. Maybe that is because when they address me as “Mrs. Greene” I look around trying to help them find my mother-in-law! :>)

  2. I could not agree more with this post. It will be a year on March 24, and I still am trying to figure out who exactly Mrs. Reed is. I don’t know if you have felt like this, but family and friends treat you differently after you are married. It’s like all the sudden you are an Equal grown up. Have you found this as well? Marriage, more than any other stage in life, seems to have slammed adulthood in my face! I guess it is both the good and the not so good. I almost feel like, I’ll okay this is what I have been working towards. This is what my life will be like. The stage is now set.

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. I understand what you are saying about this instant adulthood-I feel like I am given more freedom and choices, not expected to be apart of all family events. But I also know that my whole time of being married so far has been away from family. So what you are saying about how your family treats you differently may make more sense when we go to visit for holidays or celebrations.

      Thanks for sharing!

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