Joe has a few jokes that are so funny, he tells them all the time. Such as: When we meet a couple in which the wife has the same last name as her husband, Joe says, “It’s so nice to have a wife who loves you.”
That knee-slapper never gets old!
I did not change my last name to my husband’s when we married nine years ago.
I was born Katie Rosman and Joe fell in love with Katie Rosman. The idea that marriage would necessitate an edit of my personal headline didn’t feel right to me.
There is a feminist element at play, I suppose: I didn’t want my identity to change upon becoming a wife.
When we got engaged and discussed such matters, I explained to Joe that I had no doubts about marrying him. But the idea of changing my last name felt totally inauthentic to who I was.
I was truly surprised that he was at all surprised by my declaration of non-changing.
“I might have bought you a smaller diamond had I realized,” he said.
We were driving with our kids a few weeks ago and my two-year-old asked if she could throw a scrap of paper out the window.
“No,” my husband answered, “Team Ehrlich doesn’t litter.”
After a few minutes, my five-year-old piped in: “Is Mommy on Team Ehrlich?”
“Sort of,” Joe told him. “She’s our mascot.”
I turned to face the kids in the backseat. “Mommy is the Team Captain no matter what her last name is,” I said. I may have accidentally elbowed Joe.
Later I cornered him. “You’re going to confuse the kids by teasing me,” I said. He agreed and apologized.
“Is this really still a big issue for you?” I asked.
“In some ways,” he began, “not at all. I hated having a different last name from my mom because the name difference reflected a divorce and all the dynamics that that can bring. This is not the same situation.”
“I really appreciate your saying so,” I told him before heading toward the kitchen.
“But on the other hand,” he hollered down the hall, “Change your name!”
We have all dealt with people like “Joe.” He uses humor as a way to be mean and hurtful, but when cornered he says “I was just kidding.” Sometimes he adds, “Jeez, can’t you take a joke?” like it’s your fault, not his.
If Joe and Katie have been married nine years and he still keeps making these “jokes” then it is a big issue with him, he just doesn’t want to admit it. Historiann nails it:
If it were so important to your husband that you share a last name with him and the children, why didn’t he change his name to Rosman?
Joe doesn’t want to share a last name, he wants her to share his.
BTW – If Katie is airing this out in her column at WSJ, I suspect they have deeper issues as well. I give them two more years – three is they try therapy. Then Katie will be glad she kept her name.