I am seriously dating an awesome man who I love and respect greatly. Tonight he brought up a topic that we’ve never really discussed before. He comes from a family of 6 boys. They all have biblical first names with no middle name. In my family we all have a family middle name. He feels strongly about continuing things his way and I feel the same about mine. I already have a child who has a middle name. We do plan to get married someday and I felt it necessary to be open and honest in response to his comment. Is there a way to respectfully disagree about stuff like this? Obviously it’s not something we have to decide now, but I want to do things right now and in the future!
How wonderful that you have met someone and have begun the journey of sharing your life together! It sounds like you two are having good dialog about your future. Thank you for your honest and thoughtful question. First, I commend you for deciding to seek prayer and counsel for your situation instead of entering into a debate with your partner and listing all the reasons he should come into agreement with you. You are correct, the two of you disagree and it is okay (and good) to acknowledge that each of you feels strongly that you would like to continue your family traditions.
When individuals come together to form an ‘us’, its normal for traditions, values and worldview issues to arise. That is what makes relationships so dynamic and interesting! You have two individuals from two different paradigm’s coming together, “and the two shall become one”. It is the very essence of what God intended for marriage. However, put quite simply it means that one or the other of you will have to sacrifice for the sake of the relationship. I say it this way because to sacrifice means to give up willingly. It means that even though someone has an equal right, they are laying it down for the benefit of the relationship. When this happens it avoids feelings of anger and resentment that are often a result of a conflict that a win/lose outcome has.
So what does that mean for your future and children that the two of you hope to have? I would encourage you both to begin by asking more questions. For instance, why does his family eliminate the middle name? How far back does this tradition go? Where was it different and why? You can do the same for your heritage. I think you both will be surprised by some of what you discover. I also believe that in each circumstance that history was changed there is a story behind it. For example, in my own heritage my grandfather’s last name was changed while serving in the Second World War. We were lucky enough for him to have served in two world wars and live to tell about it. The story marks a memorable time in our family history and the reason our name was changed.
Therein lies the silver lining for you and your partner! Regardless of who sacrifices in this situation, the change will mark a memorable time in your heritage that a significant event happened! It will become a family story passed on from one generation to the next. My prayers are with you as you begin on this wonderful journey of discovery and change!