What’s In A Name?

Introducing, My HusbandLet’s talk about a weird (and personal) topic. I’ve been trying to figure out how to draft this post, and I even contemplated not posting about the given topic…. which would have been slightly comical on my end, watching readers trying to figure out what (or rather, WHO) I’m talking about. I’ll just go ahead and put this out into the universe to clear any confusion- Kalyn (pronounced kay-lynn), my husband, is no longer Kalyn. You’re probably thinking “uhhh, what?”… that’s definitely been the common response. He legally changed his name. Long story short- starting now, when I refer to my husband on the blog, I’ll be calling him by his new name, Emmett. No, I didn’t get another husband, and even though it’s still incredibly weird- I totally support him in this decision. That brings me to the next question, what’s in a name? 

Everyone asks him why. Why in the world would you go to the extreme of changing your name?! I’ll recite his answer to every single person… “because if you dislike something you are capable of changing, why not change it?” Though it really needs no explanation, the past few decades he’s been called “Mrs. Gibson” on the phone, has answered spelling questions more times than I can count, and has spent a ton of precious time explaining his unique name. Regardless of his reasoning, I’m actually impressed with his rather ballsy move to do something about a part of his identity that bothered him.

Yes, it will be extremely difficult for me to actually call him by his new name. After all, we’ve been dating our entire dating lives… since the young age of 15. Nonetheless, I’m going to give it my best shot because that’s what he prefers! I’m also proud of him for choosing a name that is special to him and represents a part of his family. Obviously, I loved his name before, and am all about unique gender neutral names, but what I love most is the moral of this story- you have the control to make yourself happy!

So, without further ado, I’m publicly introducing my husband, as Emmett. I wanted to make sure you guys were in the know and weren’t totally shocked when I type “Emmett and I will be renovating…” and you’re thinking, “new home, new husband?!!”. If you’re interested in his voice and personality, you can read his post on landscaping right here!

Have any of you changed your name or know people who have done the same? I was surprised to learn it’s more common than I expected.

image: photography by greenbird

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  1. Life is far too short to feel “stuck” with something that no longer serves you. I love that he’s making such a drastic change for his own happiness. I’m sure it will be weird at first, but it’ll grow on you!

    1. You said this best!! I love your insight and this comment. xo

  2. I still think you should have gone with introducing him as your new brother husband as you guys settle into life in salt lake

    1. BTW, that picture is precious!

      1. Ha! Thanks pretty lady! xo

  3. Kate Benson says:

    I love that you’re supporting him in this! is it a legal nightmare to change all the credit cards, SS#’s, and other paperwork of adult life? I’ve wanted to change my name for years (and someone told me the other day how I didn’t “look” my name…) but my husband of 35 years was worried about the legal ramifications (and forgetting my new name!!)
    ps. Will sign with my want-to-be name :)

    1. Thanks, Kate!! It has definitely been a process for him… in Ohio he had to attend a hearing, publish the legal change in a newspaper (by law), and of course update his SS card, ID, credit cards, etc. It’s super similar to changing your name with a marriage license. He said it’s not that difficult, just time consuming. Hope this helps with your decision! :) xoxo

  4. Lauren Hess says:

    I say way to go! I also love the moral of “you are in control of your own happiness.”

    Hopefully it’s a smooth transition!

    1. That’s what I said… even though I’ll continually mess it up for the next year or so. ha! That’s been a new moral I’ve been trying to adapt this year, and he is definitely leading by good example :) Thanks, Lauren! xo

  5. Leah Prevost says:

    I think that’s awesome. Good for him! Have you done a post about moving and the new house yet? I checked back to see if I missed it but don’t think I have lol.

    1. Hi Leah!! It’s on the schedule for next Thursday (the moving post), and the new house tour will be on August 22. I’m also thinking of doing a FB live Q&A. Meanwhile, I’m stuck over boxing things up and keeping busy ;) xooxo

  6. Well, congratulations, Emmett! Cheers, Ardith

    1. He says thanks, Ardith!! :)

  7. Wow, what a huge change. Your name is such big a part of your identity and I didnt think about until I changed my name after being married… good for him! I think its a brave decision and not a very common one. I love that you are so supportive. I’m super curious as to what led his parents to his birth name… but he totally looks like an Emmett!

    1. Thank you! Same for me… it was weird for me taking his last name when we were married. He did talk to his parents about his decision to change his name… obviously he wasn’t trying to offend anyone, but it was clearly something he wanted to address. According to his father, he passed one of these trailers on the road and thought the spelling / name was cool. Ha! xo

  8. Kat Schleich says:

    That is awesome! And what a great name he chose!!

    1. I like it too! It’s just going to take me awhile to get used to it. Old habits die hard. Ha! xo

  9. Go him! That’s a great name choice imo!

  10. Hi!
    I just saw an Instagram post of yours with Emmett tagged and was reminded of this post. I have a friend who is going through a similar struggle and has been considering a name change. I know it is probably a very personal topic to cover but all these years later I am curious to hear a follow up post! How has adjustment to the new name gone? How have you adopted? How has family adopted? Do you/others still slip up and call him Kalyn at times? Hope I am not crossing any boundaries by asking these questions! You and Emmett have been such and inspiration to me in many ways over the years – am rooting for you two in all aspects of life!

    1. Hi Caitlin! I’m happy to share some follow up points :) We’re almost seven years post name change and now it feels very seamless to me. The first couple years were challenging for me, but Emmett was very patient as we all adapted. I wanted to support him the best I could, but it definitely took some time since it was routine. I think simultaneously moving actually made it easier and more difficult in a few ways. We moved to across the country (away from our family and friends at the time) a few months after he changed his name. It made it easier to dive into a new location and meet new people, introducing him as Emmett. Almost like a new place and a new identity. It’s funny, some of our Utah friends don’t even know he ever went by another name. However, back at home- our family struggled or were slower to make the transition since we don’t see them as often. To this day, his parents still call him Kalyn, and I think they always will. He’s totally fine with that, and it took my parents four or five years to fully transition, but not they are team Emmett these days. Ha. I usually adapt based on who I’m chatting with. I’ll call him Kalyn if I’m talking to his mom or dad, but that’s it. Sometimes I’ll slip up and say Emmett, and of course they don’t mind and obviously know who I’m talking about. I think it was most confusing for our nieces and nephews, being so young. Sometimes they use his names interchangeably, which he’s also cool with. Uncle Kalyn or Uncle Emmett… he goes by both, but mostly Emmett. I know for certain he loves his name now and it suits him. Hilarious story- my friend got me a birthday gift a few years ago- a gift card for a session her physic medium (ha). It was my first time doing this, so I didn’t know what to expect. Long story short, he asked how my second marriage was going. I’m sure I looked puzzled. He said, “both your husbands look oddly similar, you must have a type.” Finally I realized he was talking about Kalyn/Emmett, who is obviously one in the same. That gave me a good laugh. I didn’t elaborate to him, but it’s still a funny story I like to tell. At the end of the day, I’m glad Emmett feels content and like himself. If something is no longer serving us, I’m a big believer that if we have the ability to make a change- we should seek what makes us happy. It was tricky at first, but felt more natural as time passed. I hope that helps. I also hope you’ve had an amazing summer! Thanks for your kind words :)