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What if You and Your Spouse Don't Agree on a Baby Name?

This post is more of a cry for help than it is a source of help. I cannot answer the question because my wife and I are currently suffering from this dilemma. It’s true that we’ve got plenty of time to decide on a name, or even on a list of potential names. But one thing is for sure: We aren’t even close to agreeing on a name that might work.

One of our hardest problems is that our middle and last names are monosyllabic words that have actual meanings: Hill Mass. When we got married last October, we decided to take my wife’s maiden name as our middle names and my family’s last name as our last name. There were numerous reasons we made this decision, not least of which is that we wanted our children to have unified, familial names that honored both sides of our family, but that also matched their parents’ names without the arduous and (in my opinion) aesthetically displeasing hyphen. So we decided then that our family and all its immediate members (moms and kids!) would have the middle name of Hill and the last name of Mass. It was such an easy decision and sat so well with the both of us.

Who knew that naming would become such a nightmare?


At first, it felt silly to even be talking about names, since we’re not even pregnant yet (fingers crossed that will happen next month!). But after we both started tossing potential names around who couldn’t use a break from all the IVF medical talk? I realized just how glad I am that we’ve already started these talks. Because this is going to take a while.

It felt like a quirky disagreement in the beginning. But the cutesy teasing has turned into frustration, and we fear we’ll settle on a name we both feel “ehh” about just to compromise.

We’ve called in the troops, aka friends and family, for advice. But that isn’t really working, especially since my #1 go-to for name suggestions happens to have pretty much my exact taste in names. I leave the conversations with my baby-naming helper friend feeling great, only to have my wife shoot down the suggestions. Names that I adore (Maeve, Alice, Nora, Chet, Stanley, Myron), my wife cannot stand. And the names that top her list (Samantha, Lucinda, Simone, Jesse), I shake my head at. It felt like a quirky disagreement in the beginning. I’d swat her with the dishrag and laugh out, “Get outta here” when she suggested names. She’d similarly tease, often immediately coming up with a rhyme about the name I suggested that I couldn’t help but cross it off the list.

But the cutesy teasing has turned into frustration. Don’t get me wrong; our marriage isn’t in jeopardy because of this. And we have at the very least roughly 11 months to decide on one friggin’ name. It’s just that we’re both at the point where we fear we’ll settle on a name we both feel “ehh” about just to compromise. She likes it enough. I like it enough. Boom, it’s our child’s name. But how sad is that? That neither of us loves the name of our child? Part of me almost thinks it’s better for me to cave entirely just so one of us loves the name. I mean, really, after it’s all said and done, it’s not as though I’m going to love my child any less because I don’t love her or his name, for crying out loud.

I’ve abandoned the idea that I’ll have a daughter named Maeve or a son named Stanley (the name of my much-loved great uncle who passed away a few years ago). My wife simply does not like those names, and I have to respect that. I do respect that. And she knows we won’t have a Samantha or a Jesse. But the problem isn’t what aren’t we going to name our first-born child. The problem is what are we going to name out first-born child?

We’ve gone down the “family names” road. Her twin’s middle name and her aunt’s first name is Vera, and I’ve more than once suggested it. But she only likes it “a little.” My mother’s great grandmother’s name is Evelyn, but my wife’s coworker is naming her daughter that. It seems every turn leads us to a dead end.

Has this happened to you? Are you and your spouse currently in disagreement about potential baby names? How have you handled this? We seriously welcome all and any advice!

Photo: sashafatcat

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