Category: fighting about baby names
By Pamela Redmond Satran
Many couples are shocked to find that, while they agree about so many more seemingly important things, they’re locked in an enormous battle over baby names. Why do arguments rear up about an issue that should be fun and pleasurable? And how can you solve these Baby Name Battles?
RECOGNIZE YOU’RE NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT NAMES. Name discussions often tap into deeper issues like religion, family, people’s experiences from their pasts that they may not have discussed openly or even be aware of themselves. It may take more time, patience, and care to thoroughly discuss name tastes and their implications than you anticipate.
DON’T COMPROMISE. Finding a compromise name — one that may not be either of your favorites but that you both like okay — might not actually be the best solution. It can provide a quicker, easier fix to the name problem, but may cover up the deeper issues still lurking.
DIG DEEPER. It’s worth uncovering the reasons BEHIND the names you and your partner like. Let’s say your partner is campaigning for a name from their family — which may be more about pleasing their parents than loving that particular name. That can help you both look for other names that might fit the bill in a way that’s meaningful to the other person but that you also like.
Conceiving your child may have made you feel, more than any other step you’ve taken together, as if you and your spouse had finally and truly become one. Choosing its name can remind you that, nope, you’re still actually two.
There are all those people with all those names that each of you knew and loved or hated before you met each other. If you and your spouse draw up individual lists of your favorite names, chances are you’ll cross off half of each other’s picks because you went to third grade with an Elizabeth whose nose was always running, or had a college roommate named Daniel who told terrible jokes.
Couples who successfully negotiate religious differences and complicated family holidays sometimes find themselves stymied by conflicting name ideas and requirements. One couple we know, for instance, compromised his Jewish and her Catholic backgrounds by attending a Unitarian church, but when naming their baby hit a deep divide when he wanted to follow religious tradition and give their child a name that started with the same letter as that of his recently deceased grandmother, and she bucked against being pinned down to names beginning with S.