This Couple Needs A Baby Name Pre-Nup!

Duana Taha reports that she and her new husband are compatible in every way, until they start talking about baby names.

I recently got married, and we’re very happy. Like a lot of just-married couples, we’re thinking about children in the near future, which is great.

Except we forgot one crucial thing. A baby name pre-nup.

Do most couples work out their baby names before they agree to be tied together forever? Was I unaware? Because there are some issues here we definitely should have discussed…!

My name is very unusual – to say the least. It bothered me when I was growing up (as a preschooler, I was known to tell nice people in grocery stores that my name was ‘Megan’), but these days I really appreciate being the only Duana I know. It suits me, I don’t compare myself to the ‘originator’ of the name, or to anyone else we might bump up against in our social circles. (I’m not proud of this, but when by ourselves, we distinguish between two acquaintances as ‘good Nicole’ and ‘bad Nicole’).

My husband, on the other hand – his name, Michael, was number one the year he was born and for many years before and after. It always struck him as kind of neat. Plenty of sports stars and superheroes boasted the same name, there were no shortages of magnets and toothbrushes with his name on it, and he loved sharing names with other kids in the neighborhood – they were their own, very similar club.

Add to this that I am a fascinated name-o-phile while he didn’t realize the ‘aydens’ were a trend, and we anticipate some problems. I know worrying about baby names before we’re even expecting might seem a little premature, but it took us three weeks to name our puppy, and she’s never even going to have a resume! So in an effort to bridge this gap, we’re cobbling together a post-nup name contract. Here are a few of the most contentious points:

His: No ‘pretentious’ names
A deal breaker for him is names that sound lofty or pretentious. So far Henrietta and Alastair have come under fire, while I’ve been carefully not saying ‘Anastasia’ out loud in case it’s similarly dismissed (Update: He read this. “We’re not Russian royalty!”). It seems like most of the ones that get this label from him are long names, and I see the point, but every Gus was once Augustus…right?

Mine: Nothing too normal
I cannot handle names that are nickname-y, cutesy, or sound like they’d be on a list of ‘All-American Good Guys and Gals’. Anything that could reliably have been found in the popular kids’ crowd in a high-school movie is out – they’re so cheery and preppy. Charlie, Kerry, Amy, Toby. Don’t those sound like sunny, well-adjusted kids? What if I want my kid to be able to be grumpy sometimes, like Oscar the Grouch? And since you asked, no, I can’t name him Oscar – it got vetoed.

His: No names in pop culture
I can’t name him Oscar because, of course, of the Grouch in question. Every time I bring up a name with a pop culture connection – say, Veronica – he says “All I think about is Archie comics.” Every fictional character has to be named something, and every name will be used eventually on TV or somewhere, but so far it hasn’t won me any cases. The less popular or iconic the character, the better chance his or her name has, but I think this rule might thoroughly eliminate Felicity. And Theo.

Mine: No repeats. None.
I totally understand the importance of honor names in some cultures and families – it’s just not for me. It’s one thing to share a name with another kid at school by accident, but to willingly replicate someone in the family, especially someone who’s still living? Big Nathaniel and Little Nathaniel? When there are so many unused names out there just looking for a home?

When I suggested we get around this by using the Gaelic format of a name we like – Síne instead of Jane, for example – I got an exasperated eye roll. Which leads us to:

Mine: Let’s make the name Irish…
We each have one parent born in Ireland, and my extended family is still there. For me, that meant trips ‘back home’ and an appreciation of the Róisíns and Ronans who mix in well with the Patricias and Tommys.

His: …but not too Irish. (Seriously, easy on the Irish)
Michael’s extended family are almost all in North America – so he sees the Irish names I favor as a little too exotic and even – yes – a bit pretentious. No Aoibheanns here, not even one little Aoife.

Despite all these rules, we really do have a lot in common and we’re excited to find out what happens when the guy with the #1 name and the girl with the number way, way below that find a way to compromise, name-wise. I know that someday, when little Benignus Jake or Ella Marcheline arrives, we’re all going to be very happy.

Duana Taha is a television screenwriter for programs like Degrassi and Lost Girl, and admits that naming the characters is sometimes the best part.   She is a Twitter aficionado and also writes about television, celebrity, and celebrity baby names on

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


18 Responses to “This Couple Needs A Baby Name Pre-Nup!”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Agent99 Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 5:21 am

I can see exactly where she’s coming from because I’m in the same boat but ultimately I know we will be happy with our future children’s names.

Also wanted to say: great guest blogger choice, I love her contributions to laineygossip!

PrincessNoriBori Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 7:06 am

Loved your article! 🙂 Two name suggestion for you two, though – Annabel (the potential to stick to Anna could be nice) or Keeva (I know a lovely little Irish girl named Keeva. She spells it phonetically (it’s technically Caoimhe) but I think it’s very pretty either way.)

littlemissmariss Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 9:48 am

Love it! Me and my SO have the same issue! His name is Michael as well, and he feels the exact same way about it. He likes mainstream names and liked his name being popular. Never once cared he was always Michael E. me on the other hand, I like vintage names (with a little bit of modern added in) and I also adore Irish names. I’m not Irish myself, though my SO is part Irish so I could pretend its honoring his roots or something 😉 either way I adore Irish names. Saoirse, Aoife, Roisin, etc. however theyre too out there’. Unfortunately Mike outright says he wants a kid with a popular name 🙁 i want the opposite. We’ve found some common grounds, but its disappointing.

LexieM Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 9:49 am

Hahaha…. this is hilarious. Thank you for sharing I’m sure A LOT of berries have similar issues though maybe they aren’t always expressed as articulately. (Though I got to admit while I love Henrietta, Anastasia also makes me want to scream “I’m not Russian Royalty”. lol.)

MegLewis Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 11:24 am

Haha I can totally relate. My husband and I often talk about names and we are no where near the same page. He would love to use his grandfather’s name: Donald and I can’t stand it. Also I feel like I changed my last name when we got married so I should get more when it comes to naming our children because our last name: Lewis is part of his family history, I need some family history. It can’t be all his side.

He also likes old school names like Henry and Moe.

I like Dexter, Hunter, Hudson, Tate for boys.
For girls I like Matilda, Sydney, Emory, Charlotte, Noa

Hopefully we’ll come to a compromise.

LadyCap Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 11:49 am

My husband also has a lot of vague rules about what names can and can’t be that he isn’t able to explain until I give him a name I really like. I say “Isn’t Wren cute?” He says “It doesn’t sound like a name”–his number one rule.

The other thought I had was suggesting your explore some of the real classic names that will fit into his requirements, but have a lot of great nicknames that can help satisfy your desires. For example, Elizabeth.

iwillpraise Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

My husband’s name is also Michael!!! He loves his name just as much as I love mine, and I’ve found names we can both agree on, but he insists that he’d like to give part of his name to our sons like his father did (ie, my FIL’s name is Daniel William, so Michael’s name is M. William and younger brother’s is S. Daniel). I think his dad was very creative, but I’m not impressed by William. I love my own dad too, but his name is John. Have you seriously ever counted how many Michaels, Williams, or Johns you know personally?? B.O.R.I.N.G.

MegLewis: I feel the same way!! I changed my last name (from one syllable to 4!); can’t he give me a little room to invest my inheritance into our kids??

LadyCap: I got the exact reaction from my husband with the name Wren. (To give you a little backgroud, he had a bad association with Renee and won’t let me use it for a mn, so I suggested Wren instead…)

I’ve learned that through the silliness of a husband and wife’s name rules, it gives you both a new outlook and the ability to prove that flexibility needed to keep a life-long love 🙂 Your kids will ultimately benefit from this process ~ bearing a name you’ve created together

munro Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

How about Owen? I think it would your criteria very well.

auroradawn Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Thanks for this articulate and good-humored bit of writing. I’m not married yet, but in my private baby name madness I always try to keep a corner of my mind open for my future husband, though I most definitely intend to have the baby name discussion before I say “Yes”! Full well I know that I will almost certainly have to make compromises of some kind.
However, if I find that a future boyfriend has always dreamed of naming twin sons Brayden and Jayden, he may seriously get crossed off my list. 🙂
Hope you can find names you both love!

jenjenbarnes Says:

November 14th, 2012 at 12:20 am

oh this is funny! I have a boring husband named Michael too 😉 We were able to agree on some pretty great names for our two girls (Rose and Caroline) but I am I always try to push some edginess on him. I mean who doesn’t want a little girl named Clementine or something like that?!? He’s begging for a Sarah…which is sweet but let’s spice it up baby!

Samantha-Bianca Says:

November 14th, 2012 at 8:44 pm

That was a great article. I hope I never have to compromise…but who am I kidding. I will probably end up with someone like “Michael”!
Good luck!

RiRiFitzie Says:

November 23rd, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Hi! your dilema is totally undestandable. I dont know if u will consider this name.. but my name is Mary FitzGibbons(obviously irish) i dont know any other Marys and everyone knew the name but..i was the only Mary in a Catholic school! They were all Isabelle or Anna. “RiRi” is what my little sis has called me that since childhood. Hence the username..or Elouise, Siobhan(shi-vahn),Cora, or Meaghan(a twist on your childhood favorite 🙂 or Viola….classic and simple. Good Luck!

RiRiFitzie Says:

November 23rd, 2012 at 10:42 pm

boys are a bit harder…my favs are Aiden<Aaron<and Eamonn and Padraig.

Lea Says:

November 23rd, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Immediately Orla strikes my mind, it’s Irish and unused in America but not too weird. Another idea it to compromise by having a popular name then a name of your choice in the middle, or a mix of both like Primrose or Emmeline.

starophie Says:

December 3rd, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Well, if you write for Lost Girl, I would assume Aoife is out of the question! 😉

The Wife’s Life: Name Calling at The Examined Life Says:

December 5th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

[…] of time, couples have fought over whether to call their baby Rob or Bobby. Writer Duana Taha is composing a post-nuptial contract with her husband, replete with dictums and concordance on prospective names for their future bundle. Smart move. […]

BlueEyes26 Says:

August 20th, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Great article, I think many people deal with the same issues. I enjoyed reading the list of must haves and have nots thats a great idea to try to figure out why your husband keeps knocking down ideas you throw at him. I am interested in seeing how doing something like this will help us in the naming process 🙂 Also it would be great to hear what you finally decided (if you have had a child since).

The Name Trend That Isn’t – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

December 3rd, 2015 at 2:32 pm

[…] Duana Taha writes the Duana Names column for the website Lainey Gossip, where this piece first appeared. She last wrote for Nameberry on wishing she and her husband had signed a baby name prenup. […]

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.