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It's My Family Tradition vs. My Wife's Wishes!

Everyone in my family has a name that starts with M. My wife is pregnant with our first child. It's important to my family to carry on the tradition of the M names, but my wife isn't too crazy about it. What should I do?


We don't always get the perspective of the guy caught in the middle of this kind of naming dilemma, so thanks for writing in. What you didn't mention, though, is how you feel about the M-name tradition. Do you want to continue it, or are you ready to move on?

I understand your dilemma. It can feel as though you are choosing your family over your wife, or vice versa, depending on what you decide. If you do long to stick with the M pattern, one concession would be to give your wife free reign to pick any M name she wants. You get the first letter, she gets the rest of the name; she'd have lots of options to choose from.

But, she may also have a point. A same-initial pattern can become unwieldy as it grows through a large family. Names become confusingly similar when all the aunts, uncles, and cousins share a first initial. And the goal of finding a distinctive M name overwhelms the goal of choosing a wonderful name that you really love. Maybe it's time to move the M initial to the middle-name spot, or retire it altogether.

If you do decide you're ready to break the pattern, make clear to your family that you wanted to start a new tradition. Don't blame it on your wife! In my experience, grandparents usually get over these kinds of strong feelings. Once baby is born, initials seem less important than a loving family relationship.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

January 18, 2016 12:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It's important to your family? But your family isn't having or raising the child. I really don't think extended family members (grandparents) should get a say in baby names. They named their kids, now you & your wife get to name your kids. I'll also add that unless your wife also as an M name, "everyone" in your family doesn't have an M name anymore.

If it is important To You that your child have an M name, then you & your wife will have to come up with a way to compromise. But keep in mind that if you really want to keep the tradition, you are going to have to compromise on all future children as well.

Personally, I think this is the type of "tradition" that's only good for about a generation. After that, the good M names will be increasingly difficult to find. Maybe it's time to start thinking about new traditions for your new family, the one you & your wife will be creating together.

January 18, 2016 6:06 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Is the baby getting your surname? If so, does it really seem fair for your family to have control over the first name too?

Consider that your wife is carrying the pregnancy, going through childbirth, and probably going to end up doing more of the childcare. What part of the naming process does she get to participate in? Will she get the booby prize of choosing the middle name or is that that going to be after your mother/father?

I feel sorry for your wife. You should learn to respect and value her. Put her before your parents, at least when it comes to naming the child that's going to painfully come out of her body (one way or the other).

January 18, 2016 10:40 PM
By Sasha (not verified)

Hey, Anon 6:06, cut Maleke a break! He didn't ask "How can I make my wife do what I want?" He asked how he can try to please both his family and his wife.

January 19, 2016 5:02 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with Anon #1. If its not important to you (you don't really say what you prefer) then maybe it's time to drop the tradition in favor of something new. If it is important to you, then compromise: she gets to choose the M name, M name from her side of the family, etc). Personally, I think that's more important for parents to choose a name they love for their child than one that fits a tradition they never chose.

An easy way to compromise with your family: M middle name!

January 19, 2016 8:41 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

What about an M name with a non-M nickname?

Like Peggy for Margaret for example.

January 19, 2016 8:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Him trying to find a way to please both his family and his wife is the crux of the problem. It gives his family a part in a discussion which is none of their business. Start with this and they'll expect a say in how the child is disciplined and what schools it attends.

The only opinions that matter are Maleke's and his wife's. If Maleke himself doesn't have an independent opinion, then his wife's choice carries the day. He should NOT hand his ballot to his parents.

January 21, 2016 2:08 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think the Name Lady has an answer there. In my own personal database of names, M, S, and E are the most popular initials, so she would have plenty of options to choose from. And you can always agree on a middle for your child that doesn't start with M if the family ties overwhelm your wife's initial preference.

Good luck!

January 21, 2016 8:29 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, this exactly! It's time to start creating some boundaries or the family could very likely think they should be consulted & get a say in all parenting decisions.

Bottom line is this child belongs to Maleke & his wife, so Maleke and his wife should pick a name they like best. If it happens to start with an M, great. But the wife should not feel any pressure to pick or even consider M names.

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