Should I just relent?

So I have a new problem. My husband is Vietnamese and has recently announced he wants the middle name of our baby to be a Vietnamese name after his father (if it’s a boy). His father’s name was Bon [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name]. He says he doesn’t care if we use Bon or [name]Van[/name] but he really wants to use one or the other.

But, I don’t like those names at all. Normally it would be as simple as just saying no I don’t like them but his father passed away when he was 20 years old (I never met him) so I don’t want to look cold and heartless by refusing to use them.

We really like the names [name]Theodore[/name] and [name]Matthias[/name] for boys but I can’t decide if those middle names even go well with those two first names. [name]Theodore[/name] Bon and [name]Matthias[/name] [name]Van[/name]? Ugh, I really don’t think I like the way they sound. I tried explaining that their last name would be a Vietnamese name but he says that it is such a common last name that it isn’t really special.

But then I would feel trapped into using Vietnamese middle name for ALL our children. Why just single one out, you know? His mother’s first and last name are Gaio (pronounced yao) [name]Le[/name] (pronounced [name]Lee[/name]). So those would be our options for middle spots for a girl if we have one. We both love [name]Hermione[/name]. Obviously [name]Le[/name] won’t work with it but do you think Gaio would? [name]Hermione[/name] Gaio? Or [name]Calista[/name] [name]Le[/name]? UGH I AM DRIVING MYSELF CRAZY! I don’t like any of those middle names at all. Should I just put my foot down and tell him I don’t want to do it or should I just relent and let him honor his father by using his name in a middle spot?

What would you do if you were in my position? I don’t feel as trapped into using his mother’s name for a middle spot for the girls since his mother is still alive but I am really not familiar with Vietnamese names so if anyone can suggest something that goes with [name]Hermione[/name], [name]Calista[/name], or [name]Clea[/name] I would really appreciate it.

He thinks I am nuts about caring so much how the first name sounds with the middle name, he just doesn’t get it :frowning:

[name]Will[/name] your kids have the [name]Nguyen[/name] last name? You might argue they will already have a connection to your husband’s family. Still if it’s a big deal to him then I’d let him have the middle name. Those names don’t sound bad.

What about giving him two middle names? [name]Theodore[/name] ‘blank’ [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name] doesn’t sound bad, actually I kind of like [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name] as well, it reminds me of [name]Ludwig[/name] [name]Van[/name] Beethoven…

I can definitely understand where you’re coming from. Most of us here on nameberry are obsessed with the idea of finding "perfect"middle names to complement the first names we are equally obsessed over. BUT, I think it’s important to step back and remember that there is actually a huge difference between naming a child in the real world and coming up with name combos that will wow fellow berries. In the real world, middle names are rarely used, and in the real world personal connections and feelings always trump sound and style. In this case, I think you should allow your husband to pick a middle name to honor his father, and even though you might not be giving your son a perfect-sounding name, you’ll be giving him a great gift of a connection to his father and grandfather through his name. [name]Do[/name] I think [name]Theodore[/name] Bon sounds great? No, not really; I much prefer [name]Theodore[/name] [name]James[/name]. But, if given a choice, do I think your son would prefer to be [name]Theodore[/name] Bon over [name]Theodore[/name] [name]James[/name]? Absolutely! When someone asks about his middle name, I’m sure he’d much rather say it’s for his grandfather and have the opportunity to reminisce about his family and heritage than say “oh, my Mom and her online friends thought it sounded nice.” And, the fact that it will make your husband happy is just icing on the cake. Besides, you should be grateful he didn’t ask you to use Bon in the first name spot - that would be the time to really put your foot down :slight_smile:

i understand your frustration at not liking the sound of the names.

but to me family is so much more important than a name–especially a middle name. i can’t imagine how losing a parent so young may have affected your husband, my dad is such a special part of my life and of my kids’ lives—so i’d join a husband in honoring his late dad.

it may be influencing me that everyone in my family and extended family is named for someone–many of them are named for deceased family members.

i kinda like [name]Van[/name] as a middle name with either of your choices. the only issue i see is one already brought up–it may sound like the german son-of prefix. i don’t think this is really a problem combined with your last name.

i think [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name] or [name]Mattias[/name] [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name] are wonderful melodic yet classic names for little boys and will age spectacularly well.

as i said, this is the way i’d resolve it were it me–but it’s not. so it’s more important you be comfortable–sorry there isn’t an easy solution.

good luck.

Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it. I know family is more important than a good sounding middle name but it’s still disappointing because he just recently sprung this on me.

I like the suggestion of using two middle names but I don’t want the kid to sound like a law firm. [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Henry[/name] Bon [name]Nguyen[/name]? [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Henry[/name] [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name]? I dunno, that’s a long name for a kid. I agree the [name]Van[/name] makes it sound like part of the last name like [name]Van[/name] Der Sloot, ick.

What is your opinion on whether or not the girls should have a Vietnamese middle name as well? Would it be weird to only have one kid with a Vietnamese middle name? I feel like I would also be pushed into giving two middle names to all future children as well. Sigh

Why did he have to complicate things like this! ? :?

I’m with the pp’s on this issue. I have my paternal grandmother’s name as my middle. I’ve always despised the name on its own, but the meaning behind it makes me love it. My sister (who got our maternal grandmother’s name) feels the same way. I never met that grandmother, but I feel that having her name connects us. I don’t think sound matters that much- or at all. It’s the love behind it. And as for future girls, maybe you could say you deserve to pluck from your family tree as well- but use it to honor people you really want to honor. It’s not a matter of Vietnamese vs. not, it’s giving all the kids names that connect them to someone who played a part in their life even before they were born. I don’t think it would be fair for all of your kids to be named for his family members. And maybe you could consider a name containing the letters “[name]VAN[/name]” or “BON”- there’s probably many- or using initials VA or [name]BO[/name] because your last name is an N.

I’m with the pps all the way. Meaningful middle names are much better than those based on style alone. Actually, I think you got pretty lucky that the names are Bon and [name]Van[/name]. I can think of [name]WAY[/name] worse middle names to deal with! I actually think [name]Van[/name] is really cool and I wouldn’t even associate it with the VIetnamese language if I heard it. [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] is a great name! And I don’t think you need to feel obligated to name every child a Vietnamese name if you don’t want to. You named the first child for his paternal grandfather, the next can be named for his/her paternal grandmother OR maternal relations.

I assume that you want an honest answer? The tittle of this post speaks volumes to me. Should I relent? Isn’t naming your mutual baby both your jobs? I know that as a mother carrying a baby we tend to think we are more invested than the fathers but it isn’t true.
I think that your husband is being totally reasonable in asking that his son’s middle name be named after his father who passed away. If it was your close family member that died wouldn’t you want to share that connection with your child?
The fact that it is a Vietnamese name shouldn’t even effect it. Your children are obviously part Vietnamese so this is a double connection to their history and that is a great thing.
My husband’s father passed away unexpectedly this past year and since my husband was so close to him our son will have the middle name [name]Hayden[/name] which was my father in laws middle name. I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen [name]Hayden[/name] for my son but since my husband felt so strongly about it I of course placed that in the middle name spot.
I personally think that [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] sounds nice, it allows you to have your classic name but also still have the historical connection and connection to his family history.
The fact that he has the Vietnamese last name shouldn’t even be taken into consideration when deciding to use a family name. Everyone is given their father’s last name, does that mean that the father can’t choose a name for their own child?
Here are some nice Vietnamese names for consideration:

An (f) - [name]Peace[/name]
[name]Chi[/name] (f) - Tree Twig or [name]Branch[/name]
Hau (f) - Wish
Hoa (f) - [name]Flower[/name]
Hue (f) - [name]Lilly[/name]
Lien (f) - [name]Lotus[/name]
Linh (f) - [name]Spring[/name]
[name]Ly[/name] (f) - [name]Lion[/name]
[name]Mai[/name] (f) - Elegance
[name]Tai[/name] (f) - Big
Thi (f) - [name]Poem[/name]
Thu (f) - [name]Autumn[/name]
Tien (f) - [name]Fairy[/name] from Vietnamese Mythology
Yen (f) - [name]Peace[/name]

[name]Bao[/name] (m) - [name]Precious[/name] [name]Treasure[/name]
[name]Cam[/name] (m) - [name]Man[/name] with crooked nose
De (m) - [name]Royal[/name]
[name]Huy[/name] (m) - Shinning
[name]Tuan[/name] (m) - Intelligent
[name]Van[/name] (m) - [name]Cloud[/name]/Knowledge

I think 2four1 put it best. Hands down, it shouldn’t even be a second thought, his deceased fathers name should be used. And honestly, I think [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] sounds cool.

It’s a family decision, but I think it is nice that he wants to honor his father.

As for whether or not all your children will have Vietnamese middle or first names, I knew a family where the mother was caucasian and the father was Japanese. Some of their children had Japanese first or middle names, but not all of them. It’s not strange and I don’t think they ever felt like why one, but not the other. (They had 5 children.)

I wish my husband had strong feelings about names, either first or middle! It would make decisions much easier. :slight_smile:

[name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name] or [name]Mattias[/name] Bon [name]Nguyen[/name] look and sound kind of cool to my eyes and ears. Let your husband have his way with the middle name to honor his late father. That way, your son will always have a special connection with his paternal family. No one really goes by their middle name anyway. They will probably be known as [name]Theo[/name] or [name]Matt[/name]! Am I right? Alot of men feel left out of the loop during their wive’s pregnancy (eg. everything happens to the female in the couple) and his insistence on the middle name may be a way to gain some kind of control over a situation in which he is largely a bystander. And I don’t think you have to continue the tradition of Vietnamese middle names with any future children either. Pregnancy is stressful enough so don’t worry so much. Relax and enjoy. [name]Baby[/name] naming should be fun not filled with conflict. Good luck to you.

I agree with the pps who suggest you use one of your late father-in-law’s names. As someone else mentioned, you are lucky with those names to choose from, which are easy to spell and pronounce. Personally, I like [name]Van[/name] for the middle name. It goes very well with your first name choices. ([name]Theodore[/name] and [name]Matthias[/name] are great!) In the English-speaking world, [name]Van[/name] sounds very normal and nice as a middle name - especially since many middle names are surnames. The names [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name] or [name]Matthias[/name] [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name] are names that would serve your son exceptionally well and that he can be proud of. If ever asked about his name, he will feel great to explain the origin. It might just be me, but Bon as a middle name in this case sounds kind of like a mispronunciation of [name]Von[/name]. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with Bon. I agree with the pps, too, that having a middle name with a family connection would be special for your son and it would mean a lot to your husband. (All my kids’ middle names have family connections.)

P.S. to my post above…

I think the middle initial V. is distinguished and nice! For a daughter, you should use a name from your side of the family in the middle… any name you want.

I know this is late but thanks everyone for your honest opinion! We have decided to use Vietnamese family names for the boys and my family names for the girls. It’s funny because it should actually be reversed since at least the boys will keep their vietnamese last name but he really wants to honor his father so that is what we have come up with. So now for possible combos :slight_smile: The first/middle name flow isn’t as important now that we want to use family names but I don’t want them to just sound awful either so please give me your opinions!

Girls:
[name]Camilla[/name] Cowden
[name]Callista[/name] Kellogg/ [name]Lea[/name] (pronounced [name]Lee[/name])
[name]Emmeline[/name] Cowden
[name]Hermione[/name] Kellogg/[name]Carolyn[/name]

Boys:
[name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name]
[name]Cassius[/name] Bon
[name]Augustus[/name] [name]Van[/name]
[name]Caius[/name] Bon

What do you guys think?

My favorites are: [name]Callista[/name] [name]Lea[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name] & [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name]. I really love the name [name]Augustus[/name], but [name]Augustus[/name] [name]Nguyen[/name] seems it could be a bit of a tongue twister.

[name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] is really nice. Nothing really pops out to me on the girls side. They’re all good, but nothing is yelling at me.

Thanks. I think we are definitely going for [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] if it’s a boy. We’re having trouble with the girl’s names as well. Kellogg and Cowden are family last names which is why they are kind of difficult to put as a middle spot. [name]Both[/name] of our mothers are named [name]Lea[/name]/[name]Le[/name] pronounced the same way so that would be neat to use but it doesn’t sound well with very many names.

My grandmothers are named [name]Carolyn[/name] and [name]Marylee[/name] and my aunts are [name]Ann[/name] and [name]Abby[/name] and [name]Amanda[/name]. Not much to work with! Any combos that stick out with those names in mind?

Can’t edit for some reason but I forgot to add the name [name]Eugenia[/name] as another possible family name. She is my great aunt whom I love dearly! My family is huge into nicknames and she only goes by Tootsie (toot-see not tut-see like the candy lol) so I don’t know if [name]Eugenia[/name] would really be honoring her at all. I have the same problem with my grandmother ([name]Marylee[/name]) who goes by her nickname Mumsy (mum-zee) exclusively and those might be a little to cute for a middle spot… I don’t know! And before anyone asks I have no idea how they got those nicknames from their given names lol.

While I’m not pregnant yet. My husband and I have discussed names for our future kids, since so many of our friends are currently pregnant. Unlike me, my husband is the one who is insisting on using Chinese middle names for our kids - to honor my culture. I though it was rather sweet, that he wanted to keep my heritage and culture alive amongst our kids. We are actually going to be using the name Li (pronounced [name]LEE[/name]), since it’s my mom’s maiden Chinese name. Technically it’s spelt [name]Lee[/name], but since that is a boys name in [name]America[/name], we’ll be using the spelling Li. My sister used my mom’s maiden name as her daughter middle name as well.

So sorry, got completely off topic here. As for the names you have on your list. I love the name [name]Theodore[/name] [name]Van[/name] and [name]Calista[/name] [name]Lea[/name]/[name]Le[/name]. If you used the name [name]Lea[/name]/[name]Le[/name], have you decided which spelling you’ll be using? Personally, I prefer the [name]Le[/name] spelling, simply because it could be seen as a Vietnamese name as well. And I believe, you mentioned your family pronounces [name]Lea[/name]/[name]Le[/name] as [name]LEE[/name].

Oh, and just a side note, [name]Nguyen[/name] is a very common Vietnamese last name. It’s equivalent to [name]Smith[/name] or [name]Miller[/name].