Spousal naming dispute. Need help. (Warning: it's long)

I actually found nameberry while searching online for solutions to a naming dispute my husband and I have been having. Although I have been having lots of fun discussing names on the forums, I have yet to find an answer to my dilemma. I’ve hesitated about posting this because we are not actually planning on even trying to conceive for at least another 2 years, but I don’t really see this issue changing, and I’d rather get a solution now rather than freaking out in the third trimester one day. I’m also a little drunk right now.

So here is the problem. My husband is a third, but he goes by a nickname that he hates. At work, he goes by his first name, but he says that he has always wanted to go by his middle name. I suspect the reason he goes by his first name at work instead of his middle name is that his middle name is not as professional, but he would never admit to this. He thinks the next best thing to going by his middle name is having a son who is a fourth that goes by his middle. I am vehemently opposed to this, and he has his heart set on it.

My naming style is pretty traditional. My absolute favorite girls name of all time is [name]Charlotte[/name] (which the hubby likes! yay!). The middle name that my husband wants to call our hypothetical son is [name]Rivers[/name]. I can’t do it. I can see the appeal…[name]Rivers[/name] is an awesome rock star name, and my husband was in a band back in the day…but I can’t see it for my son. I can’t imagine holding a baby boy and calling him [name]Rivers[/name]. I can’t imagine calling out the name [name]Rivers[/name] on a soccer field. I can’t imagine ever saying, “Hey, [name]Rivers[/name]! [name]Don[/name]'t hit your sister!” I just can’t do it.

I feel like I there has to be a compromise, but he is so stubborn about it. I even told him that if he must have a fourth, that we could call him by his first name. (The first name is a shortened version of an old family name that is easy to pronounce and spell, but is not actually a “real” name. Sounds like [name]Pete[/name]. Not exactly my style, but I could deal with it.) He says calling our potential son by his first name would be too confusing because both he and his dad go by that name sometimes. (His dad also has a nickname but goes by his first name at work.) He refuses to entertain any option other than [name]Rivers[/name]. I even asked him what other boy names he liked other than [name]Rivers[/name], and he could not come up with a single one. Not a single one.

If I could name a boy whatever I wanted, I would name him after my granddad, who I am very close to. He has a traditional first name and a cool family surname as his middle. I would use his first and middle name and my husband’s last name (I did not change my last name when we married). No one is named after my granddad, and I would love to be able to honor him while he is still alive. I also think the whole naming a child after yourself thing is kind of narcissistic even though it is a popular thing to do (for males at least).

My second choice would be naming a boy [[name]Non[/name]-Family First Name] [name]Rivers[/name] [Husband’s Last Name]. That way we could choose a first name that our son would go by together, and he could have [name]Rivers[/name] as a middle. Again, this idea was promptly shut down.

This is definitely going to be a huge issue if we ever have a boy. At this point, I am just praying that we end up having all girls to avoid this argument even though I would love to have a son…just not named [name]Rivers[/name].

His idea of a “compromise” is if our first child is a girl, I can name it, and if its a boy, he will. This is a problem because he likes my first choice girl name, and I cannot deal with his first choice boy name! Not a compromise, right? Or am I taking crazy pills?!

Thank you so much if you have read this far. Thoughts? Advice? [name]How[/name] have any of you dealt with stubborn husbands? Please help! Sorry for the super long post!!

I’m definitely on your side. If you don’t like the name, and he isn’t planning on calling a possible future son by the name, it’s ridiculous to use it. And I don’t think it’s right to use a name one of you don’t like (me and my boyfriend scratched off all the names the other had a problem with because of that). This goes both ways though, so if he doesn’t like your grandfather’s name that should be taken off the table as well. Ask him how he would feel if you picked a named he disliked, that might do the trick. Also, most men I know aren’t really that committed to compromising and finding the right name until there is an actual baby.

Here’s what I would do: Give the man a name book and a marker and ask him to find some new names he likes. You can do it together, or he can do it on his own. And if he doesn’t like any of your names, you have to do it as well. Then you look at each others lists and see if you can find some common ground, and you can ask all of us for help when you have a few names you like or find tolerable.

Good luck!

I would definately be fighting a name I didn’t like.
Actually I did!!!
My DH’s family name is [name]Raymond[/name]. I am sure some people love it, but I detest it. I bluntly said “Over my dead body, no way no how”. Basically I was more stubborn than him. In the end we did find names we could both like.
If he insists on [name]Rivers[/name] tell him you insist on your grandfathers name as his first name. Once the baby is named only call him your gransfathers name- the name [name]Rivers[/name] won’t catch on if people don’t use it.
Me, I am probably even more stubborn, I wouldn’t have [name]Rivers[/name] OR his #4 name.


I would do what ottilie said - give him a name book and let him pick out names he likes.

Here’s some suggestions:
~ [name]Do[/name] you prefer just [name]River[/name] to [name]Rivers[/name]?

Names that contain ‘[name]Ver[/name]’ (2 syllables)
~ [name]Carver[/name]
~ [name]Colver[/name]
~ [name]Denver[/name]
~ [name]Ever[/name]
~ [name]Iver[/name]
~ [name]Silver[/name] / [name]Sylver[/name]
~ [name]Traver[/name]
~ [name]Vernon[/name]
~ [name]Weaver[/name]
~ [name]Xaiver[/name] / [name]Xayver[/name]

Nature names (2 syllables)
~ [name]Aspen[/name]
~ [name]Balsam[/name]
~ [name]Falcon[/name]
~ [name]Heron[/name]
~ [name]Timber[/name]

Let us know what you and he thinks!

From what I’ve read, I think your best option lies in [[name]Non[/name]-Family First Name] [name]Rivers[/name] [Husband’s Last Name].

[name]Even[/name] this is a huge compromise on your part, and I think eventually your husband will come to see this. It really should take two people to name a child, if both parents are going to be calling the child by the name. Sometimes we get so caught up on what we want, that we completely ignore what our spouse is saying. I think when you’re actually close to having the child, he may come around. Hell, it might take up until you’re screaming your head off in the delivery room for him to think “You know, she probably deserves at least equal naming rights.”

The reason I say [[name]Non[/name]-Family First Name] [name]Rivers[/name] [Husband’s Last Name] is the best option is because you will have that first name to decide together, like you said. I’m sure you have explained to him how you cannot imagine yourself calling out to a little [name]Rivers[/name], but you could tell him that he can sometimes call the kid [name]Rivers[/name] as a nickname, and you can call him by his first name or a nickname variant of that. Tell him that your son needs that first name for his professional future. (Unless your son does decide to be a rockstar, actor, or professional football player, in which case you can later apologize lol)

Well I love [name]Rivers[/name] and it’s no more unprofessional than [name]Forest[/name] or [name]Dale[/name]

I’m not crazy about naming kids after family but I also don’t want to be the one to break the chain. It would be easier to refuse to call my son [name]Jr[/name]. than to refuse to make him a 4th

You really aren’t compromising if you say [name]Rivers[/name] can be the middle but he can’t be called [name]Rivers[/name]. What’s the point? [name]Just[/name] because hubby happens to like your top choice doesn’t negate that it is YOUR choice, not his. [name]Rivers[/name] is his choice. So really, you get your way with both kids’ names and he has to give up his one favorite.

A real compromise would be [first name] [name]Rivers[/name] [last name] AND call him [name]Rivers[/name]. If you just can’t stand [name]Rivers[/name] then call him whatever you want. It’s not uncommon for a child to go by different names. Eventually your son will decide what he prefers

Ok, so if your husband wants to go by [name]Rivers[/name] so badly, why doesn’t he just do that? If the name isn’t professional enough for him to get away with using, why does he think it will work better for your son when he gets into a career? I feel like letting the child be a 4th and go by his first name is a really generous compromise. It’s giving up the name you want to use and letting his dad give him all 3 names in exchange for you getting to decide which name he goes by. Or take both his family name and your family name off the table and try to come up with something you both like.

Why not use [name]Rivers[/name] and your grandfather’s names as middles, and give him a totally new non-family first name that you decide on together? That way both you and your husband still get to have names you want, but your son also has a fresh new first name free of all the debate. I [name]LOVE[/name] [name]Ottilie[/name]'s suggestion of going through a baby book separately, and then writing down all the names you both mark to choose from. I feel like this idea is in the true spirit of compromise, because you both get something you want and you can come together in your love for a new name as well!

The purpose of a compromise is for each party to give enough that both can be happy; essentially meeting in the middle. It’s not one person giving up what they want to make the other happy. If at the end one person is happy at the expense of the other being upset, it’s not an effective compromise. If there is no way you will be happy with [name]Rivers[/name] ANYWHERE in the name, even as a second middle, and if your husband feels the same way about your grandfather’s name, maybe the best solution is just to totally start from scratch.

Good luck! Let us know if we can help further :slight_smile:

I hope that I don’t upset all the people who have a naming tradition with II, III’s, IV’s etc but I think it is archaic. This is the 21sst century by all means honour a family member but the same name being repeated generation after generation? I can see no merit in it at all. [name]Remember[/name] the children carry the surname anyway, so it is not as if the family history has been lost if this hideous custom has been perpetuated. I feel for the wives who may have been bullied into using the “family” name.

So, Dad listen to your wife and give your child its own unique name, please.


I am hoping that he might come around to this option once our hypothetical pregnancy is real. I like your idea of letting him call the kid [name]Rivers[/name] as a nickname…I wouldn’t mind it being a special name that only Dad calls him.

I do like [name]Rivers[/name] as a middle name…I just don’t want to actually call my child that. He likes my granddad’s name just fine and says that we could use it for a second son if we have one. But my granddad’s first name is [name]Thomas[/name], and I feel like [name]Rivers[/name] and [name]Thomas[/name] would be an awkward sib set.

I think if I start being even more stubborn than him the kid will not have a name at all, lol. I hope that we can find names that we both like you and your hubby. What did you end up naming your son?

This is a good idea…even if he can’t think of any other names he likes off the top of his head, if he went through a whole baby book, he would have to like at least some of them, right? I think the main problem is that he is so stuck on the idea of using [name]Rivers[/name] that he does not even want to consider any other names.

[name]EDIT[/name]: this was in reply to ottilie…I messed up the quote.

I don’t know if you’re looking for other options, but [name]Brooks[/name] is the first thing I thought of when I say your post. Good luck!

I think [name]River[/name] is better than [name]Rivers[/name]. I don’t mind the name [name]River[/name] but can’t see using it in the plural form. If I were you, I would not back down! Your kid is going to be stuck with this name for his entire life and I personally would hate being named [name]Rivers[/name]. I also don’t really like the practice of the Senior, [name]Junior[/name], III, etc. because it takes away from the uniqueness of one’s name. Maybe you can use a family name for the middle, but I would never want to have the exact same name as one of my parents - no thank you! This is a subject where you really can’t bend too much because a name is a huge part of a person. You don’t want your kid getting made fun of on the playground for the name “[name]Rivers[/name]”. Your husband needs to learn that having children is a compromise on all fronts and you need to meet in the middle so you both like each child’s name. [name]Just[/name] because he is a man does not mean he gets to name the boy! You could use your grandfather’s name and the detestable “[name]Rivers[/name]” as middle names, and choose a non-family first name together. Make sure your son has a name everyone will love - the baby included!

My parents had this argument when my brother was born. [name]Robert[/name] is a family name and my dad was adamant about using it or another family name. My mom refused, it seems like every boy on my dad’s side is a [name]Robert[/name]. She wanted [name]Fritz[/name]. He said [name]Glenn[/name] [name]Robert[/name], [name]Glenn[/name] [name]Franklin[/name], [name]Franklin[/name] [name]Robert[/name], [name]Robert[/name] [name]Franklin[/name] II (after his grandfather) and [name]Robert[/name] [name]Glenn[/name]. Mom said she could not live with any ofthem. She absolutely had to have a [name]Fritz[/name]. Well [name]Erin[/name] and [name]Fritz[/name] don’t exactly go together. So they scrapped all of them and came up with [name]Cole[/name].
I’d say break out a name book and go through it together.

I get the feeling you’re happy with the potential sons middle name being [name]Rivers[/name], but it should be just that, a middle name, not what he is called by.

[name]Thomas[/name] [name]Rivers[/name] last name, is extremely handsome - IF you can get there. If you can’t, I would suggest the same as PP, that it back to the drawing board to find something you both agree on.

Or like you said, just make girls!

Good luck OP.