A dad’s wish to honour a family tradition when naming his first son has caused a rift, after his wife decided she no longer wants to back out of the agreement.

The 37-year-old mum is now asking whether she’s in the wrong for no longer wanting to follow her husband’s family tradition. She says she and her 38-year-old husband have been married for 11 years, and have two daughters aged eight and four.

“I am currently 12-weeks pregnant with our third child,” she explained. “I just had an ultrasound and we were able to determine the sex of the baby, a little boy. We have found out the sex of all of our children this way.

“My husband is a ‘third’. As in, John Smith III. Before we got married and were having discussions about kids, he did make it very clear that passing down his name was very important to him if we had a son. At the time I thought it was really cute and adorable how much pride he took in it since most guys don’t really care about that sort of sentimental stuff.

“But as the years have gone by I’ve definitely cooled on the idea quite a bit and I don’t think I want to have our son be named after my husband that way.”

With their first two children being girls, the couple didn’t have to worry about the family tradition.

“But when we were choosing names for our daughters, my husband was very much in the ‘you can take the lead on naming our daughter because I already have the name picked out if we have a son’ camp. It’s not like he wasn’t involved in naming our daughters, but he definitely deferred to my opinion.

“So, when we found out we were having a boy, my husband was very excited. On the car ride home after the ultrasound it was all he could talk about. He was giddy like a teenager talking about how proud he would be of sharing his name with his son.

“I don’t know if it was the best time to bring this up, but I kind of had one of those ‘yeah, about that’ moments. I told him how I know we had talked about this many times before with our other kids and that I technically agreed to it years ago, but I don’t think I want to name our son the same as my husband.”

She says her husbands mood quickly shifted, and ‘all the joy went out of his body’.

“I told him that I just don’t want our son to be a ‘fourth’. It seems tacky and has weird aristocratic vibes that just don’t seem right to me. I told him that I am not totally against the idea, but I don’t want to just agree to it right now because I want time to think about other names too.

“He took that as me basically saying that I am going back on our years-long agreement and that there is no way we are naming our son after him. He said this is pretty much me telling him ‘maybe’ when I really mean ‘no’.”

The expecting mum says the disagreement has taken away all of the excitement of the upcoming birth of their baby, and that her husband has been withdraw and quiet.

“When I try to talk to him about it, he tells me he has nothing to say because he’s been very clear about where he stands on this and he feels betrayed by my change of heart.

“I asked him if he would want to think of some other names together and he told me to give him a list and he’ll look at it when he can. I know I technically agreed to this years ago, but it just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.”

Do you think what this mum has done is wrong? Or do you get her viewpoint? Let us know in the comments below. 

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  • I was named after my mother and it did cause a little confusion before I married and changed my surname. I agree with others on this topic and would call him the same name as the husband but leave out the numbers, which sound really pompous.


  • what about using the names but not having the number


  • Yes it seems a nice idea but I personally used my mothers first name as the second name for my daughter and my second daughter used my husbands mothers second name


  • My late husband was named after his Dad who was named after his Dad. You don’t have to add a number after it though. The thing is you made a promise and no matter how long down the track it is, it’s a promise you should keep.


  • I really dislike a child carrying a name of their parent. They need their own identity.


  • I think naming your child should be agreed upon both parents not from years in advance. When you’re expecting brainstorm with your other half and eventually you should find a name that both will like. No one will disappoint each other both will have a say and share their opinions.


  • You agreed to this even before you were married and have been able to name two girls on your own so, please at least give him this.


  • I can see both sides to this but it obviously means a great deal to the dad and she did agree to it.


  • I think after reading the whole story she’s being unreasonable. She has basically gotten to name their 2 daughters and she made an agreement. If she didn’t like the idea she should have been up front and discussed other ideas like John as the middle name. I personally don’t like the idea of a name as bland as John Smith IV. But she agreed! This is important to her hubby, so it’s not fair on her part.


  • Agreeing to anything before you have kids is always different. What if he is just John and no IV?
    I think saddling the wife with these traditions is usually unfair


  • Having originally agreed to it and never having brought up that you had waned on the idea over the past years, then I can understand how betrayed he would feel. It will take a lot of diplomacy to get yourselves back on track together from here, but it is something that should be done and soon. Then think of baby naming.


  • I think you both need to relax a little. It sounds super important to the Dad, so maybe disappointing him on the name change now is really unfair.


  • Definitely not wrong at all


  • Can you suggest John IV as the middle name instead.
    I think that women go through all the inconvenience and pain of child birth so WE should be able to name our chlldren!


  • I feel like you did agree to it, and can’t really backflip on him now. Can you compromise somehow?


  • They need to communicate more and think about having a healthy child instead of bickering over a name. More important things in life to be honest.


  • He clearly told you how he felt and how important it was to him before you got married. You married him knowing this and you were ok with it.
    Its very wrong to backflip now. If I was your partner i would be really angry and very disappointed


  • This is tricky and I can really see it from both points of view. I agree with a previous comment and would see if hubby would be open to giving baby a different first name and using John as a middle name. If baby grows up and decides he’d like to be known as John Smith IV he can.


  • I understand her relucatnce, but it is something she initially agreed upon and she could have communicated her change of thoughts over time. For example when they were naming their daughters and her husband gave her the lead in this because he had already picked the name when they would have a son.,,,she got to take the lead then and now wants to back out of their agreement which is kind of unfair I think


  • I don’t like it either, not something common here in Australia. The problem is that it has been agreed upon for eleven years. A compromise has to be met.

    • Very true; it does not seem to be a tradition here.


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