I’ve been a fan of your blog for years, particularly for the Naming Update satisfaction, and thought that, due to my research, baby naming would be no problem but that was before I realized my husband and I have COMPLETELY different naming styles.
Our first baby, a boy, is due in 3 weeks, and we need help. I finally was able to sit my husband down to talk names this past week by reading through the Baby Name Wizard and I now feel even more stressed than before. Our last name is Sp@d@for@ pronounced Sp@d@-for@h. My husband’s name is Mark and mine is Joyce (or Joyce-Marie for my family). As you can see, one of us has Italian heritage but the other does not. With such a distinctive Italian last name, I would prefer an ethnically neutral first name or one that errs towards Irish/Danish/German to represent my heritage.
For family honoring purposes, my husband wants the baby’s middle name to be Anthony. It is not my favorite name but I value family history (both my names are family names) and am willing to use this name.
The biggest issue is not that we disagree on individual names but instead on styles. I favor classic names that don’t give away the year someone was born (like the Ashleys and Emilys and Jennifers of the 1980s), that work well for a boy and a man, has some meaning, and is not out in left field (if it can be found on a personalized keychain kiosk, unlike Joyce, that would be a plus). My husband, who has coached men’s sports for 15 years, wants a unique name. He has bad connotations of many “normal” names because of past players and wants to reject any name that shows up on a top 10 or 20 list or feels generic (e.g., Christopher, Paul, Noah, Aidan, Liam, Thomas). I explained that the quantity of people with these names is low, but he is unconvinced.
I think I am also part of the problem because I am set on a name: Jack. It was my uncle’s name, so has a good family tie, it is steady, usual, works well for a boy or a man, balances a complex last name, and has the same ending as Mark and his father, Frank. Jack Anthony even works and honors both families. However, my husband currently has 2 Jacks on his team and while he hasn’t come out and said no way (mostly due to my saying how much I love the name), he keeps trying other options.
Some of his suggestions that I have rejected for various reasons have been:
Dominic (he got the name from the Fast and the Furious, I think it’s too Italian/Mafia with our last name)
Maximus (from Gladiator – I like the name Max but I don’t like this longer form and he doesn’t like Maxwell and we both don’t like Maximillian)
Clark (as in Clark Kent)
Mason (I don’t love that it’s a Kardashian name and I also don’t really love the name)
Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs)
Some of my suggestions that he doesn’t like have been:
Jameson (James is a family name, this naming convention is Scandinavian)
Nathan/Nate (he doesn’t think it goes with Anthony)
Luke (I like the Star Wars reference, he thinks it is too popular and we have friends with a Lucas)
Finn (again, Star Wars but he thinks that will cause the popularity to rise)
Caleb (he hates the name for some reason)
Christian (rejected by him because of past associations with players)
Some of our compromise names – as in neither of us love it but we don’t hate it and we have overlap are:
Jackson (he’s open to this because of the character in Sons of Anarchy but doesn’t like its popularity, it would get me Jack but it feels like settling off of a perfect name)
It also doesn’t help that both families are convinced we have a name and are lying to them when we say we don’t. In short, there is a lot to be stressed about at the end of the pregnancy and I would like one or two names to choose from after the baby is born. I know I’m being stubborn with Jack when Jackson seems like a compromise and I feel like I am shutting down his ideas when I should be grateful that he is participating but I don’t want to name my son Jett/Steele!
Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Help us Obi-Wan Swistle, you’re our only hope
Thank you for your time!
PS I should mention that girls names do not seem to be a problem for us – I have a ton of ones I love and he overlaps with a great deal of them (I like Lucy and Grace and Alice and Rosemarie). Fingers crossed the next kid (and maybe the last) will be a girl for marital harmony!
So your husband likes mostly superhero / action hero / comic book / xtreme tuff names. Luckily, there are a number of those names that don’t seem that way when they’re not on a list with the others. Here are the ones I’d pick from his list:
Clark. My top choice for you guys. I think it accomplishes everything you’re looking for with the name Jack (except the family honor), but with an option that satisfies your husband’s wish for something less common and/or something that has superpowers. If you were both on board with Jack, I’d be all for it: it’s a nice classic familiar friendly versatile name, and I love family names. But I’m siding with your husband on the popularity of it: popularity will vary by location, of course, but in our area (and on your husband’s teams, apparently) it feels like it’s everywhere. Clark has a very similar classic versatile feeling, but also feels much fresher. Clark Anthony Sp@d@for@. Top choice.
Calvin. A great name, and doesn’t hint at a wish for hyper-masculinity.
Samson. Hints at hyper-masculinity, but is mainstream enough to just seem like a way to get the friendly nickname Sam.
From your list, I think Nathan is a great option, and I don’t think an incompatibility with the middle name should be enough to completely rule it out. Could Anthony wait and be the middle name for a future child? Are there other honor names the two of you would like to use? How about Jack in the middle slot this time? Nathan Jack Sp@d@for@.
I’d also rescue Finn from your list. I wouldn’t let fear of future popularity rule out a name: predicting such things is so difficult.
I don’t think you’re being stubborn about Jackson. It doesn’t feel like a satisfying compromise to me, either: it reduces the honor name for no real gain, and I don’t like it as much with the surname.
I feel disinclined to search for more options when Clark is shining out at me like that. But maybe Teague, Ian, Alec, Grant, Blake, Keane, Leo, Milo, Nolan, Reid, Jude, Flynn, Keegan, Abe, Gage, Dane?
Thank you for posting my naming dilemma and for all the helpful comments! It seems as if the old school hero names like Clark are on an upswing. However, one of the commenters pointed out that Clark rhymes with Mark, my husband’s name, and so that eliminated that name from contention in my mind. After about 20 hours of labor while we were waiting to begin pushing, my husband looked at me and said “so, Jack, huh?” and that was that! Jack Anthony Sp@d@for@ was born on his due date and we couldn’t be happier. I also love that he has a piece of my family’s history along with my husband’s in his name. And, interestingly enough, he looks like a dead ringer for my uncle Jack! Thank you again for everything!