Baby Boy Burner-with-a-T, Brother to Joel


I have been following your blog since I was pregnant with our first! I have searched on your blog for names we have considered as well as read through previous entries for inspiration. Now I am writing to you for help!

We will be having our second child, another boy, this fall! We have narrowed names down to our “Top Three” however, neither of us can narrow it down any further.

Background: Our son is 2 and his name is Joel Andrew. His first name honors my husbands father and grandfather (JOEseph and Leslie) while still giving him his own name. His middle name is shared with my father. Our last name is Burner with a “T”. Our naming style seems to be traditional, but not old-fashioned. Names we have heard of but aren’t too common. We also prefer names without easy nicknames as none of our names have obvious nicknames. Husband wants names that – if seen can easily be said, and if heard could easily be spelled. We also don’t want the name to be too common. This child will most likely be our last and for some reason coming up with a second boy name seems much harder than the first!

If this child would have been a girl, we each had a favorite and it was down to Eliza and Elise.

Originally my husband wanted to also name this child with a “J” name as he and his brother both also had “J” names. My concern was that three “J” names in our family would be a mouthful. On top of that most “J” names I found/suggested were rejected for a variety of reasons and only one has made it to the ‘final three’. Another train of thought we had was to use an “L” name so we would each have a child with the same first initial. Again, most of the “L” boy names were rejected as being either too popular, or too ‘old fashioned’ and only one made it to the ‘final three’. I have also gone through a looong list of boy names with my husband and all have been rejected except one, so we are left with three.

Jensen is the only “J” name that my husband will consider, even with his desire for a “J” name to be used. I think it fits the criteria (easy to say, spell, no obvious nickname), however my concern is that it doesn’t fit with the rest of our names style wise (Jason, Lydia, Joel) and that Joel and Jensen would be a mouthful.

Lucas is the only “L” name that my husband would consider. However, I know this name IS quite common right now AND I am concerned that Luke would be a go-to nickname. Neither of us dislike Luke, but don’t like it as much as Lucas. I do think Lucas goes ok with Joel and the rest of our names, however since it is common and has easy nickname options I just can’t commit!

Seth is my favorite currently! I think it goes really well with Joel and the rest of our names. It is about the same popularity as Joel. People who see it will know how to say it, and those who hear it will know how to spell it! It was also a top pick for me when pregnant with Joel, but Jason really wanted to name him after his grandpa. Husband is just so-so on it. I think if I pushed he would go for it, but it’s clearly not one of his favorites. I’ve been trying this name out for a couple of weeks and while it’s ok, it isn’t love like I thought it would be! I’m not sure if it’s the fact my husband doesn’t love it too, of if it’s not “the one”.

If we were to each rank these three names, our list would be completely opposite. However, neither of us loves Lucas enough to pick that name, or willing to give up our top pick to settle on one of the others. How would you recommend we settle this? Do you have any other name suggestions we might have missed?

A list of some of the names I liked/suggested that were vetoed: Jude, Caleb, Ethan, Levi, Eli, Jonah, Jules, and many many more! Hopefully that will give you an idea of at least my style. As far as middle names, we aren’t decided might be open to using one of the other ‘top three’, Joseph (after husband’s grandfather and shared with husband’s brother), or Matthew (Husband’s middle name). There really aren’t any other people we feel we need to honor, but the question has been raised if our first child’s whole name is honoring three people, will this child feel slighted if he doesn’t’ have an honor name?

Baby is due in approx. 6 weeks and the fact we haven’t decided on a name is starting to stress me out! Please consider helping.

Thank you!!


I rank the names in the same order you do. Seth is my first choice: an excellent style fit with Joel, and I like it a lot with your surname. Lucas is my second choice: very good style fit with Joel, but I see your reservations about popularity and the nickname Luke. Jensen is my third choice by a long distance: it’s a very different style than Joel, and I dislike the idea of you being left out of the J Club. I also dislike the idea of your husband being the one who wants another J name but then only being willing to consider one.

It sounds to me as if it’s time to go back to the drawing board: neither of you much likes the other’s first choice, and you both sound tepid on the one name you agree on. Leave Lucas on the list to see if it grows on you, but then return to the long list to see if your husband likes any of them better the second time through.

It also sounds as if you two are having the classic problem of one of you doing all the work and the other one doing all the vetoing. It would be useful if your husband would make his own list of names for you to consider.

At this point I would leave out these issues: finding a J name, finding an L name, using an honor name. Those sorts of fun preferences work better when parents have a long list of names they love, and they want to narrow the list down. It sounds as if you’re out of honor names, and I don’t see any reason to force that: many families use honor names for the first child and not for subsequent children. I would leave COMPLETELY out of the equation the issue of whether the children’s names go with the style of your name and your husband’s name: your names are a generation removed from theirs and chosen by two entirely different sets of parents, and no one expects them to coordinate.

I would like to make a list of name suggestions, but from the samples you gave, I think you and I are on the same page already and I would just be listing names your husband already rejected. I think the solution here is for him to make his own list for you to consider, and/or for him to go back to your list and really consider every option carefully. If he won’t do either of these things, then I suggest trying your strategy of pushing for Seth: your husband got his way on the first child’s name, so perhaps it can be your turn this time.




Name update:

I wanted to send an update!
Seth Matthew was born a week early.  Matthew is my husband’s middle name.  After the difficult birth, he decided to go with my top picks.  I appreciated your feedback and reading all the comments! I thought the comment of both boys having old testament first name and New testament middle names was a cute tie!

Thank you!!

26 thoughts on “Baby Boy Burner-with-a-T, Brother to Joel

  1. Jean C.

    Swistle is so spot on! The ball is in your husband’s court to make a list of names for YOU to veto–although I really really hope you end up getting to use Seth, as it’s such a great name and a good fit with Joel.
    If your husband wants suggestions, I think you could consider adding Silas or Peter to the list of names to consider.

  2. Rachel

    I agree that Jensen is not ideal. Besides being a mouthful with Joel, and you being excluded from the J-club, I think Jason and Jensen sound very similar! I’d avoid a name that close to your husband’s.

    I do love Lucas and Seth as options. I wonder if doing a trial period with Lucas would help you warm to it?

  3. Sargjo

    Husband’s turn for sure. Also if it’s fun, try for K names…then you’d have a JKL thing going on. Something like Kevin? From your list that was rejected, I think you want a hard consonant sound which is maybe why Seth isn’t in the swoon category and Lucas is hard to let go of. K names get you there

  4. StephLove

    Lucas seems like a good compromise name. I know a 7 year old by that name who I don’t think is ever called Luke. But having your husband generate a list could also be helpful.

  5. Meredith

    It’s totally your husband’s turn to make a list. At the very least he might start to understand why you’re getting stressed out with him just vetoing names and not really giving any suggestions.

    I think Seth goes great with Joel but I agree with the other comment that from your list you probably prefer a harder consonant which is why Lucas is appealing. I think you could totally get away with a Lucas who is just called Lucas. My nephew is named Lucian and, while we do occasionally call him Luc, he is most often just Lucian.

    If you do go with Lucas, it’s totally doable to not have a nickname. He’ll always be Lucas to you and you’ll introduce him that way so most people will adapt but just remember he may end up as Luke with his friends when he gets older but that’s for him to decide.

  6. Elizabeth

    I think Seth is so perfect for you that it should be the baby’s first name and your husband should get to pick the middle name.

  7. ira sass

    I really love Seth with Joel.
    I also like Lucas, and I don’t think it would necessarily be shortened to Luke – people are using nicknames less these days.
    I agree that Jensen is too similar to Jason.

    I LOVE the suggestion of Ezra. Ezra and Joel.
    I also appreciate that Seth and Ezra both have 4 letters like Joel.

    More 4-letter names:
    Liam – probably too popular for your taste
    Eric/Erik – 2 spellings

    Some more ideas:
    Elias – this gives you the same ending as Lucas, but takes Eliza and Elise off the table for a future baby.
    Judah – alternative to Jude
    Devin – there are a few different spellings though

  8. Jd

    I just love Seth for you! It’s really fresh to my ear. My nephew is Lucas never Luke. He is 9 so maybe in high school or college he will choose to be Luke but not yet. I also have two colleagues named Lucas never Luke. On the other hand my son’s name has several nickname options, one of which I hated. Of course his sister calls him by the hated nickname, and it has become his preferred nickname. I now love it because I love him and I think it is so cute that his sister came up with her own nickname for him. My point is that you can avoid Luke if you want but you may find you don’t care once he is here and named Lucas.

  9. Brooke

    Seth is the perfect brother name for Joel in my opinion. Unless your husband is willing to make a list of names that fit the criteria and style for you to consider, I would use your first choice since Joel is an honor name from his side (and I’d presume your children have his last name). I like the suggestion of him choosing the middle name.

  10. RL

    I 100% agree with Swistle. And I think either Seth or Lucas would work well!

    That said, and I don’t know why (as in, these names have nothing to do with the criteria you were using), but I really like Adam and Aaron with Joel.

  11. SheLikesToTravel

    Dean seems to fit your criteria. A friend just named her child Dean… and it suddenly seems fresh for me again!

  12. Kim C

    What about Dane?

    Joel and Dane sound great together! Dane Joseph perhaps?

    I like the suggestions of Clay and Reed too.

    Good Luck!

  13. Nine

    Seconding Kyle, or another K name for JKL. Or another “CK” sound.

    Also on board with Jason and Jensen sounding too alike, and dear husband needing to make his own list, dangit.

    Kyle Joseph? You could call him KJ if you want/need a nickname? Kyle Joseph (B)urner.

    I was going to say Cole, but that rhymes with Joel.

    Cade (instead of Caden/Kaidan). Joel and Cade.


    L names besides Lucas and Levi are difficult



    J names… instead of Jacob, how about Jacoby? Like Jacoby Ellsbury. Joel and Jacoby. Too many Js?

  14. Nessie

    Seth Matthew! Just like Joel Andrew: an Old Testament first name and a New Testament middle (and a 4 letter first plus a 7 letter middle).

  15. AlexiswithaG

    Seconding Elias and adding Elliot, along the Eliza/Elise train of naming. Wondering if there’s a veto reason not mentioned that these weren’t contenders?
    Also seconding Landon as an L option- fresh but familiar!

  16. Sonia

    FWIW, I have a Lucas, and no one calls him Luke. Sometimes we call him Luca, but at school and everywhere else he is always Lucas. He is 13, and we didn’t realize how popular it was becoming when we picked it, but we’ve only had one experience where there was another Lucas in the same activity.

  17. Reagan

    For a J name, I like Jared. Joel and Jared. It meets the criteria but I am guessing your husband ruled it out.

    L names are a bit tough. I do like Liam but I am sure that is to popular. I also like Logan but that is a different style.

    Names that I really like with Joel are:


  18. Maree

    I know boys named Joel and Ethan.

    My hesitation with Jensen is that I might spell it Jenson, or hear Johnson.

    If you want another honour name would you consider Lydus for Lydia? It would be great in the middle with Seth or Ethan :)
    Good Luck!

  19. JMV

    Jensen does not seem intuitive to spell. I’d likely spell it Jenson first. Plus it seems too close to sounding like Jason for my taste.

    My favorite my a mike from your list is Seth.

    I think Jared fits the criteria and works well with Joel. I also like Ian and Grant for you. Good luck!

  20. sandra

    I love Seth…and I know a family with Joel and Caleb but I’m not keen on an L name with Joel…i find Joel and Lucas a bit tricky eg try calling “Joel, Lucas.”
    It becomes Joe and Lucas when I say them.


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