How NOT to do a PhD #4: Get Married

The conversation began a little something like this: “I’m not changing my name if I’ve already published something.” The general consensus then came about that if we didn’t get married sooner rather than later, we probably wouldn’t get married. So we decided to get married. Very romantic and all that. We also decided to do it as quickly as possible, so that the conversations you have to have where everyone else tells you how you *should* get married (or rather, conduct your wedding) were limited. They still seemed endless… So we had about 6 months to plan our wedding. Whilst also training to teach.

Fortunately, one of my friends had recently got married and gave us tips on making it less painful. She also dragged me out to look at dresses when it was the last thing I wanted to do, for which I am eternally grateful, because otherwise it would have been jeans and a hoody – and the photos would not be so good!

Because of the year’s suspension of the PhD, preparing the wedding didn’t so much get in the way of the PhD, but it was quite tricky juggling it with teaching. Though not all that tricky, since you have a reduced timetable as a trainee teacher, and we had a very small wedding! In fact, I was offered the day off before the wedding but I went to work because otherwise I would have been sat around twiddling my thumbs.

But then the hassle of changing names on everything (I know, I hadn’t published anything, and I agreed to this, so it is my own fault entirely). The university were fairly rubbish about changing my name, and whilst they did it on their big system, it didn’t change my name on my email (I realised this years later), and they gave me a new card which, you guessed it, still had my old name on. Also slightly unfortunate coincidence that my married name was then the same as one of the theologians with whom I have much (one-sided) dialogue in my PhD – Gordon Lynch. So now when I give a paper at a conference and mention his work, there will be one or two people who inevitably ask me if I am related to him.

I’m not recommending NOT getting married, just think about how much time and effort it takes to fend off all those people who want a bit of your wedding, and how much energy you might have to have if you are changing your name. And try not to do what my dad did *twice* after I got married – booked a holiday in my married name when I still had my old passport!

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