Can My Ex-Husband’s Name Be Cursed?

Can My Ex-Husband’s Name Be Cursed?

Dear Roger,

What is in a name? Since I married and took on my (then) husband’s name that it really never fit me and that in some way it is like a curse on me. Even while we were married I felt this way. I feel very silly talking about this. And yet can’t shake the idea. I desperately want to change my name and I don’t know why. We have been divorced for three years, I had planned to keep it because we have a child and I don’t believe that I wish to dump the name because of feelings I have about my ex. I want to know how much a name means to our life and spirit, and does it matter to God?


Dear Rose,

I am sorry that your marriage didn’t work out. I know this has caused you a tremendous amount of grief. Knowing that you’re still struggling about your feelings and emotions toward your ex makes my heart hurt for you and your child. Recovering from a failed marriage, especially when children are involved can be devastating—and often results in a rather long recovery. Therefore, I am not surprised at your desire to remove yourself as far as possible from his influence. More women than ever are returning to their maiden names after their divorces. I think it quite significant that there was something about his very name that bothered you even when you first married.

As far as the Bible is concerned you are free to keep your name or to change it. Paul addressed this subject in 1 Corinthians 10:23: “Everything is permissible—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible—but not everything is constructive.” Before God, you can keep or change your name.

Names had much more significance in the Bible than we ascribe to them today. They were often related to an event that occurred at birth or to something significant in the lives of either or both of the parents.

For example, while dying during childbirth, Rebecca named her son, “Ben-Oni,” which meant, “Son of My Trouble.” However, as soon as she died, her husband Jacob immediately renamed him, “Benjamin,” which meant, “Son of My Right Hand” (Genesis 35:13-16). Jesus was named, “Jesus,” which meant, “Savior,” because, the angel Gabriel instructed Joseph, He would save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Julie and I named our second-born child, “Brianna,” which means, “Gift of God.” WE were grateful for a healthy baby because our first-born died too young. I named our third-born, “Bronwyn,” which means, “Pure Heart.” My parents intended to name me, “Douglas Wayne.” The all changed the moment my dad first saw me and declared that I looked just like Him! I became “Roger, Junior” immediately. My name has an English background and means, “Spear Thrower.” I have yet to impale anyone.

I agree with your conclusions that the biggest issue here concerns your child. I believe that your child needs the security of knowing that he or she has the same last name as mom.

Regarding the idea that your husband’s name might be cursed, I doubt it. However, you may pray renouncing any spirit (James 4:7) that may have cursed the name. Then, don’t worry about it any more.

As to your last question, I believe that your name need not affect your spiritual life or relationship with God in any form or fashion. If you were to choose to call yourself, “Killer,” or “Baal Worshipper,” or “Jezebel,” then Jesus might have some feelings about the reasons behind your choice. As long as you stay away from names like that, you should have no problem!

Solomon said: “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverb 22:1).

Well, Rose, I hope my thoughts are helpful. Whatever name you settle on, may God grant that whenever your name comes up in conversation—because of the reputation you’ve built for integrity, compassion and spirituality—that your name will remind people of Jesus.

Love, Roger.

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