What’s in a name?

Well the writing is over and the bookies are settling the bets – it’s official – the names of the new Princess are Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. And as the commentators have rushed to confirm, each of those names were carefully chosen to link the baby to Kate and William’s families. Charlotte is taken from the French origin of Charles in honour of her grandfather. The name Charlotte is also the middle name of Pippa Middleton so links well to both families. Elizabeth and Diana speak for themselves – named after Charlotte’s great grandmother, the Queen and her late grandmother, Princess Diana.

All of which raises some interesting questions for many couples when it comes to the naming of a new baby. How far should they go along with family tradition? And how far should they aim simply to choose a name that they like, regardless of what others may think about it?

Of course that’s just one example of an issue that every couple faces at some stage in their relationship. All of us have expectations about how to run our lives – varying from the ‘proper’ way to do Christmas, to the priority we place on our family get togethers, to what is right to spend money on – but the problems come in relationships when these expectations clash and one member of a couple just assumes that the other will come into line because that’s what they have been bought up to expect.

In my own experience there are unhealthy and healthy ways to handle these differing expectations. Some couples will never compromise and end up bickering endlessly. In other couples one person will so dominate another that a different perspective never gets a look in. A more healthy dynamic is when couples are able to spend time listening carefully to each other and to be open to making change. Very rarely is there an objectively ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do things – it is about the couple working out what is right for them.

One of the many refreshing things about William and Kate is their willingness to put their own stamp on the way they run their lives and no doubt they’ve had to talk about the blending of families expectations on many occasions. Long may that continue and Coupleworks send their congratulations to William and Kate on the birth of their new Princess.

Sarah Fletcher

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