I've run into a lot of people, mostly men, who have this issue with the institution of marriage vs. a common law marriage (for those unaware of this term, it's when a couple lives together for a long period of time and address themselves as husband and wife without ever obtaining a marriage license or engaging in a ceremony. Some states recognize this and some don't) Anyway, I'm involved with a brother who believes in common law vs. marriage while I believe the total opposite. I've always wanted to be married before I had children so that whenever my significant other and I took that step, we could all maintain the same last name. I guess you could say I'm "old fashioned" when it comes to sharing your life with someone and choosing to reproduce with them as well. I've always had an issue with siblings having different last names amongst themselves and/or their parents. That's how my family is and I've always hoped to do otherwise simply out of personal preference. I just need some input because I can see this becoming a problem in the future. Maybe I'm looking at things the wrong way, but in my opinion, what's the use of "playing house" without "the house"? My thing is this, if and when we have children together and we're not officially married, then why should I give the child/children the father's last name instead of mine?