For Gwen and I, June 7, 2008 was the most beautiful day. It was the day we were married in s’Herenhelderen, Belgium which is adjacent to Maastricht, Netherlands. As a man who believes in the strength and spirit of women, the concept of gender equality never made much sense to me. Women, in most respects, outshine their male counterparts. In accordance with these feelings, I decided to take Gwen’s last name instead of mine when we married 12 years ago. It was important for Gwen’s inner peace to keep her last name because she was the last person in her family who could extend the family tree and carry ‘van Eerden’ forward.
At the time, I faced a similar dilemma and identical feelings. I have an elder sister. My father has only one brother with no children. I too am the last person who could extend the ‘van der Kant’ family name. I then thought, “What’s in the name?”. For me, the decision became an easy one. Marrying my #soulmate in a beautiful romantic medieval church close to where we live was everything. I cherish the tradition of a marriage and the union of two people is what matters. To go back in time, we gave our guests a one of a kind experience by focusing on the Joy and Happiness of our union. To this day, guests say it was one experience they never forget. Marriage is about compromise. Today we are happily married with two boys. We have true love. That’s all that matters.
Priorities for each person are always different. Supporting your partner is a two-way street that inevitably requires compromise. The modern era calls for more such stories of #mensupportingwomen. When men take a stand for the women they love – wives, mothers, daughters nieces – they lead by example.
Maurice made a statement that taking his wife’s last name and respecting her wishes was just another way to express his love. Maurice empowered Gwen through his decision. He set a living example in motion for his two sons Xavier and Miquel, and for all of us at #GirlPowerTalk. 👨👩👦👦
Thank you, Maurice: You are a shining example for our growing community of Young Leaders! #MenofGirlPowerTalk