A wedding ceremony may be the culmination of romantic love, but it's also when life within the institution of marriage begins.

The official constraints that institution imposes were rammed home to me -- yet again -- last month when I went to collect my new passport. I had put off applying to renew my old one for a long time, dreading having to try and convince the Foreign Ministry to issue it bearing the name that appears in my byline (above) -- the name officialdom insisted had to disappear when I got married.

I had gone through lots of extra paperwork to get my real name -- not my husband's surname that I am now registered with -- on what would be my official ID overseas. I had photocopied stories carrying my byline and passes issued by various organizations. I also submitted a letter explaining that people identify me by my maiden name both professionally and in private.