Play the “This or that?” game.
Start off with two names you like—say, Jana or Sophia—and ask your spouse to pick the one he likes. Then he hits you with another choice—Sophia or Lisette—until you have a keeper (well, at least for that day).
Think outside the Bob.
Find inspiration from characters in books, songs, colors, seasons, words from other cultures and your passions, suggests Pamela Redmond Satran, developer of the online site NameBerry and coauthor of The Baby Name Bible. Kellyx (yes, that’s her real name) Nelson of San Francisco, who runs an environmental group, gave her son the name Spyder. “And we named baby No. 2 Cricket,” she says, “so Spyder wouldn’t be the only arthropod in the family!”
Go back in time.
Ask a parent to make a family tree or do your own genealogical research to find great names. Satran, who has three children, named her daughter Rory—which means “red” in Gaelic—as a nod to her maiden name, Redmond.
A thought-provoking question: If you could make over your name, what would it be and why? Re-naming yourself (or your partner) will get you thinking about qualities that matter most: how feminine or masculine, how unusual, how ethnic, and so on.
Mix it up.
Twilight fans know all about Renesmee Cullen, whose vampirelicious name is a mash-up of Renee and Esme, her grandmothers. Play around with your own combos, and feel free to mix boy and girl names.
“We wanted an ‘M’ name after my dad, Michael, but my husband and I couldn’t agree,” says Marjorie Ingall, of Providence, Rhode Island. “Jonathan wanted Matilda, for Roald Dahl’s book of that name, but Dahl was a miserable person. I wanted Mabel, but Jonathan thought it was a dog's name. So we compromised on Maxine.”
Agreeing may be tricky but as Satran says, “It’s good preparation for a lifetime of decisions you’ll have to make for your child!”