A prenup could either save or ruin your marriage.
Now that you've achieved success in your career or business, you may find yourself thinking about how you can achieve that same success in your future marriage. And once you start analyzing your likelihood for success, your thoughts may easily shift to what you could do to protect everything that you've built for yourself. And that makes sense... I mean, you're a smart woman and you've worked your tail off to get where you are; there's no reason to put it all on the line now, right? You have a lot at stake and the last thing you want is the potential for a failed marriage AND material losses. "Should I get a prenup?" is a question that crosses most professional women's minds before marriage. Here are a few things to consider.
A prenuptial agreement does force you, as a couple, to talk about very important topics beforehand. The agreement itself is designed to protect both parties throughout the marriage and in the event of divorce. If having a legal, binding document gives you additional confidence to move forward with the marriage, consider this to be a big, bright, red flag. Whether you feel you only need this protection with your current partner, or you would want it with any partner, this can be a slippery slope on which to build a permanent relationship. If you are not at the point where you can trust that your intended will keep your best interests at heart and honor your wishes both now and in the future, it may not be the best time to get married. But not to worry, these concerns can be addressed and resolved.
Mental And Emotional Division
While expressing what each of you hopes to obtain from the marriage and any concerns or issues you foresee, is crucial to planning to join your lives together, making official decisions defining who each of you are, what you are responsible for in the relationship, and what you own, is like setting an invisible boundary between the two of you before you even embark on your journey together. Focusing your energy on these things plants the seeds for a distanced relationship down the road. This is a matter of life and love — not business. A fully- committed, all-or-nothing strategy can separate the strong relationships from the not-so-strong ones.
Yes, you can create prenuptial agreements for a set period of time and you can also revise them over time; however, things will always change. That is guaranteed. What you draft up in a prenup now, you may not agree with later. In fact, what protected you now, may actually hurt you later. People change, situations change, and feelings change. And if you are even considering having children — be prepared for your priorities to go topsy-turvy a few years down the road. Who wants to be stuck in a bunch of rules that were created at one point in time?
It's likely no surprise that prenups are an expense running in the hundreds to thousands of dollars. While cost should never be the only consideration when making a decision, these are extra funds that can be applied to your new life together... or one hell of a honeymoon.
In any decision-making process, I am always an advocate of choosing love over fear. In this case, love for a meaningful relationship that you have faith in, trumps the fear of losing your belongings. If you want my honest opinion, do all the prenup planning as if you were pursuing one, but skip the formality. If you and your future hubby are not in agreement on anything, work at it until you find common ground. When you have talked through everything (assets/ debts, financial plans, children — both existing and upcoming, estate plans, methods for settling disagreements, etc.) and feel completely comfortable, start planning that wedding. Not only will this build a solid foundation for the new phase of your relationship, but it will give you both extra incentive to truly give each other everything — physically and emotionally.
I was in this same position years ago and I fully intended on getting a prenuptial agreement because I was the breadwinner in the relationship and I just thought it was the smart thing to do. Lucky for me, I allowed the formal prenup to fall through the cracks in the craziness of the wedding planning. Years later, I am grateful that we never went through with it. I don't believe I would feel as committed to my husband or my marriage if I had a legal document defining our boundaries and terms. We are a team — a team that will stand the test of time. I have no reason to believe otherwise.
After mulling this over, you may find yourself completely confident in your ability to move forward without a prenup... or second-guessing your ability to take the leap of faith without the legality. If it is the latter, I invite you to reach out to me for a FREE private session to set you on the fast-track to a loving, trustworthy, faithful relationship.
More marriage educator advice from YourTango: