If you’re like most singles today, the three little words you long to hear are NOT “Pre-Nuptial Agreement”. Yet, we’re finding, even with women taking charge of their careers, finances, and lives, more and more couples are faced with the courageous conversation that needs to take place - and it’s not easy.
Bringing up the subject of a pre-nup gives so many couples major angst. I know engaged couples who have broken up because one of them wanted a pre-nup. “I can’t believe you’re talking about divorce before we’re even married!” is the typical response. “If you loved me, you’d trust me”, is another frequent feeling. And very common, “Oh, so you want me to agree ahead of time just how badly you’re going to screw me when you decide to divorce me?”.
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The top three things that couples fight about today are sex, money, and kids. And not necessarily in that order. Money is often a taboo subject, and we’ve been taught from an early age not to talk about money. If we have it, it’s not considered acceptable to talk about how much we have, or brag about what we can buy. It’s not appealing to appear materialistic or pretentious. If we don’t have it, it’s uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing to talk about what we don’t have.
Money gives us the means. It can represent status to some. Opportunity for others. We love it .. we hate it … and no matter what, it’s a sticky subject. Interestingly, most couples are able to talk about sex and kids prior to a marriage. But when it comes to money, they avoid it like the plague.
Discussing your assets, income, financial obligations and clarifying expectations is crucial prior to marriage. Do you combine your money and have joint accounts, or do you keep your money separate? Do you split expenses or simply take everything out of the pot, even if one is contributing more? In the case of young couples, does the woman work or does she stay home with the kids with the man providing the income and support? All of these questions need to be addressed ahead of time. Easy, right? NOT.
If we could look at prenuptial agreements objectively, we’d see they protect both parties. They’re not designed to hurt the one who’s less financially advantaged. The intent is to prevent exploitation – on both sides – and to protect pre- and post-marital assets from harm. A pre-nup should be designed in the best interest of both parties. It’s not about being cut off, it’s about being included, but in a way that represents fairness and accurately respects the needs of each party. And, negotiating a pre-nup gives the less advantaged mate security for the future. If you’re the one with all the assets, it doesn’t mean you have complete say about the terms of the pre-nup. Both parties have the right to feel like they’re being treated fairly.
Negotiating a pre-nup also lays a solid foundation for your marriage. It eliminates the ambiguity of “what if” and it can protect both of you. The time to negotiate any crucial matter pertaining to a marriage is prior to needing to.
So, if your honey whispers those three little words to you … don’t flip out. Just smile and say, I’m worth it”.
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Ann Robbins is a Certified Professional Matchmaker and Master Certified Relationship Coach and is CEO of LifeWorks Matchmaking www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com She can be reached at 954-561-4498.