It’s a classic romantic scenario straight out a Hollywood romance: Taper candles flicker in the breeze. You sit with your beloved at a quiet bistro by the ocean, enjoying an intimate dinner for two. You raise your wine glasses to toast your eternal love and look deeply into each other’s eyes.
And then your lawyers sit down to join you to review your prenuptial agreement.
Okay, so prenuptial agreements aren’t usually featured as a swoon-worthy storyline. It’s just the opposite, in fact. But (spoiler alert!) prenups are actually great way to establish and reinforce trust and intimacy in your marriage.
You’re creating a stable foundation for your relationship
Marriage is not just a romantic relationship – it’s also a legal and financial one. Yet it’s often not treated as such. Prenuptial agreements dispense of the pretense that this component of relationships doesn’t exist.
When you put together your prenup, you and your partner review your financial situations together and your approaches to money. Having this discussion in the first place is intimidating, but it provides you an opportunity to get ahead of the curve.
Being able to talk about how you would handle difficult scenarios is essential for relationships, said Alicia H. Clark, a psychologist in Washington, D.C.
“You can’t know how you work through disagreements until you have them,” Clark notes. “Disagreeing, arguing and fighting about these things will reveal what’s really important to you both. And knowing how your partner will handle conflict is almost just as important.”
What does a prenup conversation look like? (And why is it so awkward to have it?)
What does this conversation entail? A prenup details what assets (money, investments, properties, debts, etc.) each of you are bringing to your marriage, how they will be handled during your marriage, and what would happen to them if you were to divorce.
You don’t have to be wealthy to make this worthwhile, either. Prenuptial agreements benefit anyone who:
- Brings any kind of money, property, or investments to marriage, or who anticipates an inheritance
- Small business owners
- Couples who have or are planning to have children
- Couples who are planning further education after they get married
Does this sound like a walk in the park? Probably not.
A prenup discussion can be anxiety-inducing because you’re laying it all out there for your partner to see. You’re vulnerable because this discussion, in fact, doesn’t just involve money. It also touches on family matters, children, and career goals.
But a good prenup process can help you turn those weak spots into a real partnership.
How? Before you sign a prenup, you have to talk – honestly – about all of these things. This sets the stage for openness throughout your marriage, making you better equipped to resolve conflicts and weather tough times.
How to bring up a prenuptial agreement
Benefits of prenuptial agreements aside, you probably want to think carefully about how you broach the subject. Don’t casually toss the idea out as you’re planning your honeymoon. Instead, start the conversation early and allow for plenty of back-and-forth.
A good approach for this conversation is to work it into a broader conversation about finances or future plans. Pointing out the number of “what ifs” you’ll face together in life. Explain how important clarity and preparation is when embarking on something like marriage.
One helpful parallel to make is to compare prenuptial agreements to life insurance or will preparation – they’re intended to benefit all parties, not just the policyholder. You hope you’ll never need to look at these kinds of documents after they’re signed, but having them in place can give you the assurance that even if the worst happens, everyone will be taken care of.
Interested in putting together a prenuptial agreement? Get in touch to see how we can help!