Q. My name is Janette and I will be getting married soon. My fiancé has not talked about having a prenuptial agreement but I am considering one. He has always been very open with his finances and even before we were engaged he allowed me full access to his account but he wouldn’t touch my money (he feels it’s a man’s job to provide and it gives him great pleasure to take care of me). However I have never used his money because I didn’t want to take advantage of his trust and kindness. He does buy me gifts and spends money on me and of course I don’t say no for these because that’s how he expresses his love.
With this being the case, you would think why in the world would she think of having a prenup. But I have seen even the most loving couples fight bitterly over finances when things have gone sour and I don’t want anything like that to happen. I am sure my fiancé would be disappointed if I bring the topic of prenup because he would see that as lack of trust. But I want to make sure both of us are adequately protected. Am I wrong in considering a prenup? How can I have a proper discussion with him about this?
A. Dear Janette,
Your question is a common one among those who are engaged to be married.
There are different perspectives about a prenuptial agreement. One perspective is that using a prenuptial agreement is tantamount to planning for your divorce at the beginning of your marriage.
A second perspective is that it’s protection in case there is a divorce. Your perspective falls in the second category and your intuition seems to be telling you that your future husband’s perspective would be the first one.
Here are some considerations for you to ponder.
1. You don’t indicate the ages of you and your future husband, so I will ask you to consider the following:
Do you and/or your fiancé have substantial assets in the form of savings and/or investments at this time prior to your marriage? If so, they could be protected with a prenuptial agreement and not become community property after marriage. What the two of you accumulate after marriage would be considered community property in the event that you and your husband should one day divorce. If there aren’t substantial assets at this time, it would seem unnecessary to establish a prenuptial agreement.
2. The psychological implications of a prenuptial agreement would depend on one’s perspective about the agreement.
Your fiancé having the first perspective would likely feel a sense of hurt, resentment and wariness about it, if an agreement was made only to satisfy your sense of insecurity about what would become of your premarital assets should the two of you divorce at some point. Conversely, if you go into the marriage without a prenuptial agreement when you believe you need that sense of security it would give you, then likely you will feel the wariness, hurt and resentment. Both of these scenarios would create substantial conflict in your marriage relationship in the area of trust and ultimately your intimacy with one another.
3. What is important for both you and your future husband to realize is that though each of you have different perspectives about a prenuptial agreement, essentially marriage is in some ways similar to a business arrangement and as such having agreements in place about how your marriage will operate is imperative.
Negotiating, respecting and maintaining good, healthy agreements and boundaries in the marriage is protection for it as these are foundational elements that build and maintain trust in the marriage. A prenuptial agreement could be part of your overall plan for your marriage and how the two of you want to build trust together by establishing and maintaining agreements and boundaries that affect all areas of your lives together. Approaching your fiancé with your desire for a prenuptial agreement within this overall context would likely make it easier for him to accept.
4. Be prepared for some lively discussions to reach these agreements.
If you both approach them wisely, they will draw you closer together. It’s extremely important that both of you practice active listening skills in these discussions. Both of you should whole-heartedly agree without reservation to any marital or premarital agreements you establish. This is where negotiation and compromise are important. You will know you have made the best agreements possible when you are both at peace with them and with one another. Keep negotiating until you get there!
Best wishes in your new marriage. May your lives be blessed with great joy!
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