Why all marriages need a prenup

Would you go into a corporate partnership with someone who told you that, in order to “seal the deal,” you had to sign a partnership agreement that protected mainly his interests? Would you squelch the small voice within that wanted to question his actions and motives? Would you feel strong-armed? Do you really think this would be a good person with whom to go into business? prenup

Most onlookers would say it’s obvious that this is not the way to build trust or start a healthy relationship. Friends and advisors might tell you that being pushed into signing away your rights should send up warning flags all over the place and they’d counsel you not to give your signature to anything or anyone under those circumstances.

Something strange happens to people when it comes to putting pen to paper on a prenuptial agreement. There seems to be a thick layer of denial present and my guess is because love is involved. Most people see love and business like oil and water. But marriage is a legal contract. In fact, marriage is the greatest legal partnership most people will enter into in their lives — and a family is nothing short of a corporation.

As a soon-to-be-wed couple, you are not only joining your hearts, you are also combining your home, family, and social and financial structures. In essence, there isn’t one area of your life that marriage doesn’t impact. Despite the fact that we use terms such as “marriage contract,” and “divorce court,” people still don’t seem to understand that marriage is a business deal.

Read more here, than come back and tell us — would you sign a prenup? Why or why not?

How do you define commitment?

It seems whenever anyone talks about divorce or troubled marriages, the C word comes up — commitment.How do you define commitment?

The problem with couples today, the typical comment goes, is that they just don’t know what commitment means.

OK, so what does commitment in a marriage mean?

That’s something we have been exploring in our work with soon-to-be-married couples for our book, The New I Do. Each and every bride- and groom-to-be that we’ve interviewed has emphatically emphasized how important commitment is and how important it will be in his or her marriage.

Great – who’s going to argue with commitment, especially when it’s stated so passionately? But then we ask them what they won’t tolerate in their marriage. And, guess what each one names first? Right — infidelity. There’s commitment and then there’s this: “Well, I’m absolutely not going to deal with my spouse cheating on me!”

Makes sense. But, apparently there’s some wiggle room, even when it comes to cheating. Read more here, and then come back and tell us — how do you define commitment?

 

Why must marriage be forever?

A few years ago Mexico introduced the idea of  time-limited marriage contracts, and Susan wrote an article referencing that. Her article got a lot of people upset, and the comments just perpetuated the shaming and blaming all people who divorce face from others.

Few see a problem with marriage, but lots of problems with people, like this person: marriage contracts

This article asserts that just because we as a society are unable to stay together, that indicates a problem with the institution. More likely, the problem is with us. We are self-absorbed, stubborn and lustful. Marriage is not the problem, we are the problem.

Or this person:

She also missed the foundation is God, mixed with hard work, respect, commitment, and a bull-dog tenacity to stick through the worst of times, endure it, and celebrate the best of times.

Or this person:

Marriage is not what needs an overhaul, our acceptance as a culture of immoral; cavalier behavior needs an overhaul. In general, our society condones men as philanderers, it is their nature, they can’t help it, BS. Women are encouraged to be playthings and manipulate men through their sexuality, again, that is BS. Being genuine is a lost art. We need to support each other, hold each other accountable and shun those who flagrantly disregard vows they chose to make

Or this person:

Marriage hasn’t failed us. We’ve failed marriage. Marriage prevailed in the past because divorce was nearly unthinkable and people were more willing to work at their relationships. Simple as that.

It’s yet another reminder of how few people are willing to question why we marry nowadays (and a total failure to remember how women were chattel and could be beaten and raped by their husbands and still not be able to divorce. Well, who wants to go there?

While the Mexico legislation failed to pass, time-limited marriage contracts have been proposed for year across the globe. We believe it’s time to make them a reality, an idea addressed at length in our book.

Until the, here’s Susan’s article as it appeared in the Huffington Post. What do you think?

This week in headlines, we heard that Mexico is introducing legislation that will potentially put time frames around marriage with the minimum contract lasting two years.

There are now approximately 26 countries throughout the world that recognize civil unions, domestic partnerships and same sex marriages.

While I see these nuptial changes as positive evolution, I feel that we still have a one-size-fits-all model for partnering in a culture that increasingly celebrates our differences. These newer proposals are simply time-limited and toned-down versions of the same thing with the same expectations.

The elephant in the room (or, should I say at the altar) is the question that has, to my knowledge, never been asked and that is, “Why are people creating these special unions?” My guess is that no one asks “why” because it is assumed that love is the only answer anyone would give — or the only right answer — to that question. Yet, there are many additional unspoken reasons people have for tying the knot.

Let’s examine just the most surface level of demographics (age, socio-economic status, and family size) and see what happens. Do those who marry out of college marry for the same reason as the empty nester divorcees do? Do those who come from meager financial means marry for the same reason the wealthy do? Do those who want to find a good parent for their children marry for the same reason as the couple who accidentally got pregnant does?

In all of the academic and media discussions about marriage and divorce, there has been no distinction between any of these groups or classes. The unspoken assumption is that everyone who marries at 25 is doing so in order to have kids, raise a family and live happily ever after. I suppose people don’t think further ahead than that because divorce is not supposed to happen.

But divorce is happening and it is here to stay. In fact, I think one of the main reasons it is so common is that people have not asked themselves why, other than for love, they want to marry. And marriage, if it is to thrive, sorely needs an overhaul.

If it were acceptable for people to wed for a variety of reasons, perhaps we would see contracts of 20 years for a parenting marriage,* five-year renewable contracts for a financial security marriage, and two-year renewable agreements for companionship marriages.

*(parenting marriages could be renewable but, given that kids and co-parenting are a major reason spouses fight and ultimately divorce, most may not want to renew the contract).

Then those who married would go into the union knowing exactly what was expected of them and how long it would last. Rather than a one-size-fits-all institution, people could pick the type and length of marriage they truly wanted. Marriages with an agreed upon agenda and end date would then terminate naturally.

Instead of holding everyone in the culture to a single standard “forever,” which is at the very least unfair if not impossible, people in this modern model of marriage would be set up to succeed.

And then everyone would live happily ever after.

  • Would you marry for a purpose other than love?
  • Would you agree to a limited-time marital contract? Why/why not?

Is it OK for a woman to want to be provided for?

provided_for

 

Is it OK for a woman to want to have a man take care of her?

Yes, writes Ginger at her popular blog Girls Just Want to Have Funds:

“I mean, I don’t need him to be rich or anything, I just need for him to be making enough to provide for me some day, you know?” – seen at TeacherFinance.org

If you’ve read some of the more contentious articles here, then you know there was a time when I drew a hard line when it came to women who decided to opt out either because they wanted to, can or have to do so.  The reasons for opting out range from wanting to spend more time with their families, be more hands on with the kids, pursue vocational interests – or whatever their hearts can justify at the time making a career pointless.  Thus, you have women who have chosen en-masse, to opt out.

And It’s OK.

Here’s the thing. We really are too hard and judgmental as it relates to picking apart the choices that another woman makes for her life.  Don’t get me wrong, I am no advocate of flying by the seat of your pants unless it’s a calculated risk, but I don’t support bashing a woman for wanting a lifestyle that works entirely for her and the family she supports and/or raises. The mommy wars (Stay at Home vs Working Moms debate) that has spanned the women’s movement must stop and here’s why:

Read more of what she has to say here, and then tell us — do you agree?