The prenup conversation doesn't have to be awkward.
Telling your partner you want a prenuptial agreement might seem awkward at first—it doesn’t exactly scream romance. You love your significant other, after all, and are starting a life together, so why are you already thinking about the potential dissolution of your relationship? The best way to think about a prenup isn’t as a relationship omen; rather, think of it as just another practical financial task to set you both up for your expectations and make your life together easier.
So, how do you approach having the conversation with your beloved without hurting anyone’s feelings? The experience will be different for everyone, but the goal is to progress a relationship and be open with one another about your shared future. If a prenup is a necessary part of this process, you’ll be in a better place after having the conversation.
Have the conversation early
The prenup conversation is probably going to be uncomfortable. There’s no way around that. But the sooner you have it, the better. Bringing it up before getting engaged might be too soon, but it should happen as early as possible into engagement. You can gauge your partner’s reaction to signing it early in a relationship, and prepare both of you for when things get serious. This also allows you to be direct and honest—you don’t want to delay or make the conversation more difficult than it needs to be. Being straightforward with your partner early on about what is necessary will make everything easier moving forward.
Acknowledge that it’s uncomfortable to discuss
Tell your partner you know it’s an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but something you feel strongly about. Provide the reasons why it’s important to you. Maybe your parents had a messy divorce, or a close friend regretted not signing one. Be reassuring that it’s not a reflection of your partner or your love for them, but a step you need to take to feel comfortable and respected. Another argument to be made is that a prenuptial agreement will ensure that the two of you are in charge of your money and other assets, rather than a court or divorce lawyers taking control.
Discuss it along with other financial topics
Consider sandwiching the prenup talk between other financial topics, like budgeting or buying a home together. Meaning, include the prenup part of the discussion within one of your broader money conversations. Pour a glass of wine, make sure you’re both in a positive mood, and commit to an evening of talking through the logistics of finances with your soon-to-be spouse. The money and relationship topic can be a sensitive area, so allow both of your voices t0 be heard.
Or have an “end of relationship” talk
Yes, it’s a morbid thought. But all relationships end, whether through death or breakup. Explain to your significant other that you want the end to be as easy as possible for both of you, regardless of the circumstances. It’s in both of your best interests to make sure you’re financially secured for whatever may happen in the future. Preparing for worst case scenarios now may avoid reactionary decisions fueled by emotion in the future. Like many things in life, necessity and logic can be the best approach, so be direct and open with your communication. At the end of the day, a prenup is meant to be a practical step in your relationship, not an indication that your love might fade one day.
Keep your partner involved after having the conversation
Following the conversation, make the actual agreement together. Both of you should have a say in how it’s written, what details are included, and what each partner can expect. Listen to one another and aim to be practical. If this proves to be a challenge, consider hiring a neutral mediator to help the process run smoothly. Above all, make sure you’re both heard and respected.
Your partner should be—and likely will be—willing to accommodate the wishes that are important to you. Having the prenup conversation is a relevant entry point to marriage, where you approach a sensitive issue together in an open and honest way, work together to get through it, and strengthen the foundation of your future life partnership.
“Tell your partner you know it’s an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but something you feel strongly about. Provide the reasons why it’s important to you.”