Earlier this week, I was having drinks with some girlfriends when we got onto the subject of pre-nuptial agreements. Specifically, whether you would ever sign one. Four women, four very disparate opinions.
Number One took a romantic view of love and marriage, and extolled her hatred for pre-nups. “It cheapens love to talk about it ending before it’s begun,” she told us. She also questioned whether she could ever marry a man who asked her to sign a pre-nup because if her soon-to-be husband sees her as a potential “gold digger,” that means he doesn’t really love/trust her.
Number Two also hated pre-nups but saw the issue a bit differently. She argued that any man who was building a “financial escape hatch” wouldn’t be fully committed to building a strong marriage. To paraphrase, “If he thinks that he can leave at anytime with his bank account intact, it will make it easier for him to ‘pull the rip cord’ if things get rocky.”
Number Three was unremorsefully pro pre-nup. She reasoned that people stay in dysfunctional, unhappy marriages because of money all the time, take money out of the equation, and the only reason to stay together is for love. “Money is business, marriage is love, let’s keep them separate.”
Number Four wasn’t as gung-ho about it. Though she saw the pre-nup as a bit of a downer, she’d sign one if asked. “I wouldn’t be thrilled to sign on the line, but if I’m marrying for love and not money, why not?”
We then spent a good 25 minutes debating pre-nuptial agreements as played out in pop culture. “Was it okay to sign if you felt your pre-nup provided fair compensation in the wake of a divorce like Charlotte York on SATC?”
“Was it okay to put in a fidelity clause charging your spouse more for cheating like Catharine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas?”
“If the marriage ended badly, would you spend time and money contesting the pre-nup?”
“Was a man or woman with money foolish to marry without one ala Kobe Bryant?”
“Is it different to ask a woman to sign one than to ask a man to sign one?”
The opinions about these questions were just as varied. Before long, we ended up debating the inevitable final question: Is being asked to sign a pre-nup a deal breaker?
Both Friend Number One and Friend Number Two argued that it was.
So here is our discussion question for today: With which friend do you most agree? And some additional questions…
1) Would you be offended if your potential spouse asked you to sign a pre-nup?, 2) Would you sign a pre-nup, offended or not? and 3) Would you be willing to walk away from the engagement if your fiance insisted you sign and you didn’t want to, or conversely, if you asked your fiance to sign and he/she refused?
Leave your thoughts in the comments, the girls and I are really anxious to hear your thoughts.
(In fact, the second the discussion hit an intractable stalemate, Friend Number Two insisted that we take the fight to the blog. “Let your readers decide,” she said. The friend with the most commenters in agreement wins a bottle of very good champagne.)