Want A Prenup? Here's How To Ask Your Partner For One While Avoiding A Fight

As we chase after our happily-ever-afters, we sometimes fail to see the obstacles that might trip us up in the future. It's not uncommon to avoid hard but necessary conversations to protect our happiness and keep our partner around. It's much easier to tell ourselves we should hope for the best and not be bogged down by the thoughts of a failed marriage. But it's smart to consider this possibility because it leads us to think of ways in which we can best protect ourselves.

One of the best ways to protect your financial interests is to get a prenuptial agreement. Now, we know what you're thinking — a prenup seems like a sign of distrust that starts your marriage off on the wrong foot, or it's something only celebrities require. All of these statements are fallacies. One law office aptly compared the correlation between prenups and divorces to car insurance and car accidents — if someone suggested paying for insurance basically guarantees you're going to crash your car, you'd wonder if that person was joking, right? 

A prenup can actually help you gain trust in your partner because of their willingness to make logical decisions that serve both of your best interests. Even if you don't consider yourself to be wealthy, a prenup can protect your valuable assets. Instead of thinking of a prenup as a dreaded document, think of it as a safety net for your marriage. Once you decide it's the best decision, it's time to talk to your partner.

How to start the conversation about a prenup

Although this discussion can be daunting, there are a couple of things you can do to make it easier for both of you. When you have the conversation is just as important as how you have it. Ideally, you should start talking about getting a prenup a while before the marriage preparations begin to give your partner a good amount of time to process it and avoid any undue pressure that might make the situation harder to handle.

It can be easy to think of a prenup as self-serving, which can lead you to demand things instead of empathetically conversing with your partner to understand their thoughts. Don't think of the conversation as a way to get what you want but as a collaborative process where you're brainstorming to come up with solutions that work for both of you. You should have a good idea of the assets you're trying to protect but also be open to creative solutions. To help your partner understand why you want a prenup, use "I" statements instead of "you" statements that can come across as indicating blame, per Business Insider.

Explain how a prenup can be just as beneficial for your partner to keep them open to the idea. As Judge Michele Lowrance explained to Business Insider, "If your partner believes that you are trying to push them into something for your own exclusive benefit, or into a settlement that they don't feel comfortable with, your partner will quickly tune you out."

Try to be gentle and understand your partner's perspective

Honesty is a key ingredient to a successful discussion. When the talk seems to be getting tough, you might be tempted to deflect and say something like the prenup is a move suggested by your parents to protect themselves, but misrepresenting the truth is not the best idea. This is supposed to be an honest discussion about your future as a married couple, so it's important to stay honest about what you're trying to protect and why you're protecting it. 

Listening to your partner is just as important as talking to them. If they've never considered getting a prenup before, the conversation might be a bit startling for them. Try not to interrupt and give them the space to process the information. For a smooth conversation, June Jacobson, a divorce lawyer, mediator, and licensed psychotherapist, advised Entrepreneur to show strong empathy towards their feelings. "That sensitivity will make the conversation and the marriage go better," she said.

If your partner is having a hard time expressing how they feel, you can ask neutral, blame-free questions that help you gain perspective on their reluctance. Once you understand their issues, you can address them with empathy and respect. You'll definitely feel a surge of emotions throughout the conversation but try to keep them in check to focus on your best interests. If things feel too intense, take a short break to collect your thoughts and take a few deep breaths.