I’m getting married in July.
We’ve got most things sorted out at this stage. Dress, food, invitations, all the usual. But a couple of weeks ago my boyfriend casually asked me, over a glass of wine, whether I’d like a prenup.
Like all millennial cliches, I brought this up over cocktails with my girlfriends. They were horrified. ‘I can’t believe he’d even ask you that’ one of them said. ‘Did it make you feel less sure about marrying him?’ asked another one.
The truth is, it made me even more sure he was the right person for me. One of the things I love about my other half is his practicality. He always packs toothpaste when we go away. He knows how to change a tire. And yes, he brought up the idea of a prenup.
‘I don’t mind either way’ he told me. ‘But it’s something to think about.’
So I did. And the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Of course, we should have a prenup. We wouldn’t go on holiday without insurance, not because we think we’re going to need shipping home in body bags, but because it’s prudent.
The same goes with the prenup.
I’m ten years younger than my partner, so at the moment he out earns me. If we split, he’d have more money for me to take. But who knows where we’ll be in a decade? If I’ve made substantial money, or if either of us has inherited large sums, it could be a stumbling point.
Daisy* 37, a friend of mine, told me that she is ‘trapped’ in a marriage that doesn’t make her happy, because of the house the own together. ‘My parents gave us the deposit for the house, and a big wack of the cost. If we split and he took half of it, I’d feel like I’d failed them. It’s one of the reasons that I’m determined to keep trying.’
I’m told that in business it’s always worth drawing up paperwork while everyone is still friends. ‘You never divorce the person you married’ a wise woman on Twitter told me.
My partner has been married before, so I demonstrably know that he’s not the ‘take them to the cleaners’ type. But how do I know how angry or grasping I might become in the dissolution of a marriage?
I have friends in their late twenties and early thirties who are experiencing divorce. I’ve seen the agony that comes from carving up a life, and selling off stuff that you once decided on together when you were in love. I can’t help thinking that if you go into a marriage with an exit strategy, you’re less likely to have to go through that if it ends.
Half of marriages do end in divorce. I’ve been called unromantic for talking about that, asked why I’d want to dwell on divorce before we’ve even walked down the aisle. The truth is, I think about it because I’m practical. Any marriage has a 50% chance of failing. Mine won’t be different because it’s mine.
I reckon we’ve got a good chance of making it, of course, I do. I wouldn’t be getting married otherwise. But naivety is not the key to a successful marriage, and I’m sorry, but going into it assuming that you’ll be one of the lucky 50%? That’s definitely naive.
We’re having a prenup. Nothing fancy, no cash bonuses for babies or fees for infidelity. Just that everyone takes out of the marriage what they brought in.
I hope we’ll never have to use it, but if it ever gets to that stage, I know I’ll be grateful that I was pragmatic, and the prenup might just be the thing that lets us stay friends.