The cliché is the man begging his fiancé to sign a prenup and her reaction is to fall into a puddle, saying: "But don't you think we will last forever?"
Now for some reality: 46 percent of divorce lawyers queried noted a substantial uptick in the number of women who are eager to have their fiancé sign on the dotted line. It's a smart financial decision, whether you're marrying your high-school sweetheart or embarking on a second, third or whatever number marriage. You are both protecting your assets and protecting yourself against one another's potential debts. But how to pop this delicate question? Here three real brides open up.
The Bride Whose Dad Made Her Do It
*Sheila was a dewy-eyed 21-year-old when her boyfriend proposed. She recalls, "My dad had issues with Tommy from the start. Nobody was good enough for his little girl. And a few weeks before the lavish wedding dad was paying for, he gave me a prenup and demanded I make Tommy sign it."
For weeks Sheila had the contract in her purse, "carrying the impending conversation around like a heavy weight." When she finally broached the subject, explaining her dad wanted this for his piece of mind, her fiancé did not flinch, saying he "totally respected her parents' wishes." Once Sheila's father heard the news, his concerns dissipated instantly. And 12 years on, Sheila and Tommy remain so blissful it's unlikely the prenup will ever need to be enforced.
The Bride Who Was Burned by Her Ex-Husband
The first time she got married, *Pamela gave no thought to a prenup. "Wouldn't asking for one mean I didn't trust my boyfriend? The truth was I didn't, but admitting that to myself would have made me give serious thought to calling off the wedding. So I buried the fear and said my 'I dos.'"
Fast-forward five years to her about to be ex-husband demanding alimony. "I was the primary breadwinner and he was constantly in debt. It was a miserable situation. So when I was lucky enough to find love again — this time there were no doubts — I still felt a prenup was the smart thing to do."
She told her fiancé that it wasn't about him at all. She knew he was a stand-up guy. Her reasons were all about her past and the scars it had left. Pamela admits, "He was a touch insulted but he wanted me to walk down the aisle totally at ease. So he signed it and eight years later we've never discussed it again."
The Bride Who Had Kids
When *Amy approached her fiancé about a prenup she was hopeful he would confident her concern. "I put it this way: It was my second and his third marriage. We're not kids and we both have kids. Protecting everyone's assets just made sense."
Amy also joked that since his income was far larger she was looking out for his welfare. He readily agreed to sign. Six years later they remain happily married. "Truth is, at this point I have far more assets than Tim, so more to lose!"
*Names have been changed
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.