While your engagement adventure should feel like you’re getting a head start on your honeymoon, it can be filled with moments of stress, thoughts of what if, and decisions that monumentally affect your future together as a couple. Which is why, for some, figuring out if some sort of prenuptial agreement should be arranged is one of the biggest steps before saying "I do."
In 2019, more couples (like the ones below) are signing contracts that can relate to anything from pregnancy to finances to fighting and, yes, even chores. While it might be an awkward conversation to have, it might be essential. Take note of the contracts and the reasons why the couples below made their significant others sign on the dotted line before walking down the aisle.
A Cheating Contract
“My parents got a divorce when I was 16 because of cheating. That made me never want to get married. I wanted to make a cheating contract so that if our marriage ended because of infidelity, our next steps were mapped out, and there wouldn’t be a nasty divorce. We paid a lawyer to help us out with this, and we have the signed contract in a safe.” —Betty G., 39
A Pregnancy Contract
“I didn’t really want kids but agreed to have them with a few stipulations that I put in a contract and made my husband sign before the wedding day. The contract said that I could quit my job while being pregnant and not work for one to three years after having the baby, and that [it] would be up to me. It also said he’d pay for a personal trainer during that time too. I just wanted to be clear that if we got married and then had a kid, that we were on the same page and I was comfortable.” —Sasha K., 26
A Financial Contract
“We didn’t go with a traditional prenup and instead put something in writing together that we’d combine our finances, each keeping 10 percent of our monthly income in a separate account to be used on our own purchases. We also put in the contract that in the event of a divorce, we’d split everything 50/50 except for our separate accounts. Doing this made us set expectations and have difficult conversations before we took the next step in our relationship.” —Mara V., 28
A No-Fighting Contract
“We had a lot of issues leading up to our wedding that we didn’t have time to fix. We weren’t the best communicators and fought more than your average couple. We kept tossing the idea around that we should go to couple’s therapy or a relationship boot camp thing but we didn’t have time because we were in the process of moving and planning a wedding. Before we signed the marriage license, we put together a no-fighting contract that jotted down our game plan for fights. We wrote that for every three fights we have a month, we have to spend three hours going to a couple’s therapist.
The contract also included that at least once a month we have to go as a couple to classes around communication and anger management. We’re OK about keeping true to the contract. But we’ve only been married a year.” —Erica Z., 36
A Holiday Contract
“We decided to sign a pre-marriage holiday contract that detailed whose family we’d spend each holiday with for the next five years. We split up Christmas, Easter, New Years, and Thanksgiving so that we alternated between families for each major holiday and then switched the next year. Why did we do this? Mostly to keep ourselves from fighting and also to explain to our parents our decision so that they wouldn’t tempt us to change our plans to turn us against each other when it came to making holiday plans.” —Teresa W., 32
A Chores Contract
“One of our recurring fights was around doing chores. I was left with doing 99 percent of them on the weekends while he was out with his friends. When we were gearing up to get married, I drafted a contract that outlined a plan to split the chores 50/50 every single week. If we went two or more weeks without that happening, the contract said that he had to pay me $50 for that week. My husband is cheap, so I figured that would kick him in the butt to stay good on his end of the deal. We’ve been married for only two years and the contract has held up.
I’ve made close to $2,500 so far because of the contract and his lack of doing chores.” —Clarissa H., 29