Deciding to get married is an exciting moment where you get to share your life with someone else. You know it’s the right decision, and no doubt, your partner feels the same. However, before you take the plunge, protecting your interests is crucial. No one knows what can change or go wrong in a relationship, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here are ways to protect your interests before getting married:
Protect Your Finances in Case of a Divorce
As hard as it seems to talk about divorce when your love is at its peak, have a frank discussion about your finances. Who would get the house? How would your savings be divided? Do you have debts? What about 401(k) and IRA division in a divorce?
Whatever agreements you make, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, ensure you’re both on the same page and understand all the terms. Getting these things in writing avoids misunderstandings or disagreements down the line.
It’s also important to discuss any debt either of you has. This way, you wouldn’t be responsible for your partner’s debts and vice versa. Other ways to protect your finances are:
Protect Your Career by Keeping It Separate
When preparing for marriage, you might slip into thinking about your career as a team effort. Before you do that, think of what you want to achieve, your passions, and your dreams. Don’t quit your job to start a business with your spouse or take a significant pay cut to move to a new city for your spouse’s job if that’s not what you really want. It will lead to conflicts, resentment, and unhappiness. It’s okay to support your spouse’s dreams but ensure you’re still pursuing yours.
Protect Your Relationship With a Prenup
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between you and your spouse that outlines what would happen during a divorce, especially when it comes to wealthy households. It protects your assets, such as your home, savings, and investments. It can also protect you from your spouse’s debts. If you’re getting married and either of you has significant assets, consider getting a prenup. You can also use a prenup to protect your rights to a specific property, such as a family home.
Get To Understand Your Partner’s Financial Decisions
Your partner’s financial decisions after marriage can affect your finances. Ask questions if you don’t understand why your partner is making a particular decision. For example, if your partner wants to quit their job to become a stay-at-home parent, get to talk about how you’ll meet the additional financial needs. Making financial decisions together is one of the most important things you can do to protect your finances as a married couple.
Create Boundaries With Your In-laws
Your in-laws are now your family, but that doesn’t mean you have to share everything with them. You and your spouse should decide what you’re comfortable sharing with your in-laws. Let them know what’s acceptable and what is not. For example, you may not be happy with them dropping by unannounced. Establishing these boundaries early on will prevent conflicts down the line.
Keep Your Friends and Hobbies
Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you have to give up your friends and hobbies. Keep these things in your life as they give you a sense of identity outside of marriage. Having friends and hobbies also keeps you from getting too emotionally dependent on your spouse.
Create time to spend with your friends and pursue your hobbies. Once in a while, go on vacation or sign up for that painting class. However, ensure your friends and hobbies don’t take most of your time. Your spouse should still be a priority.
Take Time To Know Your Spouse
Don’t rush into marriage just because you’re in love. Take time to know your partner and their family. Spending time with them gives you a better idea of who they are and how your partner was raised. Go on dates with your partner, alone, take weekend trips, and just spend time talking. The more you know each other, the easier it will be to make a lifetime commitment.
Communicate Your Expectations
Have realistic expectations about marriage and express this to your partner. Do you want to have kids? Where do you want to live? What kind of lifestyle do you envision? What are your career goals? Answering these questions helps you understand what you want from marriage and whether or not you’re on the same page. It’s also easier to find a compromise if you know what each other wants.
Build a Strong Friendship First
Marriage is much more than just being in love. First of all, it is the most important friendship one can have in a lifetime. Before you get married, make sure you’re friends with your partner first. This way, you’ll weather the tough times and have a solid foundation to build on. To create a strong friendship, spend time together, communicate openly, and be there for each other during the good and the bad times.
You Set Yourself Up For a Successful Marriage
When you protect your interests, you set yourself up for a successful marriage. You’ll be confident, understand what you want, and know how to communicate with your partner. Ask those hard questions, ensure you’re on the same page and don’t rush into anything. After all, this is the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with.