Married couple holding hands

Setting Your Marriage Up for Success: Prenups, Separation Agreements, & You

Marriage is a lot of work, and if you and your spouse are willing to put in the effort you can have a long, happy and successful marriage. The sad reality is that roughly 39% of marriages end in divorce and it can be a complicated and draining process for everyone involved. Here are some of the most common reasons for divorce or separation.


You need to be honest about your finances including your debts, your salaries, your investments and your monthly expenses. Your budget and finances are topics you’ll talk about with your spouse for the rest of your life, including how to spend your money together, so you may as well lay it all out on the table from the start.


This isn’t always a physical act of infidelity. It could be an emotional act as well and can really hinder your relationship.

Not agreeing on whether or not to have kids

This is another huge topic that needs to be discussed up front. It’s a deal breaker for most people if the spouse doesn’t want to have kids or if they won’t consider adopting/fostering if they’re physically unable to have kids.

Other reasons for divorce

  • Conflicting religious beliefs
  • Abuse (physical, verbal or emotional)
  • Lack of intimacy
  • Lack of physical attraction
  • Falling out of love (or drifting apart)
  • Wanting different things in life
  • Communication issues
  • Addiction (Drugs, alcohol or gambling)
  • Constant conflicts & arguments or never being on the same page.
2 people sitting at a table

Preparing is Caring

In order to set up your marriage for success, you have to have these conversations before you ever walk down the aisle—even if it’s tough or uncomfortable to discuss. Take time to be up-front on your current priorities and values and be open and honest about what will be important to you in the future. Make a list of your hopes and dreams for yourself and your marriage and then compare your notes with your future spouse to see if you’re on the same page. It’s okay if your dreams and priorities change throughout the years but make sure that you communicate your thoughts and feelings with your spouse and be sure to always keep your marriage a top priority.

It’s also helpful to figure out a plan of action in case your marriage does start to go south. Planning ahead isn’t setting your marriage up for failure or admitting defeat—it’s a practical (& safer) approach. It’s better to talk about how you would split up your assets while you’re still happy and agreeable then trying to fight it out in front of your divorce lawyers.

Have paperwork drawn up from the beginning, listing who gets what in the event of a divorce. That way it’s not a game of “she said” and “he said” later on. This type of paperwork is commonly called a “pre-nup” or prenuptial agreement. This document lists items that the engaged couple agree upon before getting married. The pre-nup normally includes identifying and dividing assets, protection against marital debts, allocating property, child custody, support and more.

Couple having a date night at home

A Few Tips to Help Support an Enduring Marriage

As mentioned before, there are some healthy steps you can take to protect you and your spouse from future heartbreak. Besides always putting each other first, here are some keys to a happy marriage:

  • Communicate often—this includes the good and bad things. Your spouse should be your go-to person for good news (BEFORE your mom or bff). Text, call, email, send private DM’s on Instagram! Just reach out and tell them about your day. This also means you don’t keep each other in the dark. Be open and honest with each other if something’s wrong or upsetting you. Try to find ways to talk about your thoughts and feelings, not just what you ate for lunch or what the kids learned in school. Make it personal.
  • Make your spouse feel loved with both big and small gestures. Pick up some flowers on your way home, bring them coffee in the morning, say I love you in front of your kids on a daily basis, do the laundry or dishes without being asked, send fun or flirty texts during the day, etc.
  • Spend some real time with each other. Take time to put aside the housework and other distractions to focus your attention on each other. Planning a bi-weekly or monthly date night is a great way to commit to making each other a priority.
  • Make time for just yourself. This can be a hard one, especially if you have children. But it’s super important to have your space and alone time to enjoy personal interests. Go grab lunch with a friend or get a massage. Walk around Target for an hour (it’s truly an amazing feeling without the kiddos). Encourage him to do the same: grab a beer with a coworker, go for a hike or read a book at Starbucks.
  • Learn to fight fair and forgive each other. If we learned anything from Hannah Montana it’s that everybody makes mistakes and nobody’s perfect. It’s important to express your feelings and to forgive it when your spouse hurts yours but don’t dwell on it. Don’t bring up past hurts or arguments and try to move forward. Just take on the disagreement at hand and find a way to resolve the conflict in a healthy way.