#3: His and Hers (And Yours)
One of the things which we all look forward to most in marriage is the idea of a ‘union.’ It’s about as core to the idea of modern marriage as anything else. That being said, however, there are different kinds of union, and it’s here that we actually get into the pre-modern history of marriage in the West.
Marriage used to be negotiated by families for economic or political gain. In many parts of the world, this is still the case. Jane Austen critiques the practice of treating women as goods on par with the dowry they were to be ‘sold’ with in her novels. The question of women inheriting property was a hot one for centuries.
And why? Because back then, for legal purposes, all property in a marriage could and often did revert to the man—the woman was, in many respects, a legal and economic non-entity.
It should go without saying that that’s completely sexist and unfair, especially today, where more women attend and graduate colleges in the United States than men and are likewise starting to make headway in many high-paying fields despite the continued inequities of the wage gap.
A prenuptial agreement, therefore, provides a great opportunity for couples to lay out what is to be shared between them and what is to be considered their own.
As unromantic as all the legality and paperwork seems, especially when placed alongside the scintillating world of Austen-esque intrigue and romance, the independence promised by a prenup is distinctly less ‘odious’ than forfeiting all your legal and economic identity, or treating others or being treated yourself as something to be bought and sold—as Austen herself would no doubt agree.