The Washington Post

Better to cancel a wedding than to rush a prenup


Adapted from a recent online discussion, and continued from yesterday.

Re: Prenups:

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

Your advice [to challenge a prenup] was right on, but as someone who deals with this in my profession I’d like to put it even more bluntly: Do not sign that prenup, and if your fiance says it’s a necessity, let him cancel the wedding. Prenups need to be carefully considered well in advance, not rushed into a month and a half before the wedding. Most couples don’t need a prenup. For the ones who do, the discussion should take place before the wedding date has been set.

Anonymous 2


Re: Prenups

Carolyn, surely you don’t believe that “decent” people never behave badly? In extremely stressful situations, people who are otherwise very decent behave quite badly. Asking for a prenup is not equal to saying, “I don’t trust you.”

Also, why do you think a prenup always benefits only the person who requests one? Usually the prenup has to be considered fair to each party or it won’t hold up in court anyway. Perhaps you should talk to lawyers and financial planners and get an idea of exactly how prenups work.

Anonymous 3

I believe decent people are pushed to bad behavior in a divorce when their not-decent estranged spouses force their hands.

And you’re right, I should learn more about prenups, because I haven’t yet run across one initiated by someone who selflessly wants to protect the other person’s assets.

Dear Carolyn:

My daughter, 2, has always preferred me over my husband. She loves her dad, and he stays home with her two days a week, but if she has access to both of us, she wants me.

The problem is? She’s not really very “nice” to me. She doesn’t say anything in a calm voice — every request immediately is screamed. My saying “no” results in long crying/screaming fits. My husband claims she is not as bad with him and suggested maybe it’s because I give in more easily than he does.

I’m giving being firm a try, but it just means longer periods of crying/screaming, and there are days where I feel I could waste all the time I get to spend with her “standing my ground” and listening to her cry. Is this a normal phase? Should I be standing my ground? Should I be worried?

Temperamental Toddler

Stand your ground! Stand your ground! Please! Try “1-2-3 Magic” by Thomas W. Phelan; it’s not the only good book on discipline, but it’s easy to remember in the face of a fit.

You also need to develop a habit of presenting your daughter choices; instead of, “Please put on your shoes so we can go,” say, “Sneakers or sandals?” Laying out sequences is also effective: “Yes, after you put your toys away, we will go to the park.”

There is absolutely no case where it’s okay for a toddler to order a parent around. You mean well, but you’re creating a monster because your daughter has cracked your code: Screaming = “Yes.” Consider this a memo from society, begging you to learn to be firm.

Plus, you’re forcing your husband to be the permanent bad cop, which not only confuses your daughter but also robs your husband of tender moments with her.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or Subscribe at

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