Exit Strategies

A few days ago the New York Times posted an article in their Weddings/Celebrations section  titled “Talking Points.” The article consisted of a short list of questions that the author suggested couples discuss prior to marriage.

Some questions like, “to what extent are you willing to go to have a family, medically?” and, “will we share our credit reports with each other?” seemed to be pretty straightforward and something one might naturally discuss with their partner over the course of their relationship. There were also other questions I would have never considered such as, “what will we do if we find out our child has severe disabilities?” that seemed very valid. I had never thought to discuss something like that with Mr. Hawk, but I think it would be a great conversation to have.

Finding it thought provoking, I was about to hit the forward button to Mr. H. Then I came to the end of the list. “Should we have an exit strategy for the marriage, and if so, what would it be?”

I had a hard time stomaching this one, as it seemed so counterintuitive to me. I wouldn’t think most people go into something as serious as a marriage with an exit strategy. Is it like the saying, “prepare for the worst and hope for the best?” Maybe I thought this question was a way of dooming a relationship because I faithfully believe that Mr. H and I will make our marriage work. Is it pessimistic planning for the end or just a dash of harsh realism given current divorce rates? I couldn’t decide and am still having a hard time processing it.

What do y’all think? Is an exit strategy something to discuss prior to marriage? What other questions do you think should be discussed before tying the knot?


Mrs. Hawk

Richmond, VA
Wedding Date:
May 2012
100 Days
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  1. candy apple Bee
    candy apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:07 am

    As Catholics, Mr. CA and I just do not consider divorce an option (although obviously in cases of abuse/infidelity, we would need to reconsider), so we went into this marriage with no thoughts of exit strategies. We have married for life, and I promised to be true to him in good times and in bad. I mean to keep that promise. Marriage won’t always be a walk in the park, and I know up front that we have some big differences between us. But we will work through things no matter what life throws our way.

  2. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:09 am

    I have a friend who has “built up” her exit strategy. About a year after their marriage she told me she was putting money aside. That’s great.. Savings are always good. She was hiding it from him. Oh.. my thought was he was not a Saver and he liked to Spend. Okay, if that’s what will make it work than fine. Good for her. I was wrong. She had money saved and was hiding it so that when or if she left him she could walk away and be okay until the divorce was final.
    He is not abusive, she is a little controlling and personally the one sided details I hear about their fights – I still don’t see where he is wronging her. Every couple argues – every couple has something they will both stand firm on. Big or small the problems they have don’t seem much different than every other couple in this world. I think her exit strategy has been biggest problem. During good times in their relationship she is still focusing on the bad and saving for it. She is sneaking to a bank he has no idea about and putting money aside to leave him. When she celebrates her anniversary, she has in the back of her head – will we be here next year, I could leave. Her exit strategy and the secret is what I feel does not allow her to be happy. She even helped a friend fill out Divorce papers, not because she was thinking about Divorcing her husband – but just in case she ever needed to. Its sad. When I walk down the aisle to my man. It is for better or for worse. What ever it takes… I do joke with my man that Til death do us part can be arranged. But if we don’t make it through this life together, than it will fall apart – no safety nets, no back up plans. And I will fight with everything I have. I want to focus on nurturing our love, and building upon what we have. Not how to walk away amicably.

  3. Member
    karengoblue 165 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:50 am

    While I don’t like this question, I think it at least can lead to a greater discussion on working on communication and how to handle when marriage gets tough. I’m not expecting a smooth and easy path – every relationship has its bumps – but having a sense of how you’re going to overcome them, together as a couple, is more of a conversation worth having than “what’s our exit strategy?”

  4. Member
    mnp 1722 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:50 am

    The conversation about children and raising them is important as well. i.e. When someone says they want children, it might mean they just want one child. // I think the Exit Strategy for a marriage might be beneficial to consider it – individually and privately. We need to know what our breaking point is and what we expect from our spouses. I believe that a marriage is for the long haul but sh*t happens.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Jessica, Guest @ 7:57 am

    Our strategy is death. We may not have said “until death do us part” (mostly because it was a courthouse marriage, and that just wasn’t part of it) but that’s completely how we feel. We choose each other as kids, and even after we were apart for ten or so years, when he came back into my life, we choose each other again. That doesn’t happen if there isn’t a reason, and I will fight until I die for our marriage. I come from a very broken family though, and I refuse to let our son see that kind of damage up close.

  6. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:20 pm

    Personally, excepting a few extreme situations, I believe that a couple should do everything in their power to make a marriage work. Too few people (like we Bees and not Kim Kardashian) actually value what marriage is all about and think “If I don’t feel like doing this anymore, I’ll just get divorced.” I agree that having an exit strategy acts like a jinx.

  7. Member
    MsRobyn 52 posts, Worker bee @ 11:18 am

    I was wondering what people actually mean by “exit strategy” here. Is it things like counselling and whatnot to hopefully prevent a divorce, or is it about the practicalities of splitting up?

  8. Member
    Miss.DIY 85 posts, Worker bee @ 11:15 pm

    101 Questions to Ask before you get Engaged by H. Norman Wright is a fabulous little book that brings up great questions that need to be and should be answered long before the big day.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Amber, Guest @ 3:08 pm

    My motto has always been don’t get married if you believe in divorce! And if you are afraid that the person will change over time, you probably shouldnt be marrying them! I know this is a touchy subject, but why would you have an exit strategy entering into a lifetime commitment?

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