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An Unromantic Proposal

(Credit: JAY DIRECTO/Getty Images)

(Credit: JAY DIRECTO/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - In advance of Valentine’s Day, some words on a decidedly unromantic – but very important – proposal.

You can Google “romantic proposals” and come up with a gazillion ideas for how to propose. But what you need to think about isn’t how to pop the question, but what question are you popping?

Marriage is a contract and in order to have a valid contract under the law, you need to have what’s called a meeting of the minds. So if you’re question will ‘you be my wife?’ means “and never nag me” but to her ‘will you be my wife?’ means “and I’ll always remember to take out the trash so you don’t have to nag me” you can see where the minds aren’t meeting. So, rather than just asking “will you marry me”, ask first “what does marriage mean to you?” Because questions like “am I going to inherit your bad credit” and “who is going to go to work to support the kids” and “who’s doing which chores?” are the basis of the marriage contract.

A simple yes or no after a bent knee question is lovely. But it doesn’t begin to cover what you both really need to know before making that decision.