Amelia Earhart and Marriage
Amelia Earhart has been in the news in the past few months because of news that she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, may not have been lost in the sea, but rather crashed on the Marshall Islands, been captured and died while imprisoned. As an early female aviator, Amelia Earhart is best known for being the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and being lost during her failed attempt in 1937 to circumnavigate the globe. What is much less known about Amelia Earhart is that she had serious reservations about the institution of marriage. In a recent article in, believe it or not, Brides Magazine, author Christina Oehler declared that “Amelia Earhart’s Prenuptial Agreement Is Proof That She Was the Ultimate Feminist.”
In a letter, now the property of Purdue University, Earhart set out her thoughts on marriage to her future husband, George Putnam. She was concerned that marriage would be like a cage and so she set out the terms that she felt they should consider and talk about for them to have even a chance at making their marriage a success.
While Amelia Earhart’s letter only sets out her aspirations and does not have the requirements for a contractual agreement as we think of it in our modern-day Pre-marital/Pre-nuptial Agreements, it is a great place to start when having those difficult conversations in anticipation of an impending marriage. Many people have reservations about marriage, often unspoken. I commend Amelia Earhart, for being willing to bring those reservations out into the open and have those prickly conversations. Her willingness to do that in 1931 sets her apart from most people, even today, who are contemplating marriage. She and her husband George only had 6 years before she was lost doing that which set her apart even more than being the author of an early pre-marital letter. But even though their time together was short, I am willing to bet that, because they had this conversation, the time they had was filled with a deeper happiness than many couples who are unable to broach this subject and reach an understanding of their expectations for their future relationship.
The Collaborative Divorce Process
The Collaborative Process is the best option for having these difficult and awkward conversations. As today’s marriages are faced with more challenges than many generations in the past, setting expectations may be the key to having a successful marriage.
In the Collaborative Process, we explore what each person has as goals and interests for themselves individually and for their relationship with the other person. With professionals who are well-trained in handling these conversations and managing the emotions that accompany them, the couple can speak candidly about their expectations, fears, and concerns. Then we develop options and evaluate them as a team, ultimately reaching an agreement that both clients have co-created, which will be drafted into a Pre-Marital/Pre-Nuptial Agreement. This well thought-out and deliberated agreement will provide a touchstone for the couple to return to guide them through the years ahead when, as in any relationship, rough waters rise up. And hopefully, with this agreement, the couple can figure out how to navigate through those waters together, or if they are unable to get to the other side as a couple, they will have a blueprint of how they can “consciously” and compassionately uncouple for their own sake and the sake of their children, family, and friends. If you know someone contemplating marriage or cohabitation, offer them the option of the Collaborative Process for their Pre-Marital Agreement.