What is your opinion of prenuptial agreements?

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What is your opinion of prenuptial agreements?

Nov 03, 2008 |John Thomas
Question

What is your opinion of prenuptial agreements? I can guess that your initial reaction would be against it saying, "No, marriage is meant to be for a lifetime." Which I definitely agree with, but I can't help but being pragmatic about it as well knowing that the divorce rate among regular church-goers is not significantly different from that of those who do not attend.

This may sound like a pessimistic view of holy matrimony, yet most Christians agree it's wise to buy life or home owners insurance despite Jesus' words that we should "not worry about your life." What would make this type of insurance any different? I just would like to hear something more than a cliché answer. Thanks.

Answer

You've nailed the exact problem. Marriage has become for many people an institution of pragmatism. As such, it was only a matter of time that someone would come up with the idea to financially insure it. Pre-nups are, in my opinion, a tragic sign of the devaluing of the institution from covenant to contract.

Marriage in the sight of God is more than a legal contract. It's not about money. It is a holy covenant. As such, it demands different treatment. That the divorce rate of churchgoers is the same as non-churchgoers is evidence of many things gone wrong with the institution, and one of them is the low view of marriage that has swept our culture. The very idea that one can financially insure marriage is part of the problem.

I think good arguments can be made that having insurance on homes and cars and even one's life is not a sign of worry per se, but about being good stewards to protect investments (in the case of home or auto insurance) or helping to ease the burden of those you love at your death and fulfill to the best that you can long-term financial commitments you made in life (in the case of life insurance). Insurance on those items is our modern way of having people "pitch in" to help those in need. For some, those types of insurance policies might be some fruit of ungodly anxiety, but only God knows who that is, and it certainly isn't everyone with an insurance policy.

But I don't put a pre-nup at all in the same category as insurance on material investments. We purchase cars and homes; we don't become one flesh with them. God doesn't hate fender-benders or accidental house damage or even the death of His saints. He does, however, hate divorce. That's the difference.

Marriage is in a completely different category of life experience and is rooted in creation itself. Marriage is God's most intimate human-to-human institution, ordained by Him and designed to symbolize the relationship that exists between Christ and His Church. God's view of this institution is high and holy and sacred and for life.

From a practical standpoint, who do you think will take his tightrope walk more seriously and be more committed to its success — the walker with the net or without? Which will give his everything to make it work? It's the one whose future depends upon his getting across the wire who will do everything within his power to make it happen.

There's not a single marriage that makes it for the long haul that doesn't have to fight to get there. Whether Christian marriage or non-Christian marriage, it takes much more effort than anyone imagines when he or she stands before the minister and vows before God and to one another to stay together until death does them part.

To fulfill these heroic vows we make to one another, we need everything within our control working for us, supporting this holy covenant we've made. We need to surround ourselves with people who believe in that sacred commitment. We need to build and live within a culture of lifelong marriage.

The more support a couple removes from that culture, the more difficult they make it for themselves. Pre-nups remove one more reason to fight to make it work. In the same way that loosening divorce restrictions in the 70s and 80s led to a huge surge in the divorce rates, pre-nups do the same.

A pre-nup says, "In marriage I've done nothing more than make a legal contract." For Christ-followers, this is not an option. We must be much more concerned about what divorce does to our hearts and to the heart of God than to our pocketbooks.

Blessings,
JOHN THOMAS

Copyright 2008 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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