First, let me define a pre-nup heart, blending the legal with the biblical:
“A pre-nup heart is one that wants financial assurances that in the event of divorce, or a dysfunctional on-going marriage, one may retain or garner reimbursement for any loss of expenditure due to sacrificial love.”
Here’s purely a legal definition:
“a written contract between two people who are about to marry, setting out the terms of possession of assets, treatment of future earnings, control of the property of each, and potential division if the marriage is later dissolved. These agreements are fairly common if either or both parties have substantial assets, children from a prior marriage, potential inheritances, high incomes, or have been “taken” by a prior spouse.”
And there are numerous responses in the media, like this gal who was informed that her guy wants a pre-nup or he won’t marry:
“Sometimes I cry when I think about it. I just don’t want to get married, get divorced and have a guy kick me to the curb or I move into an apartment. If a pre-nup let’s him keep all his money, then I’d rather not continue staying with someone like that. And if that’s what a pre-nup is, why get married at all? Not that I’m marrying for money, but I want a marriage to be one where we take care of each other in various ways, including sharing resources. I wonder if this is a deal-breaker and if I should bring it up with the risk it will end things between us. If he won’t get married without one, and I don’t know if I will sign one, what should I do?”
So, to the point: if you are single, are you nurturing a heart that wants to secure your investment, or get a return on your investment . . . just in case? You’re the kind to stoke the fire, but you don’t want to get burned. You want to make sure that if you invest in a relationship and things go south, that you will have structured things so securely that you can live independently – you don’t, or won’t need the other’s wealth, resources, or livelihood in any way. In other words, you are nurturing a heart that says, “I Don’t Need You. Marry Me.”
If you’re a gal reading this, would you want your guy to have this kind of heart for your marriage? Would you want him to feel so secure in his independency and self-sufficiency, that he could walk away at any time with nothing to lose? Would you want this kind of man . . . a man who protects what he has worked his rear off for, making sure that he’ll suffer no loss if things don’t work out?
If you’re a guy reading this, would you want your gal to feel so threatened by her own future “I Do,” that she will go to whatever length of defense to make sure that you don’t take advantage of her support of you throughout the years? Would you want to marry a gal who comes into the marriage with her radar so sensitive to personal loss that she will assume a marriage posture of withholding – just in case?
The truth is guys and gals – she/he, indeed, you, already have a heart that wants to “keep your life” so that you “don’t lose it,” as Jesus said. It sounds logical to withhold your life. It hurts to love. It’s risky to invest and trust – you’ll eventually be taken advantaged. But as Jesus also said, “You keep it to yourself – you lose it.” I’m not saying that one can’t pursue things that provide a measure of security before and after marriage; e.g., education and financial investments. But what will undermine the very love and trust that is needed in a marriage is a heart that is so defensive and self-protective that it will not risk loss so that the other may gain.
If you are a true Christian who has put your faith in the perfect work of Christ on the cross as your righteousness, what if Jesus wanted a pre-nup before he loved you and took you as his bride? What if he wanted assurances that if he gave his life for you, and things began to sour, he could walk away and not feel a thing? No loss. No scars. No nails. No crown of thorns. No blood. What if Jesus prepared his life to live independently from you, so that when he married you, and you left him – all of his investments were safe and sound? What if he did not give his all to you – just in case?
Please do not misunderstand me. I’m not saying a young lady shouldn’t go to school and make her self ready for employment. I’m saying that both the guy and the gal should go into their marriage ready to give their all, whatever that may mean. Can you imagine repeating this vow on the wedding day: “Only for richer and only in health . . . but if you make me poor or disturb my well-being in any way, that’s ok, I’m going into this thing with my investments secure.” But this is exactly what a pre-nup does. It provides a contingency plan, a safe way out, just in case one partner does not follow through. It sounds reasonable, but it doesn’t work for the marriage – only for the investments. Why does this approach not work? Because the heart is already so self-centered, self-reliant, self-sustaining, and unresponsive towards suffering and sacrifice for the sake of another that it’s like building a house on sand. The first massive wave of trial and heartache is going to further entrench the pre-nup heart into a defensive mode that it won’t take many more to fully galvanize the heart against the other. I’ve seen this over and over. I know what I’m looking at – and it breaks my heart. I don’t mean to gloss over some truly complex issues in a broken marriage; there is good and wise counsel for the spouse who is abandoned. But O that we would go into our marriages ready to abandon all for the sake of Christ and his gospel.
So, Nip it! Go to the gospel and look upon Christ. Take in his “emptying” (Phil. 2) into your own mind. Guard your single life from a heart that begins to feel more and more self-sufficient. You’ll see that Christ will not fail you. But if you’re married, like me, still the same advice for both of us! Nip it!