Why I Don’t Believe in Pre-Nups
Editor’s Note: This is Part 4 “Don’t Go ‘Round Temptation’s Bend” in the Biblical Peacemaking Series.
Over the weekend, billionaire Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg tied the knot with longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan. It was announced shortly after Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, went public. There has been much speculation as to whether the new Mrs. will be receiving a “piece of the pie” over the course of the marriage and especially if they get divorced. According to the NY Times, “The question in Mr. Zuckerberg’s case is whether Ms. Chan would be entitled to the growth in value of his Facebook stock.” Professor Carillo of Hastings College of Law even said, “I would hope (her lawyers) would have encouraged her to also consider a prenup…”
The world wants to know if the Mrs. Facebook will be making money off her marriage and if she will take money away if they divorce. It’s a sad, sad world we live in. Marriage is treated so lightly in America these days. Celebrities get married…and then divorce for fun, and apparently it’s surprising if the couple doesn’t have a pre-nuptial agreement. How did one of the most sacred institutions become so corrupted?
Why I Don’t Believe in Pre-Nups
Pre-nuptial agreements set marriage up for failure. They’re supposed to be an “in-case-of a divorce” agreement, but the fact that you’re contemplating divorce before the marriage means you probably shouldn’t be getting married in the first place.
If you have to think about what you’re entitled to if the marriage should fail before you even say “I do,” then you’re focused too much on material gain and not enough on the holy institution of marriage – the sacredness of your union, the spiritual depth of your public declaration of your love.
Marriage is NOT about who’s entitled to what stuff if the relationship goes sour!
Marriage is supposed to be a reflection of the holy and perfect relationship God has with us. Marriage is supposed to be a sacred union between a man and a woman, a life partnership to love, honor, cherish, and support one another and to point each other back to the Creator God.
Pre-nuptial agreements corrupt God’s design for marriage. A marriage is between a man and woman and God…not a lawyer here and a lawyer there and a piece of paper in between in case you separate.
Pre-nuptial agreements hurt children. What would you say to your teenage daughter or son if they ask why you have a pre-nuptial agreement? “Oh well your dad and I wanted something in place just in case we don’t want to be together anymore.” What are we teaching our children? That marriage is just another contract and you can back out of at any time?
Pre-nuptials are just one form of temptation – to take the easy way out. You didn’t study for a test so you cheat on an exam. You don’t have enough money for something you want so you stuff it in our purse and walk out of the store. You really want to buy that new dress but it’s not in the budget this month so you decide to buy it anyway without mentioning it to your husband and then pretend you’ve had it all along. Your husband isn’t paying attention to you so you stay a little longer at the office flirting with another man thinking what’s the harm since you’re being neglected anyway. Taking the easy way out, hmm?
Giving into temptation is taking easy street. When Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, His hour drawing near, He left a few of the disciples to go pray. When He returned, He found that they had fallen asleep. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” Jesus says in Matthew 26:41.
Like the disciples, we often “fall asleep” because our flesh is weak. Our bodies are prone toward sin even if our spirits are willing, even if we know in our hearts and minds that it’s wrong to lie or shoplift or cheat on a spouse?
Paul speaks about this dilemma in Romans 7.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me” (vs. 15-21).
Let me break it down. We might want to do the right thing. We may desire to be good. But our sinful fleshly desires keep us from following through and lead us down the wrong path. Then we do the wrong thing and wonder why we ever gave into temptation.
Getting or Giving?
Are pre-nups evil? No. But you’re setting yourself up for temptation if you’re contemplating divorce before marriage. A pre-nup guarantees you’ll at least get “something” out of the marriage. But is that what marriage is really about? Getting something? Protecting yourself? Marriage is about giving of yourself. Ephesians 5:21-22,25 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ…Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…“
I like to be prepared. It drives me nuts when something creeps up on me and I don’t have several possible options of dealing with a situation. But the possibility of divorce isn’t something I needed to be prepared for in my marriage.
The Bible warns about settling matters within the church before going to the courts. If you go into marriage thinking, “I’d like to know what I’m getting from this union if we divorce,” you’re setting up an easy exit strategy. If you go into marriage thinking, “I’m going to give my all no matter what; I’m going to love unconditionally, and forgive as Christ forgives, etc,” you’re setting your marriage up on a solid foundation. If more wives submitted themselves to their husbands the way they should as to the Lord and if more husbands loved their wives so sacrificially as Christ loved the Church, we’d have less pre-nups.
Taking the Shiny Apple
Maybe you’re thinking – “Pre-nuptial agreements have nothing to do with me. My husband and I don’t have one, we’re not getting one before we get married, or I’m not even married or no longer married.”
The principle still implies – when have your thoughts or actions set you up for temptation – to take an easy out?
Maybe you’ve gone into a relationship thinking, “I just want to have fun and then I can leave this relationship at any time.” Maybe you’ve started college thinking, “I’m just going to college to please my parents. If it doesn’t work out, then I can just drop out.” Maybe you’ve started a project at work thinking, “My boss doesn’t look that closely. I’ll take shortcuts now and if someone calls me out on it later I’ll blame…” Maybe you’ve gone into debt with your husband thinking, “It doesn’t matter how much we spend now. We can always just buy on credit or pay our bills on credit later if we need to.” Don’t buy into that! My husband and I have and we’re paying the piper now.
It may be easier to drop out of school than to try harder in your classes. It may be easier to blame your spouse than to take responsibility for your own sins. It may be easier to get divorced than to work through your problems. But is it godlier? No!
Please know that I’m not saying you should stay in your marriage if your husband is repeatedly abusive – physically, sexually, or verbally, especially after failed attempts at counseling. Sometimes, sadly in our fallen world, divorce is necessary for the well-being and protection of the wife (or husband) and kids. What I am saying is taking the easy way out is never what God intended.
Practical Strategies for Battling Temptation
Don’t go round temptation’s bend. Plan for it ahead of time on the train tracks of marriage. Mrs. Z may have needed a pre-relationship agreement before moving to Palo Alto to live with her future husband, but you certainly don’t! Your pre-relationship agreement should be: Put God first. Love like Jesus. Enough said.
1) Where do you struggle the most in life? Telling the truth? Spending too much money? Eating too much food? Know what these areas of your life are. Have a prayer partner (an older godly woman) or if you’re married, your spouse (unless it’s an area you both need accountability and then I’d suggest another godly married couple or a pastor and his wife). Pray regularly for strength in these areas.
2) Jesus battled temptation in the wilderness when Satan confronted Him with Bible passages. Pick out a few verses to help you battle your temptations. Write them out and stick them on your bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, in your briefcase, on your computer background (I’ve done this one)…someplace where you’ll see it frequently. I’d highly suggest memorizing these verses too.
1. Jump on the Peace Train An introduction to the Peacemaking in Marriage Series – “Sometimes conflict is a good thing, but it’s never a God thing.”
2. How to Divorce Proof Your Marriage Part 2D The best marriage tip I ever received