Question. Are Prenuptial agreements Biblical?

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Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
Let's say you are a wealthy Christian man or woman, and you meet your "soul mate", but you are in a culture where divorce is rampant i.e a culture not conduscive to marriage, would it be Biblical of you to have a prenuptial agreement?
 

Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
Consider the following.

1.The divorce rate amongst Christians is just as high as unbelievers.

2. Our society permits no fault divorce. (meaning, if you are not feeling the person, and if the person a Christian apostasize, they can easily leave the marriage).

3. There are financial repurcussions in divorce that can put a man or woman in perpetual poverty i.e alimony, child support (depending on how much children one has), and mortgages and car payments on assets one no longer uses.


With the above as the reality, is it unwise for a Christian to protect themselves in case something goes wrong? I mean we all have insurance for our houses, cars and lives, why not marriages?

[Edited on 1-12-2006 by Slippery]
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Protect yourself from someone you entering a covenant with? Again, as Joshua stated, you're assuming failure from the start...it's like keeping one foot out the door (or outside of the covenant) at all times. Nope, you marry, you covenant, you are responsible regardless of the costs. You're not covenanting "IF" or "as long as". Nope. If anything, I wouldn't trust the person asking for the prenuptial. Far as I know, you could marry, then leave, and leave the other party with zilch, KWIM?
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
In everything give thanks.

I agree with what has been said and will add that even in such a tragic event, we are still commanded to trust in God´s glorious providence. Say extortion happens because of the divorce, do what is fair and honest and let what happened happen. It will be good for you and you can rightfully thank God.

We take comfort in God´s sovereignty.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I think we need to redefine prenup agreement so that it in fact is a covenant.

And one could add the provision that my wife reminds me of from time to time: "What's yours is ours and what's mine is mine." :bigsmile:

It's fine with me.

Vic
 

gwine

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by victorbravo
I think we need to redefine prenup agreement so that it in fact is a covenant.

And one could add the provision that my wife reminds me of from time to time: "What's yours is ours and what's mine is mine." :bigsmile:

It's fine with me.

Vic
That won't work in Wisconsin, a community property state, but I get your drift. A co-worker (rather miserly and a non-Christian) shortly after his marriage caught his wife spending money from (gasp!) his account and immediately set up a bank account for her and made her get a job. "What's mine is mine and what's yours is yours". Nope. If they divorce she will get half of the whole shebang, 7 figure 401K and all.

And, in answer to the original question, the only pre-nuptial agreement allowable is the vows made at the marriage ceremony.
 

CalsFarmer

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by victorbravo
I think we need to redefine prenup agreement so that it in fact is a covenant.

And one could add the provision that my wife reminds me of from time to time: "What's yours is ours and what's mine is mine." :bigsmile:

It's fine with me.

Vic
How cute...my husband says the same thing. Actually since I owned a very successful consulting business prior to our meeting and subsequent marriage I did politely inform that: Love is love and MY BUSINESS is MY BUSINESS. He agreed. I do however consider him when asked to take jobs that could put me in hot spots or cause me to be gone for a long time.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Originally posted by CalsFarmer

How cute...my husband says the same thing. Actually since I owned a very successful consulting business prior to our meeting and subsequent marriage I did politely inform that: Love is love and MY BUSINESS is MY BUSINESS. He agreed. I do however consider him when asked to take jobs that could put me in hot spots or cause me to be gone for a long time.
I should have added that my wife had a lot more than I did when we got married, so it is fair. My possessions were essentially a pickup truck and a dog. The truck is gone, sadly the dog has since died. My worldly goods have always been a bit ephemeral.

Vic
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by joshua
Originally posted by Slippery
With the above as the reality, is it unwise for a Christian to protect themselves in case something goes wrong?
It would be ungodly, therefore unwise. :2cents:
Would it be OK to get fire insurance on the church building?

There is already an implied pre-nup in civil law. There are in place guidelines for splitting up the stuff. Entering into marriage means you will do the process if the covenant is broken.
You already have a pre-nup NOW.

Usually she gets the mine, he gets the.........:sing:
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by joshua
Originally posted by non dignus
Originally posted by joshua
Originally posted by Slippery
With the above as the reality, is it unwise for a Christian to protect themselves in case something goes wrong?
It would be ungodly, therefore unwise. :2cents:
Would it be OK to get fire insurance on the church building?

There is already an implied pre-nup in civil law. There are in place guidelines for splitting up the stuff. Entering into marriage means you will do the process if the covenant is broken.
You already have a pre-nup NOW.

Usually she gets the mine, he gets the.........:sing:
Is a fire a voluntary happening to a church? Pre-nups, as defined by our age, assume failure of the marriage. Such a thing, I would think, by believers are ungodly.
Nobody wants to burn a church. But nobody wants to split up. Sometimes we are compelled to seek separation through no fault of our own.

And yes, godly love "hopes all things."
However, NOT having a pre-nup IS a pre-nup. That is, both parties agree to let the lawyers take the lion's share of property if they part ways. Is that good stewardship?

Also, I think a pure motive arises in trying to keep intact valuable family heirlooms that have little value outside the family name.
(We did not make a pre-nup; it seemed contrary to our relationship.)
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think such thinking is backwards...when you intend to marry, it should be for life. A pre-nup, as defined by our godless culture, is of no biblical value.
We are of like mind on this. And we need to be wise as serpents, so I won't completely rule it out at all times.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Wise as serpents against the one you are marrying...


I advise any girl or guy that gets presented with a pre-nup to run...quick!
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Without intending offense, to be completely and openly honest I'm actually surprised this much discussion has even gone on regarding the validity of practicing them - especially in our culture. Either way you slice its various parts or implications, what it comes down to in the end is essentially, "I truly love and trust you enough to enter this covenant with you to serve you forever, but we had better do it like this regardless...you know, just in case you turn out to be unfaithful and either leave me or force me to leave you."

We have car, house and life insurance because ultimately we cannot trust our cars, houses and bodies to remain faithful to their purpose and design. But if we are entering into the marriage covenant placing anything less than full trust in our spouses, we should not be entering it. A Person entering the husband-wife covenant with anything less than full trust and confidence in the other person's faithfulness and perseverance, as well as their own willingness for the same, is akin to a person entering the biblically parallel God-believer covenant at salvation with the Roman Catholic or Amish doctrine of assurance, or the Arminian doctrine of conditional security. And even though covenants of the former type do indeed fail at times, while the latter does not, to treat the former when entering it as any less certain than the latter is to distort the Scriptural parallel the two should have, and the biblical mindset accompanying them.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Without intending offense, to be completely and openly honest I'm actually surprised this much discussion has even gone on regarding the validity of practicing them - especially in our culture. Either way you slice its various parts or implications, what it comes down to in the end is essentially, "I truly love and trust you enough to enter this covenant with you to serve you forever, but we had better do it like this regardless...you know, just in case you turn out to be unfaithful and either leave me or force me to leave you."

We have car, house and life insurance because ultimately we cannot trust our cars, houses and bodies to remain faithful to their purpose and design. But if we are entering into the marriage covenant placing anything less than full trust in our spouses, we should not be entering it. A Person entering the husband-wife covenant with anything less than full trust and confidence in the other person's faithfulness and perseverance, as well as their own willingness for the same, is akin to a person entering the biblically parallel God-believer covenant at salvation with the Roman Catholic or Amish doctrine of assurance, or the Arminian doctrine of conditional security. And even though covenants of the former type do indeed fail at times, while the latter does not, to treat the former when entering it as any less certain than the latter is to distort the Scriptural parallel the two should have, and the biblical mindset accompanying them.
Chris,
I agree, that is the ideal. (Indeed, if we pursued the ideal fully we would never marry.) But we also know we are sinners. If we fail in the 'law' of marriage there is often little 'gospel' to rectify the failure. Add this to the fact that we only half know the person we are marrying because, being sinners, we are not totally honest with the other person. In other words the process is flawed to begin with.

I don't think that having a pre-nup is an especially good idea. But there are marriages (not all marriages have the same characteristics) where it would be a device for less uncertainty and could possibly mitigate the trauma of separation.

BTW Is any sort of autonomy destructive to marriage? Your argument might buttress the idea that women should not earn money in the marriage thereby giving them independance and an easy way out.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by non dignus
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Without intending offense, to be completely and openly honest I'm actually surprised this much discussion has even gone on regarding the validity of practicing them - especially in our culture. Either way you slice its various parts or implications, what it comes down to in the end is essentially, "I truly love and trust you enough to enter this covenant with you to serve you forever, but we had better do it like this regardless...you know, just in case you turn out to be unfaithful and either leave me or force me to leave you."

We have car, house and life insurance because ultimately we cannot trust our cars, houses and bodies to remain faithful to their purpose and design. But if we are entering into the marriage covenant placing anything less than full trust in our spouses, we should not be entering it. A Person entering the husband-wife covenant with anything less than full trust and confidence in the other person's faithfulness and perseverance, as well as their own willingness for the same, is akin to a person entering the biblically parallel God-believer covenant at salvation with the Roman Catholic or Amish doctrine of assurance, or the Arminian doctrine of conditional security. And even though covenants of the former type do indeed fail at times, while the latter does not, to treat the former when entering it as any less certain than the latter is to distort the Scriptural parallel the two should have, and the biblical mindset accompanying them.
Chris,
I agree, that is the ideal. (Indeed, if we pursued the ideal fully we would never marry.) But we also know we are sinners. If we fail in the 'law' of marriage there is often little 'gospel' to rectify the failure. Add this to the fact that we only half know the person we are marrying because, being sinners, we are not totally honest with the other person. In other words the process is flawed to begin with.
I think your second sentence here may possibly be evidence of the problem I see in how you're approaching this; it is completely foreign, and indeed absolutely contrary, to Scripture to say that never marrying would be the "ideal taken to its fullest extent." Proverbs 18:22 states, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." As the Westminster Larger Catechism points out in questions 138-139, celibacy is intended for some, and marriage for some, and neither is more "ideal" than another for all believers, even in a hypothetical sense. For if that was true in any way, it would ultimately be "ideal" for the human race to produce no more children, as to do so outside of marriage is a sin. Furthermore, the very picture Scripture uses to describe the maximally-ideal, perfect relationship between Christ and the Church is none other than the symbolism of a groom and bride. Thus, to speak of singleness in any sense as being "ideal" for believers in this life is a subjective judgment unfounded in Scripture, and making such claims on the topic open the door for blurring the lines in other aspects of that topics as well, such as the relationship of trust to the marriage covenant and the implications of that relationship for the notion of "back-up" plans.

Also, you said that "we only half know the person we are marrying because, being sinners, we are not totally honest with the other person. In other words the process is flawed to begin with." Your second sentence here interprets your first. That is, if either person in a courtship (or whatever you want to call it) is not trying to be fully honest with the other person and wanting that person to do the same - so as to make a wise and informed decision about marriage - then indeed, the process of their consideration and pursuit of marriage is incredibly flawed to begin with. But that is not how it should be pursued. That lack of honesty ultimately has the motive of comfortableness and a desire to "impress" the other person, and if those things ever come at the expense of honesty - the purpose of the latter being to make a truly wise decision on marriage - then they are of the flesh in that case. Again, as with the "ideal" singleness issue, I think this view of half-honesty being the norm before marriage represents a fundamentally flawed view of the pre-marriage state and its purpose, and thus also should cause you to rethink what you have said on trust before marriage as it relates to prenuptial agreements as well.

Originally posted by non dignus
I don't think that having a pre-nup is an especially good idea. But there are marriages (not all marriages have the same characteristics) where it would be a device for less uncertainty and could possibly mitigate the trauma of separation.
Take this principle to its logical extent, applied to other areas as well. We all know from experience that the visible Church and its particular denominations and congregations are fallible, and in many potential ways as well. Thus, should a committed believer perpetually continue as a mere attender of his congregation without ever becoming a member his whole life, since he realizes the elders of that congregation could fall into deception and could then abuse their authority over him as a member to discipline him unjustly? By the very logic you are using with prenuptial agreements between a man and a woman, a person could serve, learn and fellowship well at a church his whole life without ever becoming a member, and after all, refraining from membership would keep the elders from abusing their power to unjustly discipline him should they ever fall into deception or unfaithfulness.

Originally posted by non dignus
BTW Is any sort of autonomy destructive to marriage? Your argument might buttress the idea that women should not earn money in the marriage thereby giving them independance and an easy way out.
I basically see this as a straw-man of what I am (and other are) saying about marriage and the role trust biblically plays in relation to it. Should a woman earn money in the marriage from the beginning with any of the motive or reason for doing so being back-up for her in case her husband might possibly become unfaithful someday? Absolutely not. But women can biblically earn money in a marriage without that motive or even consideration being anywhere on the radar screen whatsoever.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by LadyFlynt
Wise as serpents against the one you are marrying...
It doesn't have to be against him or her. It is defensive should the other party offend. It is boundaries in writing.
I advise any girl or guy that gets presented with a pre-nup to run...quick!
I advise you not to run but seek why they feel the need for it and see if it can be hurdled.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Sorry, I believe wholeheartedly that you seek to know the person well enough before marriage (takes time) that one does not need to be defensive and that neither party would feel the need for a pre-nup...thus the situation of being presented with one should never occur.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by joshua
Originally posted by LadyFlynt
Sorry, I believe wholeheartedly that you seek to know the person well enough before marriage (takes time) that one does not need to be defensive and that neither party would feel the need for a pre-nup...thus the situation of being presented with one should never occur.
The fact is, even if you didn't know the person "well enough", you still maried them. The husband should love the wife as Christ loved the Church, which means without reciprocation, without condition, without exception (although there are biblical exceptions, that's another thread). Now, speaking to biblical exceptions, you never plan such things obviously. So, that being said, a pre-nup is, in a sense, planning for a divorce.
Agreed! I was just stating that there could be warning signs in advance that marriage is not quite on the horizon...and agreed, you marry, learn to deal.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
:lol: Never took you as conflicting...I think we were coming from two sides of the issue...pre-marital and marital.
 

CalsFarmer

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by victorbravo
Originally posted by CalsFarmer

How cute...my husband says the same thing. Actually since I owned a very successful consulting business prior to our meeting and subsequent marriage I did politely inform that: Love is love and MY BUSINESS is MY BUSINESS. He agreed. I do however consider him when asked to take jobs that could put me in hot spots or cause me to be gone for a long time.
I should have added that my wife had a lot more than I did when we got married, so it is fair. My possessions were essentially a pickup truck and a dog. The truck is gone, sadly the dog has since died. My worldly goods have always been a bit ephemeral.

Vic
He had the antiques...I had the business we think it was a great match!!!! Some people do look at us strangely though since he stays at home and trades securities. Hes working on our retirement funds and I handle the day to day in the here and now.....

Is it not amazing what can be accomplished when two people agree??
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Originally posted by non dignus
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Without intending offense, to be completely and openly honest I'm actually surprised this much discussion has even gone on regarding the validity of practicing them - especially in our culture. Either way you slice its various parts or implications, what it comes down to in the end is essentially, "I truly love and trust you enough to enter this covenant with you to serve you forever, but we had better do it like this regardless...you know, just in case you turn out to be unfaithful and either leave me or force me to leave you."

We have car, house and life insurance because ultimately we cannot trust our cars, houses and bodies to remain faithful to their purpose and design. But if we are entering into the marriage covenant placing anything less than full trust in our spouses, we should not be entering it. A Person entering the husband-wife covenant with anything less than full trust and confidence in the other person's faithfulness and perseverance, as well as their own willingness for the same, is akin to a person entering the biblically parallel God-believer covenant at salvation with the Roman Catholic or Amish doctrine of assurance, or the Arminian doctrine of conditional security. And even though covenants of the former type do indeed fail at times, while the latter does not, to treat the former when entering it as any less certain than the latter is to distort the Scriptural parallel the two should have, and the biblical mindset accompanying them.
Chris,
I agree, that is the ideal. (Indeed, if we pursued the ideal fully we would never marry.) But we also know we are sinners. If we fail in the 'law' of marriage there is often little 'gospel' to rectify the failure. Add this to the fact that we only half know the person we are marrying because, being sinners, we are not totally honest with the other person. In other words the process is flawed to begin with.
I think your second sentence here may possibly be evidence of the problem I see in how you're approaching this; it is completely foreign, and indeed absolutely contrary, to Scripture to say that never marrying would be the "ideal taken to its fullest extent." Proverbs 18:22 states, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." As the Westminster Larger Catechism points out in questions 138-139, celibacy is intended for some, and marriage for some, and neither is more "ideal" than another for all believers, even in a hypothetical sense. For if that was true in any way, it would ultimately be "ideal" for the human race to produce no more children, as to do so outside of marriage is a sin. Furthermore, the very picture Scripture uses to describe the maximally-ideal, perfect relationship between Christ and the Church is none other than the symbolism of a groom and bride. Thus, to speak of singleness in any sense as being "ideal" for believers in this life is a subjective judgment unfounded in Scripture, and making such claims on the topic open the door for blurring the lines in other aspects of that topics as well, such as the relationship of trust to the marriage covenant and the implications of that relationship for the notion of "back-up" plans.

Also, you said that "we only half know the person we are marrying because, being sinners, we are not totally honest with the other person. In other words the process is flawed to begin with." Your second sentence here interprets your first. That is, if either person in a courtship (or whatever you want to call it) is not trying to be fully honest with the other person and wanting that person to do the same - so as to make a wise and informed decision about marriage - then indeed, the process of their consideration and pursuit of marriage is incredibly flawed to begin with. But that is not how it should be pursued. That lack of honesty ultimately has the motive of comfortableness and a desire to "impress" the other person, and if those things ever come at the expense of honesty - the purpose of the latter being to make a truly wise decision on marriage - then they are of the flesh in that case. Again, as with the "ideal" singleness issue, I think this view of half-honesty being the norm before marriage represents a fundamentally flawed view of the pre-marriage state and its purpose, and thus also should cause you to rethink what you have said on trust before marriage as it relates to prenuptial agreements as well.

Originally posted by non dignus
I don't think that having a pre-nup is an especially good idea. But there are marriages (not all marriages have the same characteristics) where it would be a device for less uncertainty and could possibly mitigate the trauma of separation.
Take this principle to its logical extent, applied to other areas as well. We all know from experience that the visible Church and its particular denominations and congregations are fallible, and in many potential ways as well. Thus, should a committed believer perpetually continue as a mere attender of his congregation without ever becoming a member his whole life, since he realizes the elders of that congregation could fall into deception and could then abuse their authority over him as a member to discipline him unjustly? By the very logic you are using with prenuptial agreements between a man and a woman, a person could serve, learn and fellowship well at a church his whole life without ever becoming a member, and after all, refraining from membership would keep the elders from abusing their power to unjustly discipline him should they ever fall into deception or unfaithfulness.

Originally posted by non dignus
BTW Is any sort of autonomy destructive to marriage? Your argument might buttress the idea that women should not earn money in the marriage thereby giving them independance and an easy way out.
I basically see this as a straw-man of what I am (and other are) saying about marriage and the role trust biblically plays in relation to it. Should a woman earn money in the marriage from the beginning with any of the motive or reason for doing so being back-up for her in case her husband might possibly become unfaithful someday? Absolutely not. But women can biblically earn money in a marriage without that motive or even consideration being anywhere on the radar screen whatsoever.
Chris,
Thank you for engaging me. I did not mean that singleness is the ideal. I meant that if we pursued the ideal fully in order to get married we would perhaps never marry because the standard would be too high. I'm sorry I was unclear on that.

Regarding truthfulness in courtship: I'm not talking about outright fraud. I'm talking about the normal way we conduct ourselves in pursuing a spouse. We put our best foot forward. We don't emphasize our shortcomings and divulge all our sins. Perhaps I was using hyperbole when I said we only HALF-know them. The reality is when we say 'I do' we don't know that person 100%. And that is what makes marriage fun.

But within every marriage there are different degrees of autonomy. The less autonomy there is, the more fulfilling the relationship. We retain a certain autonomy when we join a church. However, we have boundaries that the elders may not cross. The cults would be an example of a social construct with improper boundaries. Your analogy equates the pre-nup with refraining from joining the church. Perhaps it's like a written agreement whereby if one is excommunicated one is quaranteed some former condition pre-dating membership. Of course that deal would be off.

But marriage, while sacred, is also in the civil category. The political element is real and all realities should be addressed. (I'm not arguing that a pre-nup is essential, but only an option) If one or both cannot marry without some quarantee, wouldn't it be better to marry rather than stay single? I'm thinking of older people.

Did I raise a strawman proper? Or was I making a useful comparison to see differences and similarities. The woman's motive for making the money is irrelevant. The end result of a separate account makes a condition where leaving would be easier. The pre-nup also would make leaving easier. But neither one should be construed as planning a divorce. They both make good financial sense in moderation motivated by love.

That sounds contradictory, however the motive for a pre-nup could be one of selfless pragmatism since we are living in a fallen world, making covenants with fallen people. The focus of the agreement may be for the welfare of children and not even address the the rights of the couple. Conceivably they could agree that if the marriage dissolves, all assets would proceed to charity as an incentive to stay together.

I stand by my assertion that not having a pre-nup IS a pre-nup. "Our pre-nup is that we are at the mercy of God should we fail." Then if there IS a de facto pre-nup what's wrong with ammendments?

Insurance gives security against things that are beyond our control and things that are against our sincerest desires.
 

Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by C. Matthew McMahon
Does Christ have a pre-nup with His bride the Church?

We call that Arminianism, or Pelagianism.
:D Why should He? He sanctifies and regenerates them.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by C. Matthew McMahon
Does Christ have a pre-nup with His bride the Church?

We call that Arminianism, or Pelagianism.
Agreed. That would be unthinkable.

The kingdom is already and not yet. I am working from the not yet side.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by joshua
The husband should love the wife as Christ loved the Church, which means without reciprocation, without condition, without exception.
What if the wife wants a pre-nup?
 
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