Editor’s note: This post was originally published last month, but we are reposting in light of the news of Justin Bieber refusing to get a prenuptial agreement prior to his marriage to Hailey Baldwin.
The relationship is serious. The word “marriage” is now used freely by both of you. Everything seems perfect.
But then your spouse introduces a new word to your relationship’s vernacular—prenup. And the world suddenly stops. Is it right? Is it wrong? You’re not sure what to think. All you know is you’re filled with questions and, for some reason, a sense of hurt.
So what is a prenup? Prenup is short for prenuptial agreement. This is a mutually agreed upon contract by couples prior to marriage. The contract lays out what happens to the couple’s assets (money and possessions) should they divorce. Who gets the house? Who gets the car? How will the money be divided? All of these questions are answered in the prenup.
Put “prenup” in your search browser, and you will find numerous articles touting the benefits of these agreements. Many will strongly encourage you to get one, whether you have much or little. They reason that such conversations are much easier prior to marriage, when you are “in love,” than during a divorce.
So, should you get one? And why are you suddenly hit with a sense of hurt? You were not going to marry for the money anyway.
God’s design for marriage
I have heard marriage compared to a pair of scissors. Two blades are united in a way that is never intended to separate. There are times when the blades may go in separate directions, but this pulling away does not allow the scissors to operate as intended. Scissors only work when both blades are brought together in unison. In unison is when scissor experience the fullest of their design.
God’s design for marriage is that two become one. You first see this in Genesis 2:24. Paul reveals the depths of this oneness in 1 Corinthians 7:4. God takes that which is most personal to us, our own bodies, and declares that even that is no longer our own. It is our spouse’s. Everything is to be one. There is no “my.” There is no “yours.” In marriage, everything is “ours.” God wants us to fervently chase oneness in our marriages.
What a prenup communicates
A good friend of mine once told me that everything communicates something to somebody. And it’s true. We are constantly communicating. So what can the decision to use a prenuptial agreement communicate?
1. There is distrust in the relationship.
A prenup is a protective mechanism. This should immediately raise the question, “From what are they or you trying to protect?” The answer to that question often boils down to distrust. You don’t fully trust them, or they don’t fully trust you. And if you are the person who is not deemed fully trustworthy, it can hurt. You hurt because there is a part of their life they are not completely comfortable placing in your hands.
2. Someone thinks the marriage might not last.
It may be you. It may be them. It may be both. One of the primary reasons couples get a prenup is because they think the marriage might not last. They look at the divorce statistics and think, “That could be us.” So they go ahead and write the ending to their marriage’s story before it ever starts. The marriage begins with a couple that is clearly uncertain as to whether or not the marriage will last.
3. Someone is not all in.
In marriage, our bodies are not our own. If our bodies are not our own, certainly our finances and possessions are not our own. A prenup can communicate that someone is not all in, that they are not going to pursue the type of oneness the Bible portrays. There will always a be piece that is “mine” or “yours,” instead of “ours.”
What do I do?
What do you do if a prenup has already entered the relationship conversation? Well, you don’t need to totally bail on the relationship just yet. Consider pushing pause and start asking some tough questions. Is there distrust in the marriage? Is one of you thinking that the marriage might not last? Is someone not all in?
Identify the issue that is preventing you both from pursuing oneness in your future marriage and start dealing with the issue. Consider inviting the guidance of a godly, mature couple in your church. Or maybe talk to a biblical counselor to help you think through any challenges that are present in the relationship. Hopefully, by working together, you will overcome whatever challenges are before your relationship.
Should you get a prenup? It is a question that many will immediately answer with a “yes” because of the independent, individualistic and divorce-prone culture in which we live. But individualism, independence and divorce are not included in God’s plan for marriage. His plan includes togetherness, dependence and oneness until death do us part.
Should you get a prenup? It is a question that should create more questions.
Art Rainer is the author of The Marriage Challenge, The Money Challenge and the forthcoming kids series The Secret Slide Money Club. He also hosts a growing podcast called The Money Challenge.