Over the last month, I have been watching a reality TV show. This show is quite ridiculous at times but, I find it strangely entertaining. It’s about some “housewives,” half of whom are not even married. Also, from the looks of it, all the women make way more money than their counter parts. Yep, the “housewives” all work! They have each required that their man sign a prenuptial agreement prior to saying “I do.” On the most recent episode, it looked like the wedding of one of the non-married couples may even be called off because, the man hadn’t signed this prenup. It got me wondering why our culture is so into the idea of legalized relationship negotiations. I also wonder what effect they have. Is this beneficial or harmful to the actual marriage itself? Let’s take a look at what a prenuptial agreement is and weigh the pros and cons.
According to Prenuptial Agreements.org a prenup is “a loving contract” between two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together.” It goes on to say that it’s not an “exit strategy” but rather an “insurance policy” for the marriage contract. It’s a contract on the contract…because, it says, “marriage is a contract.” I found out that prenups vary slightly depending on the laws of the state in which a couple gets married. These agreements are not entitled to cover such topics as child custody or illegal activity but, they may include asset division, responsibility for debt and even financial obligations during the marriage.
Here are the pro’s, in my opinion. If your primary concern is making sure that there is a clear division of theirs/mine then a prenup is great business benefit. It mostly seems to cover every angle you can think of when it comes to money. The other good thing I discovered in my meditation on this topic, is that you get to negotiate the terms of a divorce with out the nasty attitude of a jaded person, that seems to appear at the time of an actual divorce. In other words, because you are agreeing upon divisions with the person while you actually emote love and kindness toward them, it avoids an irrational, bitter divorce. The other good thing about the prenup is that it gets the couple to think about what they think about finances, debt and how to manage it.
On the other hand, can one really say that this is a loving contract? A contract is simply business…there is no love in it nor, a lack of love. It’s simply me looking out for my best interest. I have a contract on a contract. It’s called gap insurance and car insurance. It makes me feel safe and assured. I know if something happens to my car, I will be able to get any damages fixed or my car will be replaced. I think a prenup is our attempt to protect our hearts from unnecessary damages. The problem with this is that you can’t enter into a relationship trying to protect yourself. And secondly, if your heart is mostly concerned with money…then you have bigger problems than any prenup can fix.
To wrap this conversation up, I would like to share about a recent experience I had. I had the opportunity to go to the 25th wedding anniversary of a very special couple. They renewed their vows by the same pastor who married them so many years ago. One of the profound things that the officiating pastor said, is that the ring is a “symbol of unending commitment.” This explains why marriage is a covenant…not a contract. According to Purposefullydifferent.com a covenant is where one party agrees to hold up their end of the deal, regardless of whether the other party does or not. If more people had this covenant mindset then the divorce rate would not be as high as it is and perhaps we would think a little more critically about the person we choose to enter covenant with rather than jumping into “business” deals with people and ending the relationship upon breach of contract. The idea of a prenuptial agreement being insurance of anything regarding relationship is as faulty as the idea of the show being about “housewives” whom work and are not married.