What makes a prenup “Christian?”

Modern American (secular) prenups commonly protect a person with assets from someone without. They are usually self-centered, focusing on how to protect the party with more to lose. Even though couples may promise to love one another until death parts them—with virtually no conditions—there are usually unspoken conditions that underlie those promises, like: so long as you keep a clean house, or so long as you are attentive to me. It is unlikely that even the couple realizes their commitment’s lack of depth. The underlying promise of most prenups (SECULAR) is:

I promise to stay married as long I feel loved. If things don’t work out, then we each take what we came with and return to where we came from.

While not stated outright, the unspoken words eliminate—or at least minimize—the consequences of abandoning the marriage.

You need to ask yourself: Is this the commitment that you expect when you marry? Don’t you want someone who is 100% vested in making your marriage work? The couple entering this type of agreement is not all in. In fact, you might say this is essentially another form of living together.

My Original Christian Prenup Idea:

        I promise to love, honor, and cherish for life. However, if you leave me or cheat on me, I get everything.

All my attorney friends laughed and said, “Nobody would sign that.” But, in truth, isn’t that exactly what Christian couples are promising when they say their vows? As Christians we commit to love, honor, and cherish, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, in triumph and in failure, until death do us part. And then we say: “With this ring I thee wed, and with all my worldly goods, I thee endow.” That is a far cry from the secular prenup that says, “I get to keep my stuff.”

While my original thought captured the seriousness of the commitment, there was one important missing element: personal responsibility. I can only be responsible for one person: me. When Christians marry, they are agreeing to love regardless of how their spouse acts. Further, they are agreeing to love as Christ loved the Church. He died for us because we are sinners, not because we behave well or are lovable. Recognizing that I can only be responsible for my own actions caused me to change the perspective from what my husband does to how I am to love:

Refined Christian Prenup:

 I commit to you and God to love, honor, and cherish you until death parts us. As a sinner, if I lose my way and divorce you without biblical grounds or cheat on you, I will relinquish property rights and provide for you until death.

Ultimately, the difference between the secular prenup and the Christian prenup is the difference between self-centeredness and selflessness. Satan’s goal is for us to focus on ourselves. There is no one-flesh doctrine, no trust, and no commitment. His goal is for you to be alone. God’s goal is for us to become one with Him and with our spouses, trusting Him and committing to love until death. Satan’s plan leads to destruction. God’s plan leads to abundant life.

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