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What does the Bible say about prenuptial agreements?

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Question: "What does the Bible say about prenuptial agreements?"

Although prenuptial agreements are not mentioned in the Bible, God does tell us how we are to view marriage, and from that we can figure how agreements such as “pre-nups” would be viewed. First, God intended marriage to be permanent, lasting as long as both spouses are alive. When two Christian people go into a marriage, it should be with the strong belief that divorce is not an option. To have a prenuptial agreement allows for the possibility of divorce. When God formed Eve from Adam’s rib, He was signifying the purpose of a husband-and-wife relationship. The woman is the man’s helper, taken from under his protective arm and formed from the same flesh. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Obviously, being “one flesh” means that a husband and wife should not even consider separating. The only reason the Law ever allowed divorce was the people’s hard-hearted insistence on divorce as a right (Matthew 19:8). God never changes, and He despises divorce (Malachi 2:16).

The love described in 1 Corinthians 13 should obviate the need for prenuptial agreements. Biblical love is a conscious decision that we are going to do what is best for others the way God always does what is best for us. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7). As Christians, we should be characterized by this kind of love, especially within a Christian marriage. If love “endures through every circumstance” (NLT), then prenuptial agreements are unneeded.

In Ephesians 5, we learn a lot about the roles of a husband and wife in marriage. Husbands are called to love their wives with the same love that Christ showed the church (verse 25)—a love that did not shrink from sacrifice. Wives are to honor their husbands and submit to their leadership (verse 22). Just as Christ will never leave us, a husband should never leave his wife. Husbands should love their wives as they love themselves (verse 28), and wives should respect their husbands (verse 33).The biblical model of marriage teaches the permanence of the union and the necessity of selflessness; prenuptial agreements, by their very nature, cast doubt on the permanence of the union and foster selfishness.

There is no reason for two Christian people, committed to God and each other, to need a prenuptial agreement. Yes, both the husband and wife will sin, but “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). God calls us to forgive each other just as He has forgiven us, but a pre-nup is a plan to not forgive. If two truly become one, shouldn’t the distinction between “yours” and “mine” be eradicated—or at least greatly blurred?

Many in today’s society consider prenuptial agreements to be necessary and that anyone who does not sign one is a fool. But God’s ways contradict the world’s (Luke 16:15; Romans 12:2). Nothing in the Bible supports the idea that a Christian engaged couple should forge a “just in case we get divorced you can’t take my stuff” agreement.

Recommended Resource: Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts, Revised: Seven Questions to Ask Before and After You Marry by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott

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