Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it wrong to ask for a prenuptial agreement? I have been though a bad divorce, and have no way to earn back my assets now at 64.
I grieve that you are 64 years old and have lost everything. I imagine that the upcoming retirement years look scary to you. I’m so sorry. A prenuptial agreement may well have protected you from losing all of your money.
As you know, a marriage is a contract between two people. It’s all right to come to mutual agreement regarding its terms before getting married.
Many marriages do succeed and last for a lifetime. Loving and committed people need no prenuptial agreement. But of course, we never know until later whether or not their love and commitment will stand the test of time.
Some people feel that asking for a prenuptial agreement means that you’re not fully in love and committed to your soon to be husband or wife. I don’t believe that’s necessarily true.
Others say that the prenuptial agreement takes all the romance out of the relationship. I guess that depends on the couple.
It is not wrong to ask for a prenuptial agreement.
In fact, consider that it may be one of the wisest decisions you’ll ever make.
Let’s consider several reasons why it’s good to make a prenuptial agreement.
First, consider protecting your children’s inheritance.
A prenuptial agreement can protect the future inheritance of your children.
Proverb 13:22: “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.”
One of the saddest things I ever saw was a 66-year-old widower with four adult children. Less than one year after his wife died he remarried. Several children never even met the new wife. Two years later he died. His new wife got all the money. His children got nothing.
Had he signed a prenuptial agreement he could’ve ensured that his children received their just inheritance.
He could have left some to his new wife with the bulk of his money going to his children.
He might even have had enough to give to his grandchildren!
Solomon: “It is the responsibility of the parents to save up for their children—not children for their parents.”
Second, it is imperative that we make wise biblical decisions regarding our money.
According to the Bible it is incumbent upon us to handle our money well. Refusing to sign a prenuptial agreement may one day “tie our hands” and we may find that our money is no longer in our control and instead being used by people in ways that we never intended.
“A fool and his money are soon parted.” -Thomas Tusser
Proverb 27:23-24: “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever...”
We don’t traffic in flocks and herds today! If he were writing today Solomon would not say, “flocks and herds”, he’d talk about money, stocks and investments.
The point is that we are to know our resources and protect them carefully because they won’t last forever.
You mentioned that you been through a miserable divorce and apparently have lost your resources during the proceedings. Don’t ever let that happen to you again.
Third, protect your money from retirement disaster.
Proverb 30:25: “Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.”
We are often told to put some savings for retirement aside from every paycheck. It breaks my heart when I see people withdraw money from their retirement accounts to use for some present needs. They never catch up financially.
It is unwise to put your retirement funds at risk by failing to secure a prenuptial agreement.
Fourth, “But we’re in love; our marriage will last forever!”
It should. That’s God’s design. But who are we kidding here? From my research, about 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. The failure rate for second marriages approaches 78 percent. I suppose these statistics explain why so many younger and senior couples are eschewing marriage for cohabiting. What a shame!
Don’t misunderstand me a prenuptial agreement does not preclude the sharing of basic living expenses like the cost of food and rent, entertainment, furniture, vacations, etc.
It’s quite all right to keep money in a joint checking account.
Of course, there are times when disaster, loss of job, sickness, hurting children, and so forth demand that we use every last dollar for the sake of our spouse.
God’s intention is one man and one woman for a lifetime “sharing everything” (Genesis 2:18).
It is a matter of prayer between you and God and your spouse-to-be. But when it comes to protecting your money for your future needs, or for your heirs, a prenuptial agreement takes out much of the risk and still allows you to control your hard-earned resources.
Well, Donita, I hope some of these thoughts are helpful to you as you think about your future and plan for the present.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese.His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.