Lover of Wisdom recently asked my opinion about pre-nups and what the evangelical female consensus is about them…so, Lover of Wisdom, this one’s for you.
Prenups are not a topic that comes up often when I’ve talked with other single Christian women about getting married, but my general feeling is that most single, conservative Christian women do not want a prenup for themselves. They consider prenups an insult to their loyalty and devotion and a sign of no confidence on the man’s part. A man who wants a prenup is a man who believes the union cannot last, may already be looking for a way out, and/or is more interested in himself than in his future bride’s well-being. The average Christian woman does not see a prenup as protection for the man – or for herself.
That said, I think the average single Christian woman might be more tolerant of a prenup if there were a very large disparity of wealth between the future bride and groom. In most marriages, a bazillionaire is not marrying a pauper, as people tend to marry those of similar socioeconomic background – and in doing so, end up marrying someone with a similar attitude toward money (both the making of and management of it), which reduces the likelihood that one sees the other as a love ’em-and-leave ’em get-rich-quick scheme. Additionally, most people tend to marry relatively young, which means that typically neither bride nor groom is at a point in their career where they’re making scads of dough. If both bride and groom are, say, 30 or younger, there’s usually not much of anything to protect.
However, when a very rich person is marrying a very…not-rich person, all sorts of flags of suspicion immediately go up. Since it is not common for people of very disparate economic status to meet and socialize, outsiders start to wonder how they met…why they met…what he sees in her…what she sees in him. The flags go up even faster and harder if the poorer party shows unfavorable signs of being from a lower economic class, such as in manner of dress and comportment. In this sort of case, I think even a church girl would recommend that the richer party get a prenup (if that person is dead set on marrying someone who seems like a bad deal to begin with).
As for myself, I don’t like the idea of a prenup for the reasons stated above. I think it’s bad form for a marriage, which is supposed to be the melding of two lives into one, to start off with each party on opposite sides of a table and armed with lawyers who are seeking the best deal for their clients. (Each party to a prenup should have his or her own lawyer. I would never recommend to any couple to have the same attorney craft their prenup. Hello, conflict of interest. No, besotted couple, your love is not greater than the legal system.) That said, I am not opposed to prenups in principle. If a couple want to have a “contingency plan” in place, that’s their business. In cases of large, inherited wealth, I can even see why anxious parents might urge their son or daughter to get one. But in general, I would counsel any couple wanting a prenup to examine hard their motivations for and expectations about marriage and commitment.