Monday, January 10, 2011

Pre-nuptial Agreement

While having a conversation with good friends the other day about their upcoming marriage, we fell upon the topic of pre-nuptial agreements.  Both my friend and his fiancee mentioned that they needed to get in contact with a lawyer who could assist them in setting one up.

Quite aside from their reasons for wanting to do so (which shocked me very much), I was disturbed by the very concept of a pre-nuptial agreement.  It seems to assume from the get-go that the arrangement (one can hardly call it a marriage) will come to an end before either individual does.  In other words, it will not last, and both parties are trying to protect themselves from damage if (or more accurately, when) the relationship dies.

Contrast this with the Christian idea of marriage.  Note that I am not speaking of a marriage between two Christians, but of marriage as what the Church understands it to be.  This relationship is indissoluble, therefore, assuming it will or could end is absurd from the outset.  There are not two pieces that could be put back into their original condition again, but one single piece that if separated would mean the annihilation of not only the new single piece, but destruction of any form of the originals also.  If it helps, think of marriage like a nuclear fusion.  Each is individual before the fusion, but after the process, one cannot speak of there being two molecules joined, but only a single one.  To destroy that single one in an attempt to recover the originals will leave you with a soup of sub-atomic particles that may reform into atoms again, but not the original atoms you began with.

Secondly, in a Christian marriage, you give all of yourself.  To not do so is to not really have a Christian marriage at all.  You must open yourself completely to your spouse.  This, by its very nature, is a dangerous thing to do.  Any time that you reveal something of yourself to another, you risk being betrayed by them: being hurt, being cheated, lied to, etc.  This means that in a Christian marriage, you are making yourself completely vulnerable.  You have entrusted everything you have to another, knowing that this could end badly.  However, you are also entrusted with all of your spouse, and their hope that you will not betray them either.  Without this intention of total trust, and the attempt to have it go both ways, a marriage cannot be made.  If you intend to keep something back, a possession or habit that you would hoard for only yourself, then you are stating that you would rather remain an individual with a loose attachment to another individual.  You do not intend to be married.

It may help to remember that marriage is supposed to be analogous to our relationship with God.  He has already stated his intention to give us everything, to give us even Himself.  Our Christian life is an attempt to do the same in return, to give our very self back to God, completely and without reservation.  There is nothing that we can hold back, nothing that we can state is ours and that God has no business poking in.

As always, I may be missing something.  Any other thoughts on the subject?

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