Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prenuptial Agreements or Marriage Vows

"...but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay..." (James 5:12)

I am not against making written agreements with people in whom you may lack compete trust, but I cannot, for the life of me, understand why anyone would want to marry him or her. This may be an indication of either my age, or my common sense. I would be glad to acknowledge either one.

A prenuptial agreement is "a contract between two people about to wed that spells out how assets will be distributed in the event of divorce or death." Most often it involves individuals of financial means (though not always); and therefore, I may not be as sympathetic as others might be, since my husband and I have had enough money through the years to quibble over from time to time, but certainly not enough to warrant taking anyone to law!

The very idea of such an agreement, however, has always seemed to me to be a presumption of failure. And, in any case, vows made before God are far more binding than promises made under threat of civil litigation. For this reason, my husband and I took very seriously our own nuptial vows. As I recall, they went something like this:

"I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to honor till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance, and thereto I plight thee my troth."

Those quaint, long-abandoned, four words, "plight thee my troth," mean to pledge one's faith in solemn agreement. And that's the key: faith. Any vow or agreement is only as good as the good faith of the ones who enter into it. The health, wealth, or temperament of the other is of no consequence. Only the integrity of the two participants is in question. That is what I understood to be the meaning of those words. Therefore, when I entered into the covenant of marriage, my prenuptial vows were post-nuptial, as well. They were "according to God's holy ordinance," and therefore to breach that agreement would involve not only my husband, but also God.

I am blessed that the one with whom I joined in that sacred covenant of marriage all those many years ago, felt the same way; and he is still the sweetheart of my life. I asked him once if he would like for us to "renew" our vows on our fiftieth wedding anniversary, and his reply was, "No, I meant it the first time!"

And so did I.

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