More thoughts on marriage not being a financial transaction

By Stew

On Wednesday, I posted a rant about how our culture sometimes makes the mistake of defining marriage in financial terms. We commit our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually, but we keep the finances separate – just in case things do not work out. I think that this undercuts the purpose and plan of marriage.

Let me discuss the topic further by using the example of Katrina who was so kind as to leave a comment on the article. She suggested that a prenuptial agreement:

should be used to protect your soon-to-be spouse from any debts you have going into a marriage. Some states allow creditors to go after your spouse upon your death for debts created prior to the marriage. I have quite a bit of student loan debt, as does my boyfriend. While neither of us have the intention of dying prior to paying them off, things do happen. I’ve been with my boyfriend for over 3 years now, and we have spoken of marriage. He is in agreement with me that any debt we have going into marriage should be listed in a prenup, even though we plan on combining finances once we’re married.

Katrina’s comment had more to it and I suggest that you click back to the original article if you would like more of the context. I have to admit that the scenario that Katrina outlines does give me some pause regarding my blanket condemnation of all prenuptial agreements. I am curious about which states allow a creditor to pursue a bereaved spouse for debts incurred by one who had passed on. I do not doubt the accuracy of Katrina’s assertion, but I marvel at the cynicism of such a law.

But do I think that this situation is an exception to my rejection of all prenuptial agreements? I took a long time to think about this and my answer is . . . no. This is a tough stand to take and I might be splitting hairs, but when dealing with important topics in Scripture, I think that the simplest, most straightforward answer is usually the best. Let me quote from Mark 10 as part of the argument for my stance:

Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female’. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Biblical marriage is taking two people and making them one, no matter the circumstances. There are times when biblical commands do not make legal, financial or even practical sense, but I trust that He will bless when we obey.

Article by Stew

Photo by LoopZilla

7 Responses (including trackbacks) to “More thoughts on marriage not being a financial transaction”

  1. Mami2jcn Says:

    I subscribed to your RSS Feed via email for the GRABBBR contest.

  2. Mami2jcn Says:

    I subscribed to your newsletter for the GRABBBR contest.

  3. Kristia Says:

    After reading both posts, from a biblical stand point I agree with you. I also think Katrina makes a very valid point. Marriage is many things to many different people. Unfortunately, financial debt is a common denominator that has the potential to ruin every marriage. That being said, finances should definitely be addressed prior to getting married; however, shouldn’t be the determining factor. Credit checks and things of that nature is taking it a bit to far, unless both individuals are doing it together to see what their financial status is at the moment and setting financial goals from there.

  4. Joe Says:

    OK, I give. I’m unsubscribing. I subscribed to get financial advice, not getting someone’s interpretation of biblical pasages and passing judgement on people. Shame on you.

  5. Stew Says:

    Sorry to hear that, Joe, but it is a blog with a Bible verse in the title afterall and there are sometimes more important factors than money to consider when dealing with life issues.

  6. Katrina Says:

    I can appreciate your decision on a prenup, which is based on your own personal experience & situation. My concern stems from my family medical history, and the wacky ways states like to write in loopholes.

    The states in question (ones that might combine debt before a marriage) are community property states – CA, AZ, TX, NV…I know there are more, but those are the ones I have lived in. Some of the laws are written so that debts acquired before a marriage are excluded, but most of the laws are written so that joint ownership (of all assets and debts) is assumed by the state, unless you can prove otherwise. From what I have heard/read, the only acceptable proof is the creation of “non-community property”, although it depends on the individual state. The other downside to a community property state regards assets bought during the marriage. Even if only one person’s name is on the asset, a debtor can still sue to recover the loss, as each person “technically” owns half.

    I grew up in Pennsylvania – these laws seem punitive to me. Anything I can do to protect my partner is something I feel is my responsibility to explore.

  7. Pam McCormick Says:

    Okay I read both posts…First let me say this is why I am grateful there is a seperation of church and state.Here is what has worked for me, seperate.I have been married 33years,have owned 2 houses-paid off,paid for 1 child to grow up,paid for college(undergrad and grad)wedding,paid off 2 cars and that is what I accomplished myself besides partnering with my husband on many other endevors, plus usual monthly bills.It may seem strange but I have found we can negotiate on things and come to an agreement if we start by having our money seperate- just like the way you earn it.Then there are all the legal implications.