Marriage Blog: The Pre-nup Mind

“It’s mine!”


It is that familiar phrase yelled by my children.  Every time you hear it, you get annoyed.  The problem is you’re not sure what’s more frustrating: them yelling and screaming or the fact that you remember when you did the same thing.

We were once at the age where we fought with siblings or friends that were invading our space attempting to take something that we felt completely belonged to us.  I can look back and remember my parents responding to the angry rants of me and my sister acting so selfishly.  When you grow up in a mobile home, those fights are hard to keep quiet with such thin walls.

As a parent, we work so hard training our child to learn how to think of others and share what we have.  We want our kids to think of others to respond to the needs of the people in their lives.  At some point, like a snake shedding its skin, we think it is okay to shed what we were raised to do and to live with everything being “mine.” It’s the polar opposite of what we want our children to live. We walk with a sense of entitlement. After all, “it’s mine…I worked hard for it…I earned it…it’s mine.” What we done is we’ve made selfishness acceptable.

What I see in marriages is couples that walk with, what I call, a “pre-nup mind.”

Let me explain.

A “pre-nup” or prenuptial agreement is a contract that a couples agrees to prior to marriage that stipulates who owns what (assets, liabilities) should a divorce occur.  Soon-to-be married couples can outline not only the financial responsibilities of each should there be a divorce, they can also put in writing the expectations of each as far as behavior during the marriage AND what will occur should their expectations not be met.

(Sounds safe doesn’t it? I hate it.  Why? Because a “pre-nup” is a plan for divorce.  It’s getting married with an escape plan.)

Even though couples may have not signed a prenuptial agreement, it doesn’t stop people from walking with a “pre-nup” mindset.

his and hers

“This is MY money.”
“This is MY house.”
“I paid for that.”
“That is MY account.”
“It’s MY business. Why do you care?”
“Don’t worry about it…it’s MY problem?”

When or at what age did selfishness become acceptable?

The “pre-nup mind” creates an atmosphere of selfishness where we lay claim to “stuff.”  We might as well walk around marking our territory.  It can include money (separate accounts for the purpose of MY selfishness), material items (this is YOUR stuff and this is MY stuff), time (this is MY vacation time/day off), emotions/thoughts (I only think/care about ME), and our bodies (it doesn’t matter because I’M not in the mood).  When or at what age did selfishness become acceptable?

There’s a well-known poker term. It’s called “All in.”

All in

To declare “all in” means to bet all of your chips/money on the current hand.  

THIS IS WHAT MARRIAGE IS!!! When I married Anne, I put all of my “chips” in the pot (money, material things, time, thoughts, and affection).  I didn’t keep any “chips” for myself.  Why? Because she’s all in too.   We operate that we because that’s what we see modeled in Christ. 

Philippians 2:5-7 “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

Simply said, Christ laid aside what he was entitled to (he is the Son of God) for the sake of serving humanity and giving everything he had WITHOUT holding anything back.  This is how we should approach our marriage; laying aside ourselves for the sake of the one we’ve come together with. 

Living the “pre-nup” mindset does nothing more than fight against the very nature and design of marriage.  It’s like using a wrench as a hammer; you can operate that way for a while but in the end, you’ve never got the effectiveness you could have, you’ve worked harder than you needed to, and you’ve done more damage than necessary. 

Today, lay down your pride…and everything else.  Erase the lines of “mine” and “yours” and take up the mantel of “ours.” Today, maybe for the first time, toss off the “pre-nup” mind and take on the mindset of Jesus. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

8 responses to “Marriage Blog: The Pre-nup Mind”

  1. P Dave – Great post and thanks for bringing clarity on such an important issue. It is very helpful. Can I still keep my ripped up t-shirts to myself…she does not want them anyway 🙂

    1. I see I’m not the only one dealing with the “ripped up t-shirt” issue.

  2. My sentiments exactly – Pre-nups are a plan for divorce. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Prenups are for people who plan on getting a divorce. Instead, couples should enter marriage with the right attitude by saying: “I have so much, but I’ve never had anyone to share it with. From now on, what’s mine is yours.” This is a better recipe for success than saying this is my money, my house, my stuff..etc.

  4. With all respect, I very much disagree with your stance on how a pre-nup can be so harmful to a marriage. My experience is just the opposite. I think a “yours”, “mine”, and “ours” framework helps to have a happy marriage.

    NOT having a pre-nup helped to CAUSE my divorce (and then make the divorce far worse than it needed to be). And before all that, a pre-nup would have probably (to the good) prevented the marriage in the first place by taking less than honorable motivations off the table.

    Not having a pre-nup does NOT mean you don’t have an in-case-of-divorce “contract”. The absence of a formal pre-nup just means you’re using the default “contract” of your state’s matrimonial laws. And that state law “contract” can result in Alice-in-Wonderland bizarre outcomes. In effect, the state laws “weaponize” the animosity that’s stoked by those very same state laws. Further, the state laws can also encourage underhanded conduct while married.

    I contrast, I think having a pre-nup is a key to a happy marriage. That’s certainly been the case in my new marriage. Honesty is clear cut. Dishonorable motivations are essentially eliminated. And the door is left wide open to do more for your spouse.

    I’ve explained the above in this blog of mine:

    1. Of all thanks for reading the blog.

      I’ll check your blog post out there later. I appreciate your input and like you will have to honorably disagree with ya. I’ve never dealt with a marriage that had a “mine” or “yours” mentality that was healthy. I don’t understand how a marriage to work if you’re not “all in”. Again I appreciate the input and your viewpoint but I respectfully disagree.

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