September 8, 2010

Jesus Never Demanded a Prenup

 I’VE ALWAYS TOLD MYSELF THAT IF EVER I MARRY, IT WILL BE BECAUSE OF ?love. There will be other factors, but I consider them insignificant in comparison to love.
Now, I don’t mean the fanciful love that we see in movies or hear about in songs. It will be the love that Jesus’ disciple Paul talks about: that patient, kind, giving love. It will also be the love that allows faith to be expressed, as Galatians 5:6 tells us.
Recently, in one of my English language classes in Moscow, a fellow missionary and I taught the students the meaning of the term “prenuptial agreement.” As we explained it to them I realized just how much I thought that together “love” and “prenuptial agreement” is an oxymoron. Evidently people feel that a prenuptial agreement is a way to guard themselves against the unpredictable and, for many, the inevitable. I have no problems with a prenuptial agreement, but just don’t use it in the same sentence with “love,” because it strives to negate an important aspect of love—trust.
2010 1530 page31When you love others, you’re trusting them, putting faith in them. You’re saying, “I don’t know if you’ll hurt me in the end, but I trust you.” And there’s more. You’re also saying, “I don’t know if you’ll return my love, but I trust you.” And there’s even more. It’s by faith that love thrives. It’s by faith expressed in love that Ruth journeyed to a strange land with Naomi. It’s by faith expressed in love that Abraham climbed Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son. It’s by faith expressed in love that Jesus came to earth and died for us. Faith is an important component of love.
God didn’t have us sign a prenuptial agreement when He asked us to marry Him. In fact, the Bible is filled with stories of how trusting God’s love is. His lovers were adulterous, and still He pursued them. Can you imagine a man taking back a woman who cheated on him repeatedly? Well, this is the story that God had Hosea tell His chosen people, the story of His love for them. What would compel anyone to do this? Insanity? Maybe, but even madness loses patience. But love, true love, never does. And even when experience tells us that some people will deceive us again, we trust them still because we love them. Trust is intrinsic to love.
Jesus didn’t demand a prenuptial agreement from Adam and Eve when He created them, even though He knew there was a chance they would sin and break their relationship with Him. So why did He bother to create them at all? He was bound by love.
You can’t say you love someone but not be willing to give more than you get. Love gives and gives, even if it loses. When Jesus came to earth, I doubt He made a prenuptial agreement with God that said, “Well, if they don’t believe Me, I won’t have to die. We all get to keep what we had before. They keep their sins, and I’ll keep My glory.” No! He came with full knowledge that He would endure scorn and shame and betrayal—and yet He loved!
In actuality, prenuptial agreements protect only physical properties, which are temporary anyway. So in essence, they protect you from nothing. If ever a relationship comes to an end, the prenup will be there to guarantee you get that car you drove before you met him or her. But does it protect your heart?
You give a part of yourself away in every relationship you form with someone, good or bad, especially in intimate relationships. And whether you have realized it or not, you’ve given a part of your heart, as well. No prenup says anything about returning hearts.
If we are to love, we should love like Christ, who spared nothing and loved us even unto death. 
Krystal Green is a student missionary from Andrews University teaching English in Russia. This article was published September 9, 2010.