Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Pre-Nuptial Before The Nuptials (Part 1)

It is a topic that appears to be taboo in the Christian sect. Women don't wish to speak on the matter these days because most have not come to the point of being the major bread winner in the household. It is also taught to women that such a contract would cause for divorce to be eminent.

A pre-nuptial agreement was created to protect his assets if the marriage doesn't work out. If she has grown accustomed to a certain life style and would he have been able to provide for such the lifestyle if it weren't for her? A question that is argued over and over again. Most of the time the woman loses. Her identity and what she has done as his wife is then valued. With his well paid lawyers, her worth is evaluated with no consideration to what she went through with her soon to be ex. In the end, she has a pittance of what she is due and he can pick up and start a new while she (usually with children) will have to struggle to come out even (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV). This is why the topic of a pre-nuptial is taboo in the church and the precursor for a divorce.

But what if the pre-nuptial agreement were created to protect the woman and her children? Why not make it a good thing to keep a marriage sealed rather then break it apart? Who would be opposed to that? A woman wouldn't oppose it unless in her heart she was already planning to leave. A man, who is more like Christ would do all he could to ensure the protection and safety of his family, including finances - right? It really sets it all out there, doesn't it (Matthew 7:16-20 AMP)? Let's look at the matter from a variety of perspectives before making up your mind what to do?

This subject reminds me of an interview Oprah Winfrey had on 60 Minutes, the popular new magazine, way back in the 80's. There she was sitting with her long time boyfriend, Stedman Graham. The question about her finally marrying became a cliche. Though earlier in her career, the subject of marriage held such importance on her show. Stedman was a guest one time and Oprah had the whole audience ask, "when are you going to marry her?" Stedman was quite calm when saying something to the effect of, "Oprah and I have an understanding. Not you or anyone else will pressure me in doing something that I am not ready to do." The camera switched quickly to focus on Oprah's reaction. She looked as if the comment took the wind out of her sail. The subject of marriage was no longer the headline as it use to be. In fact, on that 60 Minute interview, Oprah had grown in many ways. Her confidence had out shined the need she use to have to be married as she answered the interviewer's inquiry. Stedman sat very close to her at the ready for any question. The commentator then asked what everyone else viewed as ancient history and looked to have caused a sour taste in Oprah's mouth. It was the marriage question. Stedman looked at Oprah as she attempted to answer. He was more then likely awaiting for the pause and then she would say something like, "its not me. I am waiting on him." Only this time Stedman wasn't off camera listening or at home seated on a couch or at his office desk. Stedman was right there seated close by. His arm was around her and he was smiling. Was everyone thinking the same thing I was? Is he going to ask this time? Does he have the ring in his pocket? He was smiling like he was about to do it - propose?! But Oprah didn't allow for that door to be opened again. She refused the disappointment and embarrassment. She simply looked at the commentator and said, "if he doesn't sign the pre-nupt, there won't ever be a wedding anytime soon." The sail Stedman was flying on just got yanked and the sour taste Oprah masked had switched residence. There was such an awkward silence before going to commercial. When returning back to the interview, Oprah preceded alone. It was powerful! She was poised, professional, and poignant, without one Freudian slip. The absence of Stedman from the final segment spoke volumes. In the Christian arena, it had a strange affect which was flipped to mean something else. Over the years Oprah's thoughts on marriage changed. 

Years later, the author of the novel, "Waiting to Exhale", Terry McMillian had something similar happen. She also fell in love with a man and was eager for him to marry her. She, however, did not ask for a pre-nuptial agreement to be signed. Shortly after the vows were exchanged he decided to come out of the closet. She was livid. They agreed to divorce. It was then that she received a complaint to award her ex husband with spousal support. In the complaint it was explained that he had grown accustomed to a certain life style that she provided and he was not willing to give that life style up. He actually had a case. It took 5 years before they came to a resolve. 

With both of these incidences made public, everyone had an opinion of what should and shouldn't have been done. From Ms. McMillian being a cougar to Oprah allowing the relationship to have such a long root with no specific direction. Everyone had become an expert on everyone else. It made for some interesting and insightful discussions. The compelling part was that not too many men would engage on the topic. Why? Its two different perspectives. Which side would you rally to? Could you understand what Oprah did on the 60 Minutes interview and why? Can you empathize with Terry McMillian? Did Stedman have a point or was he using Oprah for his own gain? Was Terry McMillian's husband a boy-toy or was he brilliant in taking advantage of the situation? The men said nothing - nothing that I know of.

I wondered of this silence men have. In biblical times, the women weren't allowed to speak in church or have a place in ministry (1 Corinthians 14:34 AMP). The women were told if they have a question to ask their husbands once they got home from services. Why? Could this direction stem from the blame the woman received from the fall of man? Did men blame the women for the world being in a state of sin? There are ministries even now that won't allow the women to speak. I attended a church that was serving communion that Sunday. When it came time for that service, the elders of the church were served, then came the deacons, and then the wives and male sons of the elders and deacons. The male laypersons were served last. Who would be left? The single females and their children (if any). I waited and even asked the person that invited me. She was considering joining the ministry. When I asked her what was going on, she was quick to shush me for inquiring. I, she, or any of the women in our row never received the communion. I never returned to that ministry. I didn't care who the guest speaker was. What were the men thinking? How could the decision to ostracize any portion of the congregation be an act of love? Why were the women tolerating such treatment? Did this ministry believe that the woman was the reason for the fall of man too? Even if they do, what does it have to do with today? Jesus lives!

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