Not a hill to die on.
Dave and I didn’t have a written prenuptial contract, but we did have a few things that mattered to both of us. We talked about those and have kept those “prenuptials”.
For starters, I grew up on Honey Maid Graham Crackers. Standing in the grocery store a few weeks before we were married, I told Dave, “If I ever send you to the store for graham crackers, this is the only brand you should bring home.” Dave has faithfully kept that promise.
Dave has opinions about soups. The only brand he wants me to buy is Campbell’s soups. He stands in the grocery aisle and shakes the soup cans to prove his point. “See how this one has so much more liquid in it? It’s not worth the money. Now this one,” he shakes the Campbell’s soup can, “is solid. Only buy this brand.” For the most part, I’ve obliged. There are times, however, when I’m fixing a meal for a lot of folks – that I slip a few generic cans in with Campbell’s.
He’s also firm on Mayonnaise. There is only one brand: Duke’s. Sometimes, I’ve bought another brand when it’s on sale and I’m making potato salad (which he never eats), but for his sandwiches, there’s only one brand in the fridge: Duke’s.
A promise made should be kept
The one prenuptial I promised Dave has to do with integrity. I broke that promise once and confessed to him shortly afterwards.
“When you are hurt or upset with me, promise me you’ll come talk to me about it first. After that, I don’t care if you broadcast it on the radio or put it in the paper. Just tell me first and give me a chance to fix it,” he said.
Dave went on to explain that he knew many women who talked about their spouse with friends while their husbands were clueless. The husband never have a chance to correct his mistake before the friends of the spouse know all about it.
“I don’t want that to happen in our marriage,” he said.
I didn’t want that, either, and I promised I’d always talk to him first. There were times I told him, “I’m only telling you this because I really want to talk to ___ about this but I promised I’d tell you first.”
You know something? By the time I told Dave about my frustration, I didn’t need to tell anyone else.
One time, in a conversation with another women, a topic came up. She told me about her frustration with her spouse, and I mentioned to her the same irritation I had with Dave. When I got home that day, I remembered that promise and I realized I had never talked to Dave about this irritation. I can’t remember the irritation today, but I remember my shame in not keeping that promise. I remember especially Dave’s willing forgiveness.
That “prenuptial” agreement kept me from talking to others before I talked to Dave. It is one of the best boundaries for our marriage.
The most important prenuptial
When there is commitment and integrity, a prenuptial is not necessary. The very idea that a couple needs to plan in case the marriage fails is a recipe for failure. Choose the most important prenuptial and you won’t need to sign a contract. Instead, you’ll make a vow before God and the witnesses at your wedding ceremony to work together, walking each other Home.
The most important prenuptial is ’til death do us part.
It takes two to make a marriage work. A marriage where both parties believe in and practice this important prenuptial is a marriage focused on what is important and right. It will withstand the test of time.
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