Good morning friends,
This weekend I had the awesome privilege of speaking at the Winsome Woman’s Conference hosted by Excellent Living and Cheryl Martin, as well as speaking Sunday morning at Louden Bible Church in Louden, Virginia. I was blessed beyond measure by the sweet hospitality and teachable spirits of both groups.
Last week I sent out a newsletter titled, “What Kind of Legacy Are You Leaving?”. If you didn’t receive it, it’s because somehow over 4,000 e-mails addresses were erased from my data base. Not good news. We are currently trying to retrieve this information, but if you want to be sure you’re on my e-mail list, please sign up again on my home page. If the addresses are retrieved, the data base will eliminate duplicates. We just don’t want you to miss anything new that’s coming out.
In the next few weeks, we will have a Pinterest Board on my new book, “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope” (for more information go to http://amzn.to/11YxDRz). I also will be posting weekly videos on my home page starting next Monday with the topic, What’s the difference between a disappointing, difficult and destructive marriage?
Today’s question is from a male reader. He wants to know what’s fair.
Question. I am searching for Biblical truths in regards to an emotionally devastating situation in my marriage of 14 years. In short, my wife has called our marriage to an end if I do not include her name on all assets that I and my forefathers have worked for for the last 100 years. We both are re-married, both had children from previous marriages and we have two children from this marriage. All of my ancestors have passed on, and the legacy of real estate and investments from them plus my life's work remains in my name solely.
My wife feels entitled to tap into these assets for funding her children through school and to purchase cars for them. She feels that the unity of marriage should be one, including all banking accounts and family assets. Does it say in the Bible that love has to be tied in with tangible assets to be true or does love flow to and from freely without strings attached
Answer. It is always a bit more difficult with second marriages when one or both persons bring into the marriage significant assets accumulated before the new marriage that they may want to leave to their biological children or share with siblings from their family or origin. For some couples, a prenuptial agreement is drawn up that spells things out more clearly ahead of time but also provides financial security for the new spouse.
However, you’re asking if the Bible says that love has to be tied with tangible assets to be true. Let me quote it directly. 1 John 3:16,19 says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him. Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
Biblical love is far greater than free flowing positive emotions going back and forth. Biblical love is demonstrated through tangible actions. In other words, Biblical love acts in the other person's best interests, even if it costs you suffering and sacrifice.
For example, a husband gets up in the middle of the night to take care of his sick wife. He does so because he loves his wife more than he loves his sleep and he is willing to sacrifice his sleep to help his wife. He doesn't just say “I love you but don't bother me, I'm sleeping”.
That said, let me ask you what is in your wife's best interests here. What would happen to her if you died unexpectedly? She would not inherit your estate. It would just go to your children. Is that what you want? What would happen to her? Would she be taken care of?
What about her children? Do you love them? Is it in their best interests to provide money for their education? Is it in their best interests to help provide a car? If so, then why are you not offering to do this—generously– since you have the means to do it? God is extravagantly generous with us. He leaves us an example to follow. (There may be reasons why it's not in their best interests right now though. For example, if they're irresponsible or lazy, it would not help them to continue to financially support their laziness and irresponsibility.)
Ask yourself this, is it in your wife and family's best interests to have her name on your family assets? If not, why not? (And there might be some legitimate reasons for this, I don't know.) If so, why are you hesitating? She indeed may feel unloved and unprotected by your resistance and selfishness.
I don’t support your wife giving you an ultimatum by telling you that if you don't put her name on the assets she's ending the marriage, but perhaps she is feeling that you say one thing, like “I love you,” but your actions show something entirely different, like “I love ME and MINE more” If that’s true, that would hurt any woman and make her feel unloved regardless of what you say differently.
Friends, what do you think? What would you do if the situation was reversed and you had the family inheritance and properties? Would you put a second husband’s name on it and share it equally? Why or why not?
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