June 16, 2021

What Is A Marriage Covenant?

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Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and let it serve as a witness between us. Genesis 31:44

Did you know that some of the earliest written documents were marriage covenants? Since very early in human history, people have recognized that unless something is publicly recorded and witnessed, we tend to forget terms of agreements. Yet a marriage covenant goes beyond recording terms of an agreement.

Covenants are agreements that are meant to last for life. That is part of why the traditional Episcopal wedding ceremony includes the words, “till death do us part.” In Biblical tradition, covenant marriage agreements are blessed by God. Marriage agreements that honor God have the advantage of a divine component, beyond a contractual agreement between two people. God is very serious about covenants, often affirming that His part of a covenant with people is “everlasting” (Genesis 9:16).

A covenant sounds very serious to those of us who admit that the temperature of our hearts is subject to change. How can we pledge ourselves until death, knowing that feelings and circumstances can change? First, covenants shouldn’t be rushed into. Don’t think of marriage as something to try on for size. Before even dating, we should gauge whether we are interested in a more serious commitment.

Even so, marriage holds unknowns. In a covenant, what the Bible calls a “cord of three,” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) you are not alone, even when you’re at odds with your partner. When God is a part of your covenant, you can rely on Him for strength to honor your commitment because your covenantal marriage is His idea.

 

Resource reading: Exodus 6:4-5