Question: "What is a covenant marriage?"
Answer: A covenant marriage is an alternative marriage license. The laws covering covenant marriage vary from state to state. Covenant marriage differs from a standard marriage contract in that the covenant partners are required to attend pre-marital counseling and would have to wait two years before a divorce can be filed. In addition, a covenant marriage license could not be absolved with a “no fault” cause. The conditions for divorce would be abuse, adultery, long term separation, or a felony conviction. Again, the laws for covenant marriages vary because they are legislated by the states.
Covenant marriage legislation supporters believe that this type of marriage would decrease the divorce rate; thus, the family unit would once again be a strong foundation for our society. Proponents claim a marriage that discourages easy divorces would hold the individuals more accountable to their partners and lead to fewer broken homes.
Opponents of covenant marriage contend it is based on religion and therefore is a violation of separation of church and state. Furthermore, there have been reports from people in covenant marriages that it was almost impossible to get a divorce because they could not prove grounds with evidence of abuse or adultery.
While the legislation for covenant marriage was originally to decrease divorce rates, the word “covenant” is a word used to describe a contract made not only with man, but with God. From a biblical perspective, marriage is a union of man and woman before God (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:6). This is true of any marriage, whether or not the marriage certificate mentions it. The Bible says that divorce is sin unless there is adultery (Matthew 5:32) or an unbelieving spouse leaves the believing spouse (1 Corinthians 7:10-15).
Society’s definition of marriage and divorce is not the cause for the high divorce rate. That is caused by people rejecting the truth of Scripture and choosing to follow their own way rather than follow God. A law most likely won’t change how people value marriage. We value what God values when our hearts are changed and this only occurs when we place our trust in God so we are in agreement with Him (Hebrews 4:12).
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