If you are originally from Arizona, Louisiana, and Arkansas then you might be familiar with the term covenant marriage but if you have just relocated or is planning to move to one of these states, then this term might be new to you. Marriage covenant is also presented in the bible many times as a way to describe marriage so how does covenant marriage differ from the regular marriage that we all know?
What is covenant marriage?
The marriage covenant in the bible was the basis of the covenant marriage that was first adapted last 1997 by Louisiana. From the name itself, it gives solid value to the covenant of marriage so that it will be hard for couples to simply end their marriage. By this time, divorce had been so common that it may have lessen the sanctity of marriage so this is their way of making sure that a couple won’t abruptly decide to divorce without solid and valid reason.
The best covenant marriage definition is the solemn marriage agreement that a couple agrees to sign before they get married. They have to accept the marriage agreement which is to promise that both spouses will do their best to save the marriage and agrees that they will both undergo pre-marital counseling before getting married and if any even may come across problems, they’d be willing to attend and sign up with marriage therapy in order for the marriage to work.
Divorce is never encouraged in such a marriage but is still possible given the circumstances of violence, abuse, and abandonment.
Important information about marriage covenant
Some important information to get familiar to before considering this:
Strict criteria for divorce
The couple who will choose such a marriage will agree to be bounded by 2 distinct rules which are:
o The marrying couple will legally seek pre-marital and marital counseling if problems do develop during the course of the marriage; and
o The couple will only seek a divorce request of nullity of their covenant marriage license based on limited and viable reasons only.
Divorce is still allowed
Divorce is allowed with covenant marriage setting but their laws are strict and will only allow a spouse to file a divorce under certain conditions:
- Commission of a felony
- Abuse of any form to the spouse or their children
- The spouses have lived separately for more than two years
- Drugs or other substance abuse
Additional grounds for separation
Couples may also file for divorce following a given period of separation whereas the spouses are no longer living together and haven’t considered reconciliation for the past two years or more.
Conversion to Covenant Marriage
Married couples who didn’t choose this kind of marriage can opt to sign up to be converted as one but before this happens, the same with the other couples who signed up, they need to agree on the conditions and they have to attend a pre-marriage counseling.
Note that the state of Arkansas doesn’t issue new covenant marriage certificate for couples who are converting.
Renewed commitment with marriage
The covenant marriage vows and laws aim one thing – that is to stop the divorce trend where every couple who experiences trials opt for divorce like it’s a store-bought product that you can return and exchange. This kind of marriage is sacred and should be treated with utmost respect.
Covenant marriages to strengthen marriages and families
Because it’s harder to get a divorce, both spouses are more likely to seek help and counseling thus making it possible to fix any trouble within the marriage. This has increasingly proved to be effective as the number of couples who have signed up with this kind of marriage stayed together longer.
When you are asked if you want to sign up with the regular marriage option or the covenant marriage, you might find yourself a little bit confused about the difference and of course, you’d want to know the benefits of this kind of marriage. Here are some points to consider:
- Unlike traditional marriages, these marriages discourage divorce because it’s a clear disrespect to the covenant of marriage. We all know that when we tie the knot, we just don’t do this out of fun and that when you no longer like what is happening in your marriage that you can immediately file for divorce. Marriage is not a joke and this is what such kinds of marriages want the couples to understand.
- You get the chance to really work things out for the better. Even before you get married, you are already required to attend premarital counseling so you’d already know what you are getting yourself into. A few good tips in pre-marriage counseling can already build a strong foundation for your married life.
- When you’re faced with problems and trials, instead of opting for divorce, the couple would instead do their best to work things out. Isn’t that marriage is all about trying to be the best for your spouse? So in your journey of marriage, you are given a chance to be better together and see how you can grow with your partner.
- It aims to strengthen families. It aims to teach married couples that marriage is a sacred union and no matter how hard trials are, you and your spouse should work together to be better for you and your family.
Understanding marriage is very important. Marriage is a sacred covenant which establishes a life time union between husband and wife where trials are overcome with communication, respect, love, and effort. Whether or not you choose to sign up for a covenant marriage or not, as long as you know the value of marriage and will not use divorce as an easy way out, then you are indeed ready for your married life.