Doc’s Corner: The Covenant: A Biblical Model for Empowering Your Marriage
In our society there appears to be tension between a covenant framework and a contractual framework for marital and family relationships.
A contract can be broken, but a covenant is to never be broken, as it is a binding agreement, to love unconditionally and sacrificially to the end of one’s earthly life. In our society, many get married based on the contractual conditions to satisfy “self”. It’s living to get and not to give. If these needs are not met or there are difficulties or disappointments, then by virtue of contractual living, one has the right to break their contractual vows. A contract is based on mutual and bilateral terms. If one or the other defaults the contract is broken and is no longer binding.
On the other hand, a covenant is based on a unilateral, unconditional love and commitment. If one or the other defaults, the covenant remains intact through the faithfulness to covenant vows. Contractual living diminishes any depth to one’s commitment level in a marriage.
Vital signs of a covenant love
- Covenant love is a maturing love. It reconciles the illusions of romance and disenchantment in a way that opens our relationships to a vast range of possibilities. This love emerges through the difficulties and challenges of one’s life and marriage, deepening the love and commitment to one another. No matter how difficult the situation, couples will not give up on each other.
“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
- Covenant love is a love based on God’s unconditional love.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:16, 19
- Covenant love is a committed love. Commitment becomes a structure in and of itself which maintains a line of action that makes it difficult to discontinue the commitment even if the other person’s commitment declines. It is an unbroken loyalty regardless of any change, disappointment or conflict that may occur. Covenant love and commitment are non-negotiable.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
- Covenant love is an affirming love. The ability to freely communicate our thoughts and feelings in our relationships that is contingent upon not fearing one another. It puts self aside in an effort to be a blessing to the other. The marriage is meant by God to be an intimate environment where we can be ourselves without fearing rejection.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18
Is your marriage a covenant or a contract?