April 24, 2024
Every Detail You Need about Covenant Marriage

Through marriage, two unrelated families get to know each other and even live together. And when we think of marriage, we usually do so under a contract rather than a covenant.

What is a covenant marriage? What are the benefits of this form of marriage? What is the difference between covenant marriage and traditional marriage?

It doesn’t matter! This post will tell you anything that will help you about the covenant of marriage!

What Is a Covenant Marriage?

A covenant marriage meaning is an arrangement in which married couples agree that their marriage will last for the rest of their lives.

According to proponents, the movement seeks to promote and strengthen marriage, reduce the divorce rate, reduce the number of children born out of wedlock, discourage cohabitation, and shape marriage as an honorable and desirable institution.

Before entering into a covenant of marriage, couples must attend a premarital counseling session that “emphasizes the nature, purpose, and responsibilities of marriage” and must sign a statement that “covenant marriage is for life.”

  1. Adultery by one spouse.
  2. One spouse has physically or sexually abused the other spouse or the children.
  3. One spouse commits a felony.
  4. One spouse uses illegal substances.
  5. The spouses have lived apart for one or two years.

Spouses will receive premarital counseling prior to marriage and marital counseling when considering divorce.

How about the Covenant Marriage?

Covenant marriages are designed to reinforce the stability of the marital relationship, but they come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.

What are the advantages?

Strengthened Commitment. The covenant of marriage encourages a deeper level of commitment. Partners agree to put in more effort to make the marriage work and solve problems.

Focus on Conflict Resolution. The requirement for counseling before the divorce can encourage couples to address issues and work towards reconciliation.

Enhanced Stability for Children. The stability that potentially comes from a more durable marriage can benefit children, providing them with a secure family structure.

Shared Values. Couples who choose covenant marriage often share strong religious or moral beliefs about the sanctity and permanency of marriage.

Lower Divorce Rate. Because of the additional hurdles to ending a covenant marriage, there may be a lower divorce rate among such marriages as compared to traditional marriages.

What are the disadvantages?

Limited Freedom. Covenant marriage can be seen as limiting personal freedom. It binds individuals to a commitment even when the relationship may be irreparably damaged.

Potential for Entrapment. Some argue that this kind of marriage could make it more difficult to leave unhealthy or abusive relationships due to the stricter grounds for divorce and mandatory counseling.

Divorce Complications. Divorcing within a covenant of marriage can be a more complex and prolonged legal process than with a traditional marriage.

Geographic Limitations. Covenant marriages are only recognized in a few states, which may cause legal complications if the couple moves to a state that doesn’t recognize the covenant of marriage.

Reduced Flexibility. The requirement for counseling and limited grounds for divorce reduce the flexibility of the couple to respond to unanticipated life changes that may strain the marriage.

What Are the Differences Between Traditional and Covenant Marriage?

Legally speaking, marriage is a contract with certain rights and responsibilities. However, it is still important to distinguish between traditional and covenant marriage:

Traditional Marriage

  • Entry and Exit. Traditional marriages are entered into by obtaining a marriage license and having a marriage ceremony. For divorce, couples can often cite “irreconcilable differences” as a reason, allowing for no-fault divorces.
  • Premarital Counseling. There is no requirement for premarital counseling in traditional marriages.
  • Divorce Grounds. Both fault (e.g., adultery, abuse, abandonment) and no-fault grounds are typically available for couples seeking a divorce in a traditional marriage.
  • Divorce Process. The divorce process can be relatively quick if both parties agree, especially in no-fault divorce cases.
  • Commonality. Traditional marriage is the most common and broadly recognized form of marriage in many jurisdictions.

Covenant Marriage

  • Entry. Couples must first undergo premarital counseling and sign a declaration or statement. It indicates that they intend to enter a marriage with more stringent conditions for separation or divorce.
  • Exit. Couples agree to seek marital counseling if issues arise. They also agree to divorce only on 5 certain grounds above.
  • Divorce Grounds. Couples in a covenant of marriage usually cannot pursue a no-fault divorce and must demonstrate one of the allowed grounds.
  • Divorce Process. Obtaining a divorce in a covenant marriage typically requires a longer period of separation and greater proof of marital breakdown.
  • Availability. Covenant marriage is a legal option only in a few U.S. states (e.g., Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona) and is not as widely recognized as traditional marriage.

Is Covenant Marriage Common in the USA?

It’s almost like a unicorn and very rare. That’s right, only three states currently allow such marriages: Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

In Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county, only 963 of the 119,270 deeded marriage licenses have been recorded in the past five years. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, only 242 contract marriages have been registered statewide in the past five years.

Everyone should be familiar with Mr. Johnson, the conservative congressman from Louisiana. He and his wife, Kelly Johnson, have been in a contractual marriage since 1999.

Ms. Johnson also shared her feelings with us: “We can be emotional creatures, and we like to know for sure it will be for a lifetime. It gives me such peace and security, and that’s the reason we chose to opt into it.”

covenant marriage

Is Covenant Marriage Desirable for Us?

Traditional marriage allows a couple to enter into a marriage by filling out a marriage license. Still, for covenant marriages, which are usually rooted in religious or moral convictions, couples must complete premarital counseling with a pastor or therapist in advance.

I don’t think people enter into covenant marriages because they want a super marriage but because they understand that marriage is fragile. But is covenant marriage desirable for life now?
Actually, I would not recommend it. Because once a contract is signed, it is very, very complicated to get a divorce if you want one.

Mr. Subba says the biggest problem with contractual marriage is that it is very difficult to get a legal divorce. “It’s an enforceable contract, and you have to do everything you can to preserve the marriage,” he said. “Ultimately, if the judge finds that you don’t meet all the requirements for dissolution of marriage, your divorce petition will be denied.”

With adultery, you almost have to catch them red-handed. If one party has no evidence, the couple must live apart for two years and receive counseling during the divorce. During that time, you can’t do things like divide property or force a sale of the house.

So, if you want a contract marriage, you need to be prepared to accept all the possible consequences of trouble. You also need to have a deep enough and genuine relationship to secure your marriage.


  • Charlotte Brown

    Charlotte Brown, a former veteran entertainment reporter turned writer, is good at digging into celebrity gossip. Her works reveal the multi-faceted nature of the entertainment industry, showing readers the lives and secrets of stars with sharp and true writing. Her insight and wealth of experience make her books a must-read for gossip lovers.

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