6 Keys to a Covenant Marriage
The First Step to Achieving Oneness with Your Spouse
Paul McCartney married Heather Mills in 2002. Their wedding cost a whopping $3 million. But the wedding was apparently more important than the marriage, because they divorced six years later.
What makes a lasting marriage? Apparently it isn’t the cost of the wedding. A 2014 study found that, on the average, the costlier the wedding, the shorter the marriage. Women who spent more than $20,000 on their wedding divorced at nearly five times the rate of those who spent less than $5,000.
Marriage and Oneness.
In the past few weeks we’ve looked at all the fundamental aspects of oneness with God (start here if you missed it). Now let’s see how that relationship informs and inspires our earthly ones.
Marriage comes first. God created it before any other human relationship. Good marriages are needed for the health and success of the family and society.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one. (Genesis 2:24 GNT)
It’s no accident that God made marriage to be an example of oneness. It’s closer in nature to our relationship with Him than any other we have. There’s only one way to achieve oneness in marriage, and it has nothing to do with the cost of the wedding.
Marriage is a covenant.
The best marriage can be described as a covenant, because it is based on love and commitment. It is analogous to our covenant with God. That’s why many times the Bible compares God’s relationship with His people to that of a husband with his wife.
The covenant is the first cornerstone of oneness. If you want to grow in oneness with your spouse, you must build a strong marriage covenant. And just like any covenant, it’s based on love and commitment.
Ask any engaged couple why they want to get married, and they’ll give you a look that says, “Are you kidding?” Then they’ll respond, “Because we love each other, of course!”
Love is certainly a requirement for marriage. What are the keys to maintaining that love?
Love for your spouse’s benefit. Love and marriage are not about gratifying yourself. Real love meets the other’s needs. You love for the other person’s benefit. So to really love your spouse, you must devote yourself to meeting their needs.
That can and usually does lead to sacrifice. You can’t help your spouse much if you’re spending your time and energy satisfying your own personal desires.
Speak your spouse’s love language. If you spoke French and your spouse spoke Japanese, you’d have a difficult time communicating. Neither one of you would feel like you were understood. You’d have a hard time even comprehending, “I love you.”
The same is true if you don’t speak your spouse’s love language. You may think you’re communicating love, but your spouse may feel unloved.
If you’ve never heard of The 5 Love Languages, you have some required reading. Go to Gary Chapman’s site and learn the five ways we express and understand love. You and your spouse each have a primary love language. And if you aren’t speaking each other’s love language, your marriage will have problems.
For example, you might express love with words of appreciation. But if your spouse’s love language is physical touch, they may think you are cold and distant. You probably won’t feel loved, either. You really are speaking two different languages.
You must learn your spouse’s love language. Then speak it consistently.
Prioritize your spouse ahead of everyone else. The essence of love is to place someone else’s welfare above your own. If you’re married, that’s your most important relationship. So your spouse’s welfare must take priority over everyone else’s.
That includes your children, your parents, your siblings, your friends, your boss, and anyone else. Other than God, none of your other relationships can be equal.
Sometimes wives love their children more than their husband. Sometimes husband love their work more than their wives. Those are sure ways to cause marital problems.
Love is required for marriage, but it isn’t enough. Love without commitment will always fall short.
That’s why couples make wedding vows. In most cases, it’s something like “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” That’s one major commitment.
Here are three ways to keep that commitment.
Make a permanent commitment. A covenant is not a contract. It’s not just for a specified time. Marriage is designed to last until life on earth is over.
So make your commitment permanent. It’s a part of your life that should never end.
Your commitment is unconditional. Your covenant is not based on what your spouse does or doesn’t do. God kept the covenant no matter what Israel did.
So don’t make your love and commitment dependent on your spouse. There should be no conditions whatsoever. Decide to love. Decide to commit. And never revoke those decisions.
Many small commitments make one big commitment. A marriage commitment should be lifelong, but it can only express itself in everyday life. You have to make a daily commitment to love your spouse. Loving five days out of seven doesn’t work.
Similarly, it’s the little commitments you make which will add together to make the big ones. Always keep your word, even in minor things, and you’ll develop trust in the big things.
Seek covenant marriage.
Covenant marriage is an ideal. But it is an achievable ideal. It takes love. It takes commitment. It takes work. And it is worth the effort.
By explicitly making your marriage a covenant, you begin to achieve true oneness in your marriage relationship.
Our next post will examine the cornerstone of confidence: how belief and dependence are crucial for marriage.
Question: What’s one thing you will do to build covenant in your marriage? Share your answer on Facebook or Twitter.
Share this page: