Contractual or Covenantal?

You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. —Malachi2:14

Marriage is not a “Contract”, but a “Covenant”. It is not a “contractual-agreement’, but a “covenantal-commitment”. Contracts can always be broken or voided, but a “Covenant” is “Life-Binding”. Contracts may be deals that are held together by certain interests or equities, but in Covenants our very lives are the collateral. God’s original intent for marriage has always been for it to last and endure for a life-time, not just to be tolerated for some-time.

Contracts are based and held-together by what the other party must legally do for you. There are certain specific terms and obligations that must be met or the contract may be considered as “breached” and can be legally terminated. A “Covenant” is all about what we will unconditionally continue to do for the other party for the rest of our earthly lives regardless of the response we may or may not receive from them. Marriage is not some “deal” in which the motivation is a selfish endeavor to see just “How much can I squeeze out of this person before our time together expires and I kick them to the curb”.

The motivation for marriage is driven by the selfless commitment and convictions to the “Life-Binding Covenant” we both made before God and the cloud of witnesses that were publicly present. Marriage must be governed by something other than a feeling called “love”. Why? Because there are some days when we wake up and do not feel like “loving” the person we have been married to for years. This kind of “love” is defined as a “contractual agreement” kind of love and not a “covenantal love”. “Contractual love” can expire at any time and just decide to pack up and leave. “Covenantal Love” is a commitment to stay for a lifetime.

Marriage was never designed to be governed by the laws of physics such as gravity by which we constantly “fall-in” and we “fall-out” of love. Marriage must not be governed by “contractual-love”, but by your “Covenantal-Love’s” commitment and convictions. Perhaps you may already know this but it is worth reiterating. True and genuine “love”, God’s kind of love is not just a fuzzy giddy feeling or thousands of butterflies in the stomach experience. Love is a daily choice that is made to unconditionally and selflessly do everything we can, even to give our own lives if necessary so that other person has, experiences and lives the greatest life they could ever possibly live. In other words, we give our everything and all so that they can become everything and all that God has designed and created them to be.

This is why marriage is not a temporary “contractual-agreement” but a “Life-Binding Covenant” permanently reinforced by the solid foundations of our commitment and convictions. It seems to me that to have to exist with the anxiety, worry and weight of an uncertain contract or agreement whose effective date will one unknown day just inexplicably expire forcing us to scramble to renew our lives somewhere else with some other person is not worth it. I think you and I would both agree that it is better, more beneficial and healthier to live with the peace that we know that our marriage will not fall-apart or come up for renewal and now we’ll have to renegotiate new terms to stay in business somewhere else.

One of the reasons among many that a marriage will go “bankrupt” is because there is a contractual clause to go “belly-up” that allows for such options to be entertained and exercised. But marriage is not a business in which we can just shut the doors of the store and put up a “for sale” sign to the highest bidder. Marriage is NOT now, has never been, nor will it ever be a “contract” but a “Covenant”. The Covenant of marriage is fueled by the steady burning glowing embers of a “Covenantal-Love” reinforced by the solid unwavering and unshakeable foundations of commitment and conviction.

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