A young girl was playing with her grandmother’s hands one day when she suddenly stopped to examine her grandmother’s wedding ring. After a few minutes, she asked her grandmother why the ring was so large and heavy. It was nothing like the thinner more delicate rings she saw. The grandmother smiled and said, “Because back when I got married, rings were made to last.”
One reason so many couples turn in their rings is because they view marriage as a contract. A contract is a conditional agreement between two or more persons signifying that all parties will do something. Contracts get made for limited periods of time and are based on “if, then” statements. “If they do this, then I’ll do that.” People enter into contracts because of what they’ll get out of them. When they no longer receive what they want, or if they find a better-looking option, then they will justify terminating it.
However, the Bible doesn’t describe marriage this way, but defines it as a covenant. A covenant is a divinely created bond meaning it is permanent. It has rules, responsibilities and benefits. Covenants are intimate relationships initiated for the benefit of the other person. In it, the good of the relationship takes precedence over the needs of the individual. This is why covenants make unconditional promises. Basically, it’s where God makes something official in the spiritual realm to be lived out in the physical world. After all, the wedding vows are made “before God” and therefore with God as well as the spouse. To break the covenant with your spouse is to break it with God. When a husband and wife live out a covenantal marriage instead of contractual terms, they will receive a covering. It’s like an umbrella. When it’s raining, the umbrella doesn’t stop the rain, but stops it from raining on you. Living under God’s covering won’t stop the challenges in your marriage, but those challenges won’t affect you the same way they normally would if you weren’t underneath His covering. How can you begin relating to your spouse on covenantal terms?