What’s The Difference Between Marriage And Covenant Marriage
“…You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, Why? It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. – Malachi 2:13-15
If we take one thing from the above passage, it is that a covenant marriage is not to be entered into lightly! In a perfect world, there would be no difference between a covenant marriage and just everyday marriage. After all, marriage in and of itself is the highest of covenants we enter into before God and others. Yet, we know that this is not always reality.
While divorce rates have gone down over the past few decades, many are simply avoiding the commitment of marriage altogether. According to a recent study, marriages, in general, are lasting longer, and that is great news! However, the other side of the coin is that marriages are lasting longer because fewer people are joining in marriage.
Who Can Marry Whom According To The Bible
Malachi 2:11-12 says Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem for Judah has profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loves, and has married the daughter of a strange god. The NIV version says the Lord is angry with Judah because they married women who worship foreign gods. What does it mean that it was an abomination or sin for Jews to marry women who worshiped foreign deities? It means that God gave specific instructions regarding marriage to ancient Jewish people, not all human beings throughout history. For example, ancient Jewish men were not allowed to marry women who worship other gods. Therefore, the principle taught in these verses is that God wants Christians to only marry those who share similar beliefs and values as them.
Marriage Is A Covenant
A promise is one thing, but a convent is a promise that also involves God. In the Bible, we learn that marriage is a covenant.
In Malachi 2:14, it says,
Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
It clearly tells us that marriage is a covenant and that God is involved, in fact, God is even a witness of the married couple. Marriage is important to Him, especially in how the spouses treat each other. In this particular set of verses, God is disappointed in how the wife was treated.
In the Bible, we also learn that God does not look fondly on the non-marriage arrangement or living together, which further proves that marriage itself involves making actual promises. In John 4 we read of the woman at the well and her lack of a current husband, though she is living with a man.
In verses 16-18 it says,
Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
What Jesus is saying is that living together isnt the same as marriage in fact marriage must be the result of a covenant or marriage ceremony.
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Location Of The Wedding
With respect to religion, historic Christian belief emphasizes that Christian weddings should occur in a church as Christian marriage should begin where one also starts their faith journey ” rel=”nofollow”> congregation). Catholic Christian weddings must “take place in a church building” as holy matrimony is a sacrament sacraments normatively occur in the presence of Christ in the house of God, and “members of the faith community present to witness the event and provide support and encouragement for those celebrating the sacrament.” Bishops never grant permission “to those requesting to be married in a garden, on the beach, or some other place outside of the church” and a dispensation is only granted “in extraordinary circumstances .” Marriage in the church, for Christians, is seen as contributing to the fruit of the newlywed couple regularly attending church each Lord’s Day and raising children in the faith.
What Is The Purpose Of Marriage According To The Bible
There is a reason, or reasons rather, why God fully supports the covenant of marriage. This is also a reason why God doesn’t want marriages to be dissolved. As Christians, we must know what the true purpose of marriage is so that when you get married or already married, you can focus on achieving such goals. Here is the purpose of marriage.
1. Be A Reflection
Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
One of the most important verses in the Bible pertaining to a man and a woman is found in the Book of Genesis. The verse explains that God created male and female in His own image. Individually, we are to reflect God’s image in whatever we do, more so when you are married. The devil will do what he can do break up your marriage and cause disunity you must not allow it. The way you must act towards your spouse should reflect how God treats everyone. This will prepare you to be righteous Christian parents.
2. Raise Children
Be fruitful and increase in number fill the earth and subdue it.” Genesis 1:28
3. Two is Better Than One
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What Is The Meaning Of Covenant Marriage
In non-biblical terms, a covenant is essentially a legal, binding agreement. When you get married, take out a loan, lease a house, or sign a document, you are entering into a type of covenant: an agreement in which both parties make certain promises to one another. In biblical terms, a covenant between God and people holds great significance and forms the foundation of how God interacts with people. When we approach marriage as a covenant, we are truly making a lifelong commitment, a joining and binding contract that cannot be broken, and only grows stronger and more meaningful with time.
A Covenant Marriage in Legal Terms:From a legal perspective and not to be confused with covenant marriage in the Bible, there is a type of marriage in Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana referred to as covenant marriage. This legal term of covenant marriage and the laws that accompany it basically give the couple an opportunity to limit the grounds for divorce at the time of their marriage or later. There are also usually requirements before marriage such as premarital counseling and signing a specific license for covenant marriage. The point of this type of marriage, legally, is to make divorce more difficult. Traditional marriages require a license and two witnesses, there are no limitations in place to make divorce more difficult. Only one to two percent of couples in these three states choose this type of marriage compared to traditional marriage.
It Is Supposed To Preach The Gospel
There is something special about human beings particularly human beings as male and female together. The Bibles says:
Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him male and female he created them.
Image and likeness those are very important words.
We sometimes forget that the first people to hear these words in Genesis were most likely the wilderness generation of Hebrews during the time of the 40 year desert wandering. Their cultural frame of reference was Egyptian they had been living inside Egyptian culture for the last 400 years. In Egypt only one person was ever referred to as the image and likeness of God. Pharaoh was tselem and demooth Pharaoh was image and likeness of God. He resembled God and represented God in a way that no one else did.
But here in Genesis 1:26-27 Moses tells the recently liberated Egyptian slave class that they are all each of them male and female the image and likeness of God. They represent him and they resemble in some way that is not true of any other creature.
When people look at you particularly when they look at you as male and female together they are supposed to see something about the beauty, wholeness and vitality of the Living God.
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What Does The Bible Say About Covenant Marriage
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. –Ephesians 5:21
The Bible declares marriage as the most important relationship one can enter into aside from their relationship with God, and Ephesians 5 gives us perhaps the most detailed explanation of how this plays out. Ephesians 5:22-23 has become among the most controversial passages in Scripture, especially in todays culture. Yet, there is a full, beautiful meaning in the full context of these verses that reveals the beauty of what covenant marriage truly is: Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
On the surface this appears to suggest that the wife is inferior to the husband – just a submissive servant – and this interpretation has drawn scorn from many who seek equality. However, as we continue into Ephesians 5:25,28, we see that there is another side to the coin: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. In this passage, it is reiterated that in a covenant marriage the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.
Husbands Role #: Leader Of The House
God has assigned the role of leadership in the home to the husband, just as Christ is the head of the church.
However, take note that, Husbands are not dictators. They should not demand. They should not rule over their wives, according to All About God in their article Role of Husband in the Bible.
As the head of the wife and of the household, Peter reminds that husbands have the responsibility to provide for the needs of the family and to protect your home. They are called to lead and influence the family with biblical values.
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In A Godly Marriage Couples Honor Their Differences
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner.1 Peter 3:7
Next, Peter tells the husband to treat her with respect, or better translated honor, as the weaker partner or vessel. What does he mean by weaker vessel?
InterpretationQuestion: What does Peter mean by the woman being the weaker partner or vessel?
He seems to be referring to the physical strength of the woman. In general, men are stronger physically than women and also sometimes emotionally. Because he has made the womans body to bear children, there are tremendous hormonal differences in comparison to the body of the man that sometimes affects the emotions.
The husband must honor these differences, rather than beleaguering them, which is very common in marriage. One of the ways this often plays out in marriage is that husbands and wives look upon these differences with disdain. They just dont understand one another. In one sense, the husband tries to make the woman more masculine like he is. The wife tries to make the husband more feminine.
InterpretationQuestion: Why does Peter tell the husbands to be more considerate about the wives and not vice versa?
It should be noted that the word respect in the NIV is not strong enough. Most commentators would argue for the word honor as in the ESV. Husbands must not only respect their wives but honor them.
Biblical Traits Of A Good Husband Or Wife
Proverbs 31 has been called a description of The Ideal Wife. And its true that the chapter, as written, focuses on the wife. But in reality the ideal qualities given in this chapter apply equally to a husband as well as to a wife.
So how does the Bible define a good wife ? Here is a list of characteristics based on Proverbs 31. Look up the verses and see for yourself how they are described. Can you find other qualities in this chapter that are not listed here?
- A positive outlook that brings out the best in ones spouse
- Provides for the household
- Compassionate and aware of others peoples needs
- Is a credit to ones spouse in the community
- Loved and respected by the children and by ones spouse
- Has a good reputation outside the home
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Surprising Things That The Bible Says About Marriage
The Bible is not a book about marriage at least not mainly or directly. The Bible is a book about God and about people and how God saves people through the life and death of Jesus Christ.
Even still, the Bible does have a lot to say about marriage and a great deal of what it has to say runs contrary to our assumptions and values as modern people.
Amongst the most surprising revelations would be the following:
Guest Pastor: Marriage: A Contract Or A Covenant
D. L. Kauffmn wrote, in part: A good marriage is not a contract between a man and a woman, but rather, a sacred covenant between three the man, the woman and God.
If we think of the covenant of marriage as being in the shape of a triangle, we would have the man and woman at each corner of the base line and God at the apex. All three connected by a line representing the sacred connection.
We find these exact three, original, elements of the marriage covenant in the Garden of Eden, where the very first wedding took place. The uncomplicated ceremony that is described there, in the first book of the Bible, is a masterpiece of simplicity, without being overly simple. The Scriptures record, in Genesis 2:22, says: “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” In this sacred scene we have three distinct individuals the Lord God, the woman, and the man. The three participants in the divine covenant are presented to us with solemn dignity.
What we are witnessing, when we read such verses as the one in the previous paragraph, is the presence of the divine element of the marriage covenant. According to Scripture, marriage was not intended to be a simple contract that can be torn up or broken at will. This covenant was intended to be a lifetime state. This is why Jesus could say, in Matthew 19:6: “Wherefore they are no more twain , but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder .”
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When Does The Bible Allow Divorce
Your best friend, Annie, finally works up the courage to make a coffee date with you and get real. I just cant do it anymore, she says, eyes downcast as she traces the outline of her cup. I constantly catch him watching pornography he puts me down all the time he is forceful in the bedroom. A couple times lately, he really lost his temper and scared the kids badly. I dont know what to do. God wants us to honor marriage no matter what, right? What do you say?
Another friend, Monica, calls you often with complaints about her husband. It seems he can never do anything right, and youre concerned that Monica has started to obsess about what a man of God your churchs new, single pastor is. You suspect Monica might be getting a bit infatuated. Youre concerned about her. Could she be considering divorce?
Meanwhile, a third friend, Mary Ann, is consumed with guilt about the past. After studying the Bible, she has come to the conclusion that she divorced for selfish reasons, not biblical ones. Because her ex-husband is remarried, Mary Ann cant remedy this wrong. She is having a terrible time hearing anything you tell her about Gods forgiveness.
When we face challenging marital circumstances , we may struggle with deep, hard questions: What are the biblical grounds for divorce? Are my marriage struggles just the product of two sinners marrying? Or are these struggles legitimate grounds for divorce? How can Gods Word help me discern what is right?