The Bible speaks of marriage as a covenant (Proverbs 2:17 Malachi 2:14), not a contract.
A contract is something that can be broken by mutual consent; a covenant is something that can never be broken regardless of the circumstances.
People sign a contract because there is responsibility on each side to meet certain conditions. One party is going to do “this,” and the other is going to do “that.” Each party says that he will take responsibility for a certain thing.
Tragically, many people today think of marriage as a contract instead of a covenant. Their thinking is: “If you’re not giving me as much as I’m giving you, then I’m going to get a divorce.”
A contract is a legal agreement between two people, but a covenant is a spiritual commitment between you and God and that other person. A contract may be voided by mutual consent if problems arise. A covenant has no escape clauses.
Marriage is a covenant, not a contract! Marriage is not a 50/50 relationship. It requires 100% from each person. And if your spouse is only giving 20%, you still are responsible before God to contribute 100%.
In Old Testament times whenever a covenant was established, an animal was sacrificed and split in two and the two parties making the covenant would walk between the two halves of the slain animal and by doing that they were saying, “May I be divided and destroyed if I break this covenant.” (See Genesis 15).
That’s part of the rich symbolism that’s represented in the marriage ceremony. That’s the reason behind why the congregation is divided in two. The groom’s family and friends sit on one side. The bride’s family and friends sit on the other side.
And when the couple have said their vows and the wedding ceremony is over, they walk out together between the congregation – between the two sides – symbolizing their binding covenant with each other.
A covenant is to be broken only by death. A proper marriage vow says essentially, “No matter what, we will stay together till death do us part.”
Home Life Ministries