I’d bet my bottom dollar you’ve heard it said before. Or perhaps you’ve said it yourself.
“It’s just a piece of paper.”
Marriage that is. The wedding, just a slip of paper from the government making things official…
Countless times over this viewpoint is shared by well meaning people with a genuine love for each other. But to be frank, it makes me sad, even angry some days.
Marriage isn’t a contract, it’s a covenant.
Contacts are meant to protect people from getting hurt and in almost all cases, it has an “out” clause. They are used to test out new arrangements and can be altered and changed as stages progress.
In short, contracts protect each party from the other and they’re rarely, if ever, for life!
A covenant, on the other hand, is cut between people and binds them together as equals. It declares that each will make it their life’s duty and mission to fulfill the promises of the agreement and will carry the covenant forward to their last breath.
Covenants acknowledge that circumstances will never be perfect and when one falls, the other will carry them.
Together they’ll weathers the storms of life. There are no test runs.
You see when we view marriage as a contract, we’re putting ourself and our needs FIRST. We’re making a Plan B should things not satisfy and giving ourselves an escape goat.
We’re saying without saying it, “I’m in so long as it suits me and my every stipulation is met.”
But life is messy and marriage is the glue that binds us. We’re bound to get hurt as we learn to love more fully, to stumble and fail at all our promises. But that doesn’t mean we walk away when things get hard. If anything, it’s when we lean it!
Like gems, it’s the journey that refines us, and polishes our sparkle. We’re never perfect cuts right from the get go!
It’s falling down 10 times and picking yourself up 11. It’s choosing to love the person of today while embracing the person of tomorrow.
‘Cause it’s not by being perfect or having our every need meet that our marriage will flourish. It’s in the fire. There, we build character and see what we were made for…
To serve without limits, to put others first and give our lives away in love.
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Think about your marriage vows. What promises are you declaring? What covenant are you making?
It’s not another item on your check list of life’s to-do’s. It’s the greatest commitment you’ll ever make.
Photos courtesy of Dragonflight Photography, The Nickersons and Life Studios