Let's say you say "covenant" and your fiancee says "traditional". Does this mean one of you is less committed to the relationship than the other?
What's the Difference?Well, under the "traditional" marriage, a couple is entitled to a no-fault divorce after a six-month separation.
When a couple opts for the "covenant" marriage, they agree to waive their right to the no-fault divorce. In the event that the marriage does fall apart, only adultery, abuse, abandonment or a lengthy separation will allow a divorce to take place.
Why Covenant Marriage?With nearly half of all marriages today dissolving, many states are looking for ways to stop this trend. One example is Lenawee County in Michigan which is now requiring premarital counseling for any couple wanting to be wed in its jurisdiction. The prevalent feeling among many state leaders is that there are just too many people who enter marriage with the attitude that if things don't work out, they can always bail out.
We believe firmly in premarital counseling, and give much of our time as a presenting team on Engaged Encounter Weekends. Yet, we are not convinced that more stringent divorce laws will strengthen marriages. We see few couples entering into marriage with the idea that it won't work out.
Barbara Whitehead, author of "The Divorce Culture" agrees with our belief. She states, "It's impossible to get them to contemplate troubles, adversity, conflict, especially if it's their first marriage and they are fairly young. It's not a teachable moment."
We think the word "impossible" is a bit strong though, and do believe that engaged couples can be made to understand that a good marriage requires more than loving one another without having to make a decision regarding opting for a covenant marriage or a traditional marriage.