COVENANT VS CONTRACT: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE
Antonio and Christelle Baldovinos | Marriage and Family
When we first got married we pretty much had a fairy tale idea of what marriage was. I bet many couples do too.
After a year of marriage, at 20 years old, we found out we were expecting our first baby. We were pumped!
Even though we had been around babies growing up and were part of large families we wanted to get some training on how to raise a family.
We signed up for a 12-week course called Supernatural Child Birth. We expected these classes to be about childbirth but instead it was about marriage: The foundations of marriage.
We learned about covenant. We learned about many great things that we still have in our home. Learning about covenant was the cornerstone.
Anytime we have told young people about covenant. They respond by saying, “a What”…with a confused face. But this is one of the most important issues hinging on the success of marriage.
What is the difference between covenant and contract?
Marriages are covenant relationships because they are designed to operate based on an exchange.
In a man-centered view. We are trained from the time we are young to seek happiness with all of our effort. We will maintain our marriage as a long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. Any discomfort caused to our happiness is to be rejected and we should run away from that relationship.
“All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”
Seeking happiness is not wrong, but in marriage, we change the focus from our happiness and direct it to our spouse. Marriage will make you happy, as you give of yourself to your spouse. True happiness occurs as we give and expend ourselves on someone else.
In a God-centered view of our marriage, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and because our marriage relationships are worth it. No person is perfect. It takes work, humility and understanding the eternal, biblical view to fight through. We like to share this because we feel it is so significant!
There is a big difference between a contract and a covenant.
A contract lists five general characteristics:
- They are typically made for a limited period of time.
- They most often deal with specific actions.
- They are conditional upon the continued performance of contractual obligations by the other partner.
- They are entered into for one’s own benefit.
- They sometimes unspoken and implicit.
- Marriage covenant is defined as a sacred bond instituted by and publically entered into before God and others.
- Marriage is permanent, sacred, intimate, and mutual; it is also exclusive (Gen. 2:22-25; 1 Cor. 7:2-5).
- Covenant is entered into through the breaking of blood and God has put this in place for the night between a husband and a wife, as they become one in flesh.
- Marriage is for the benefit of the other. It is serving and not self-seeking.
- Sexual intercourse is a reflection of that marriage covenant, representing oneness and intimacy and is a gift for those who are married with no guilt but only pleasure. Also brings intimacy – oneness.
Marriage has become a distorted, superficial, humanistic contract, nothing more than a partnership or at best a roommate you live with. This is not God’s way and not His intention.
The nature of covenant is one of the most beautiful jealously guarded secrets of the Kingdom of God. We believe it’s a pearl of His heart.
No lasting relationship can be built without a covenant.
Happiness and covenant are so tightly connected. You receive the greatest joy as you give of yourself. It is better to give than to receive, even if it may cost you. This is the way the Kingdom of God works.