A covenant marriage is intended by God to be a lifelong relationship exemplifying unconditional love, reconciliation, sexual purity, and growth. A covenant is an eternal commitment with God. People can negotiate out of contracts, but not out of a covenant. The heart of covenant marriage is “the steadfast love of the Lord,” which comes from the very heart of God and “never ceases” (Lam. 3:22, RSV).

God intends for marriage to be a lifelong covenant relationship between a man and a woman. When a couple exchanges their wedding vows, they are vowing to God, each other, their families, and their community to remain steadfast in unconditional love, reconciliation, and sexual purity, while purposefully growing in their covenant marriage relationship. It is God’s desire to bring wholeness to families through covenant marriage relationships.

Genesis 1:27 says that, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over … every living thing that moves on the earth.’ ” When God “blessed them” in essence He initiated an action and then empowered the man and woman to complete the action. In other words God gave them the gift of a covenant relationship and then equipped them to be successful.

In Gen. 2:18, 22-25 God acknowledged that, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ … And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib, which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” In the context of a covenant relationship God provided the ultimate experience in “oneness” through sexual intimacy.

Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” How do you perceive your marriage? Men, do you believe God brought your wife to you? Do you consider her a gift from God? Have you considered that when God brought her to you He was expressing His love to you? God was saying, “It is not good that you should be alone so I have made a helper for you as an expression of my love for you and you are to love her as I have loved my bride, the church. You shall readily lay down your life for her, loving her as you love yourself.”

When the term “covenant” is used in the Bible it is evident that God is the one who initiates the covenant. God established His covenant with the patriarchs of our faith. God said to Noah, “Behold I myself do establish My covenant with you and with your descendents after you” (Gen. 9:9). God said to Abraham, “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly … God said, ‘As for Me, behold My covenant is with you and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations’ ”

God is always the giver of the covenant. We are the recipients of the covenant. We choose to accept it and remain obedient to the covenant God has established. The foundation for such a covenant is unconditional love for that is who God is. Our covenant relationship with our spouse should reflect, and in actuality can only be made possible through, God’s gift of unconditional love.