Many Christians think they take the same vows as other people who get married, but that is not true!
If you and your spouse are Christians, and were married by a minister, did you know you agreed to a covenant relationship? Do you even know what a covenant relationship is? I didn’t know! It is very important to know this whether you are already married, or if you may marry someday. (By the way, I was married, then divorced after 23 years, and now am married to another man for 16 years. Although I had a much better idea about what marriage involved the second time, I still did not know I was in a covenant relationship.)
First of all, it is important to understand that a covenant is made with a vow between two people, or between a person and their country, or between God and a person or country. For example, God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants, and with Israel. In marriage, two people take vows to each other. Covenant vows are intact until the death of one.
So what vows did you take (or will take) at your wedding? Most people forget what they said, but it is important to know the vows you promised.
Usually Christians would take vows like these –
“Will you have this woman/man to be your lawful wedded wife/husband, to live together after God s ordinance in the Holy Estate of Matrimony? Will you love, comfort, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others keep you only unto her/him as long as you both shall live? I take thee, to be my wedded (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish forever, according to God s Holy Ordinance, and thereto I give thee my pledge.”
(To read the traditional Christian wedding ceremony in full, click here.)
“As long as you both shall live” or “until death do us part”, says the covenant lasts until one of you dies. The exception for a Christian marriage, is that adultery can justify a divorce.
“I give thee my pledge” is the vow part. Sometimes people use “I promise to ….”
God intends a Christian marriage to glorify God through the covenant marriage relationship, and to show the love of Jesus to each other. The couple vows to love each other, comfort each other, honor your wife/husband, and take care of each other even when sick. The couple also vows to never seek the relationship of any other person for romance or intimacy. (Yeah, that is the adultery part.)
This is pretty serious stuff! Why wasn’t this explained before the wedding? It may have been, or maybe not. We tend to be blinded by love and stressed out and afraid, when we say the vows of marriage. Either way, the vows are binding, as long as you chose to get married of your own free will.
A married couple is supposed to have unconditional love for each other. They are supposed to obey their vows even when they don’t feel like it. Some days that is easier than other days. Usually, couples can work through issues and problems, bearing in mind their love for each other, and believing that God wants them to succeed in their covenant marriage relationship.
Every Christian also has a covenant relationship with God.
We are supposed to obey God, and He promises certain blessings and faithfulness to us. Keeping your marriage vows is part of obeying God. So the next time an argument with your spouse has you thinking about divorce, don’t even think about it! You don’t want to break your covenant to your spouse and God at the same time. Your life will be in a much bigger mess than just arguing with your spouse. You promised to love, honor, and take care of them until death.
The vows you took in your wedding ceremony, God is holding you to that promise!