The definition of marriage is blurred beyond recognition in our society. Sex is the essence of it for many. Marriage licenses and church services are therefore discarded as the remnants of the past. “The past was puritanical,” people say with a sneer. “We’ll have none of that.” However, sex and marriage cannot be equated. As one counselor I know says unabashedly, “Gerbils copulate; they don’t marry.” Are we a bunch of animals? That’s what the gals call the guys. The fellows look at a gal and call her a fox. Animal instincts and hormones rule.
This is a far cry from how the Bible talks about marriage. God describes a wife to her husband by saying, “She is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14). The essence of marriage is a covenant. A covenant is an agreement involving privileges and responsibilities. It is solemnized by vows. Vows are promises.
When a man and a woman stand before God and other witnesses they promise to live together. They promise to be companions all their lives. They promise to forsake all others. They promise to be friends and lovers. They commit themselves uniquely and fully to each other. After the couple makes these promises, the judge or minister says, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” Then this married couple must work on promise keeping.
To help you understand the covenant of marriage a little better, click here and listen to the audio message, “Covenant Families.”