Keeping Your Covenant

Keeping Your Covenant

By Roy M. Milam

Covenant marriage“To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

We tend to enter marriage with a view that it’s a relationship of convenience, with an attitude of “what’s in it for me.” But marriage, as God intended it, is a sacred covenant between a man, a woman and God. Understanding and living out this covenant is crucial to a fulfilling and lasting marriage.

Do you remember those words you spoke on your wedding day?  All couples start out saying the right things.  But words alone are not what makes a marriage last a lifetime.

Contemporary marriages often fail because people don’t enter it with a “til death do us part” mindset. They may say the words in a ceremony, and mean them. But when problems arise, they adopt a “til difficulties do us part” mentality.

Whenever divorce becomes an option, the future of the relationship is at stake. Unless that problem is dealt with, the marriage is well on its way to becoming another statistic in our culture of divorce.

The root of the problem lies in a faulty  viewpoint toward marriage. Marriage is viewed by many as a relationship of convenience based upon an attitude of “what’s in it for me.”  Others approach it as an experiment, “Try it! If it doesn’t work, you can always bail out later!”

But marriage, as God intended it, is a sacred covenant between one man and one woman and their God, for a lifetime.  Understanding and living within this covenant is the key to a fulfilling and lasting marriage.

In the Old Testament, God made a number of covenants with His people. The act of making a covenant was no empty ritual, but a solemn and sacred event.

Making a covenant required a sacrifice, and the sacrifice was dealt with in a special way. The animal that was sacrificed was cut into two parts, and the two parts were placed opposite one another, with a space in between. Then the people who were making the covenant passed between the two parts of the sacrifice. By this act they entered into a covenant relationship.

Why was a sacrifice necessary to enter into a covenant?  The sacrifice symbolized the death of each party to the covenant (Hebrews 9:16-17). As each party walked between the pieces of the slain animal, he was saying in effect, “That animal died as my representative. That is my death. As I enter into this covenant, I enter by death.  In covenant, I have no more right to live for myself.”

So it is in the covenant of marriage. Each party is virtually saying to the other: “I will die for you. From now on, your interests take precedence over my own.  I no longer live for myself; I live for you.”  Each lays down his life for the other. The covenant that secures a marriage is sacrificial and permanent.

Jesus Christ is the supreme example of what it means to live in a covenant relationship. Laying aside the privileges of deity, He came to earth and paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross to pay for our sins. Likewise he calls us to a covenant that requires us as husbands and wives to give up our selfish desires and die to “self.”  Each laying down his life for the other.

The satisfaction of our own needs and desires can’t be the primary reason we get married or stay married. Instead each spouse’s actions need to have an “other” focus.  Building a loving and fulfilling marriage requires a lifelong sacrifice.

Do you acknowledge God’s truth that your marriage is a covenant which requires sacrifices to be made on your part? What are some of the sacrifices you need to make to live out your marriage covenant with your spouse.

Make it a priority everyday to sacrificially give of yourself to meet your spouse’s most important emotional needs. Seek for an opportunity to make a sacrifice for your spouse. Today, pay the price it takes to have a loving, fulfilling marriage. Do it and you’ll reap the benefits of a life-long, lasting and fulfilling marriage.

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