What a privilege it is to discuss the concepts of covenant and contracts with couples going through marriage preparation. As we go through the definitions of covenant and contract, an amazing thing starts to take place.
The couples begin to see the strength and power of unconditional love. In showing them that a contractual relationship is one in which I give 50% and you give 50%, they soon realize that If one fails to live up to their end of the contract then the contract can be broken. This type of ‘conditional’ faithfulness eventually can lead to one of them saying, “I don’t have to live up to my end of the deal (marriage) since you didn’t live up to yours.”
But when they understand covenantal relationship, one in which God is faithful to us even when we reject him, they begin to desire a relationship that is based on unconditional love and divine faithfulness. This is a faithfulness that will see them through all things in their life. This is a faithfulness where each partner seeks to fulfill the needs of the other before their own. This is a faithfulness that seeks to model the divine love of God.
The internationally renowned priest, author, theologian, and beloved pastor Henri Nowen said, “That when God makes a covenant with us, God says: ‘I will love you with an everlasting love.’ God made a covenant with us, and God wants our relationships with one another to reflect that covenant. That’s why marriage, friendship, life in community are all ways to give visibility to God’s faithfulness in our lives together.”