Covenant Marriage Increases In Popularity

By Staff Writer

There is no doubt that divorce is on the rise. We all hear the startling statistics that a depressingly high percentage of all marriages are destined to fail. Where, even just a decade ago, it was rare to personally know someone who was going through a divorce, divorce has become such a common part of our society that even schools are beginning to offer programs, such as Banana Splits, to offer support to children of divorcing parents. In this climate of seemingly disposable marriage vows, it is not surprising that a backlash has begun to develop in certain segments of society.

During the late 1990's a movement began to develop in the South for what is known as “Covenant Marriage”. This type of marriage is an alternative to traditional marriages and, in effect, attempts to strengthen marriages by legally obligating the parties to participate in counseling and agree to eliminate no-fault divorce. In 1997 the State of Louisiana began offering Covenant Marriage as a legal option. Since that date, several other States have followed suit.

Parties choosing to enter into a Covenant marriage must first participate in pre-marital counseling to discuss the purpose of marriage as well as marital responsibilities, both toward each other and toward making a lifelong commitment . After fulfilling this requirement, the parties legally commit themselves to obtain additional counseling if problems develop during the marriage or if either party ever desires a divorce.

The Covenant Marriage movement was primarily founded by religious leaders and others who desire to stress “traditional” family values and re-establish marriage as a lifelong commitment. Politicians who support this movement tend to argue that Covenant Marriage not only strengthens marriages and families but battles social ills that, they argue, stem from broken marriages. While not all share the Christian ideology supporters of the Covenant Marriage movement tend to espouse, the idea of being proactive in taking steps to minimize the likelihood of divorce, is appealing to many.