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Covenant Marriage

Hey ladies. Has anyone heard of a covenant marriage? I think only Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona have them right now. I don't know much about them, but as far as I know, they require pre-marital counseling and only allow divorce for abuse, a felony, or adultery. The idea is to make divorces harder to get. Anyone have details? Has anyone considered a covenant marriage (looking at you Jeana)?

My bf mentioned getting married in one of these states so we could get a covenant marriage. I'm flexible.

Re: Covenant Marriage

  • bethsmilesbethsmiles member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    It sounds interesting. BF and I have discussed several times that when we are married the word divorce will never be used in our marriage. I don't think I'd go to another state just so that it was harder for us to get a divorce because I'm not counting on us getting a divorce. I don't think your marriage means more in those states because you can decide for yourself that those are the only reasons you would get divorced.


  • edited December 2011
    Why are you looking at me?! What does that say about me? OMG, I am so freaked out!

    Surprised

    Actually, yes, Louisiana does have a covenant marriage thing. We never discussed it. The idea of going that route crossed my mind, but I decided not to bother bringing it up because I don't feel like we needed to marry with special "rules" in place in order to make divorce a last resort.

    I think Josh and I agree we have a "covenant marriage" on our own terms. We didn't do formal counseling, but we bought a book of questions to ask before you get married. We'd already asked most of the questions, discussed them thoroughly, or knew about an issue and had already compromised.

    He was raised Catholic, and I'm just plain stubborn. We agreed loooooong ago that marriage was it. No "Oh, I'm having a midlife crisis and I'm not happy anymore." Those are things we will work through. Together. Neither of us has an aversion to counseling. We'll seek help if we need it. More importantly, we can admit when we need help.

    But if it comes down to abuse or adultery, that's when our marriage is in real danger.

    Obviously neither of us expects that, but we did discuss what would cause us to end our marriage. I think it's healthy to be up-front and realistic.

    Anywho... I dunno what you were really looking for. When I went to get our marriage license there was a box to check for "covenant marriage" and it flickered in my mind... and I didn't check it. Didn't feel the need to. No real compulsion there.

    So far, so good. We've made it longer than Britney Spears. Laughing
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  • edited December 2011
    I would never consider this.  Either you have the conviction to work through a marriage, or you don't.  There's no need for a marriage with "special rules". 

    Honestly, it feels like a step backward in time because the only people I've heard about who get these types of marriages are uber-fundamentalist Christian couples (think Duggar).  I'm concerned a marriage like this will be used to keep women in marriages when they'd be much better off leaving.  I fully admit I haven't done much research and I could be way off base here.  This is just my perception.
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  • edited December 2011
    Everyone says that the word "divorce" will never be used. Of course no one should go into their marriage thinking that they are going to get divorced, but to go so far as to make it almost legally impossible to get one seems excessive. There needs to be some sort of realism when it comes to marriage.
  • edited December 2011
    I do not hold anything against people who have a covenant marriage.  I honestly would be very open to it, although in my state you cannot have one. If it was possible in my state and FI really wanted one, then I would probably decide to. I do however believe that the vows we say are promises to each other and that having the government enforcing those promises seems a little odd.
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  • deburnindeburnin member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    This just kind of creeps me out. I mean, if you've both agreed on only divorcing as the very last resort (or not getting divorced no matter what), then why do you need the extra legal stuff? I don't know how these types of marriages work, but how does the abuse and adultery clause work? Obviously a felony will be easy to prove if the person is caught and has a record, but the others could prove difficult. IMHO, it just sounds like trouble.
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  • bajedivabajediva member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I get the concept. The legality of marriage and ramifications for backing out of one are part of what makes it such a meaningful commitment, when you think about it. That's a big part of why many people would rather marry than live together, which in many ways looks and feels much the same.  Technically, you could just make a 'marriage-like' commitment to each other and keep moving, without the hoopla.

    A covenant marriage appears to just be a bit more explicit with the expectations of the depth of commitment. Sure, you can have that commitment without the extras, but if it's what you believe anyway, then why not?

  • edited December 2011

    OK, have to laugh at myself, cause when I first read this, I thought it said "Convent Marriage" and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why you were talking about nuns getting married...that's what happens when you've had a headache all day.


    Anyway - this doesn't sound like a route FI and I would choose to take.  We're the same as a lot who have commented already, we believe marriage is forever (of course there are those exceptions listed) and we'll work through any problems that may arise.  FI's first wife cheated on him (she made him believe for 4 years that the baby was his before his mom finally convinced him to get the paternity test to prove otherwise).  So he takes it pretty seriously.  We will be going through pre-marital counseling with my pastor.  We're also looking into a group thing at another church that would give us a different perspective than just the one on one thing. 

    My mom and I talk about it all the time that divorces are too easy to get in today's society (living in Nevada, it's pretty common).  Like everyone seems to say that people should get a license to have children, my mom feels that (except in those exceptions) a couple should have at least one counseling session before a divorce could be granted and see if it's something that can be worked out...could save a lot of marriages and not give them that "easy way out".

  • hetshuphetshup member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    A covenant marriage is when you marry other vampires and fight against the Lichens.


    I may have seen Underworld too many times this weekend.
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  • edited December 2011
    I had never heard of a covenant marriage before this post. In theory it sounds like a decent idea but I, like pps, wonder about how someone would go about proving adultery or abuse. Obviously you nor I expect to get divorced but you just never know what might happen or how you might change.

    IMO you can have your own "covenant" marriage. Seek some counselling before marriage and make sure you are on the same page.

    Angie: I like your idea of making people go to at least one counselling session before getting divorced. I think that abuse would be the exception but it could really help couples.
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  • edited December 2011
    Like KD, I have never heard of a covenant marriage. It sounds complicated. But to be quite honest, radical religious beliefs frighten me, and the covenant marriage is sounding pretty scary. It sounds like the women are trapped in an unhappy marriage and can't get out unless they're being beaten. Sometimes the love between two people just fades away and being married to someone who you're not happy with kills you.

    In Judaism, we do counselling too. There are several pre-marriage rituals that I'm not too familiar with. Funny thing is, after all that, we allow divorce. It's because we believe in the soulmate. If you're divorcing a spouse, they were obviously not your soulmate, and you are now free to find it.

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  • hetshuphetshup member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    NO one? Man I thought that was hilarious.
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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_covenant-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:a5a3916a-ccaa-461d-9329-8c7a0939b634Post:0ecb2ee3-a02e-49db-bff6-44ffabe25b30">Re: Covenant Marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]Like KD, I have never heard of a covenant marriage. It sounds complicated. But to be quite honest, radical religious beliefs frighten me, and the covenant marriage is sounding pretty scary. <strong>It sounds like the women are trapped in an unhappy marriage and can't get out unless they're being beaten.</strong> Sometimes the love between two people just fades away and being married to someone who you're not happy with kills you. In Judaism, we do counselling too. There are several pre-marriage rituals that I'm not too familiar with. Funny thing is, after all that, we allow divorce. It's because we believe in the soulmate. If you're divorcing a spouse, they were obviously not your soulmate, and you are now free to find it.
    Posted by bsidebella[/QUOTE]

    Why just the women are trapped? The men will be just as trapped if they're in the covenant marriage and there isn't any love (or abuse/adultery necessary to get out).  I just don't understand why this is created to be something against women.  Marriage is an equal thing, no one is going to be more trapped than the other.

    ETA: This isn't directed solely at you, I saw someone else said the same thing. You're just the one I quoted. ;)
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  • edited December 2011
    Yeah I don't want any of my rights taken away from me, even though I hope I never have to use them.  Never heard of that before but it seems like a bad idea...then again up until recently you couldn't get a divorce in NY until you proved cause anyway.
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  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_covenant-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:a5a3916a-ccaa-461d-9329-8c7a0939b634Post:af7f1094-5301-4ce0-aa4e-3bb0349d1179">Re: Covenant Marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Covenant Marriage : Why just the women are trapped? The men will be just as trapped if they're in the covenant marriage and there isn't any love (or abuse/adultery necessary to get out).  I just don't understand why this is created to be something against women.  Marriage is an equal thing, no one is going to be more trapped than the other. ETA: This isn't directed solely at you, I saw someone else said the same thing. You're just the one I quoted. ;)
    Posted by Narwhal[/QUOTE]

    You're right, and make a very valid point. That was somewhat sexist of me. I suppose because a lot of religions are/were sexist (and so was marriage at one point in time) - oppressing women and all that noise. I had the medieval image of young women being forced to marry men they didn't love and then being trapped, or something like that.

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  • Hazel_BHazel_B member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    My co-worker is getting divorced right now and she wouldn't fall under what is allowed under the convenant marriage.  They've gone to counselling and he answers questions only to tell her when they leave that he isn't willing to try. And, him leaving her came completely out of the blue.

    It is easier to get around rules than it is principles. I don't know what the future holds, I'd rather have my options open to me.

    Just curious, when they say abuse is that just with the spouse not children? So, if a partner becomes abusive to their children but not spouse, the other person has no ability to divorce them in order to protect their children? Am I understanding this correctly? Or does this fall under the felony category? Seems like a rock and a hard place on that one. Forcing your children to go through all of that in order to press charges against a parent in order to allow a divorce rather than just get them out of the situation.
  • edited December 2011
    We've joked that the only way our marriage would end would be in the big 'D' and I'm not talking divorce.  If there was any adultery or abuse, I would kill him. 
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_covenant-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:a5a3916a-ccaa-461d-9329-8c7a0939b634Post:49f72212-7ca5-4b58-a51a-1329cca03c60">Re: Covenant Marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]We've joked that the only way our marriage would end would be in the big 'D' and I'm not talking divorce.  If there was any adultery or abuse, I would kill him. 
    Posted by **Mutley**[/QUOTE]

    I told FI this and he said  "I don't want to ever hear the word divorce mentioned, period... not happening" and I said "well then behave because that's the alternative" and we laughed!
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  • edited December 2011
    Narwal, I said something about keeping women in marriages.

    Like I said, I've only heard of people opting for this if they are uber-conservative Christians.  The type where  "submitting to the authority of the husband" and "moving from the authority of her father to the authority of her husband" are in the freaking wedding vows.  Such a marriage is not "equal" IMO. So while, yes, a man would be just as trapped in the marriage as his wife, I'm concerned about this being an added restraint on women who are already taught that they are inferior to their husbands.
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  • fontassidyfontassidy member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I wouldn't want a piece of paper I signed, or a religious-based law I bought into, or the federal government telling me what does or does not constitute a legitimate reason for divorce.

    People change, fall out of love, lose their minds etc. etc. and deep, persistent unhappiness or feeling wholly unfulfilled or knowing that you've made a terrible mistake (we're human, it happens) is just as compelling a reason (to me) to leave a marriage as someone committing a felony, or being unfaithful or hitting you.

    I would never consider a covenant marriage.

    I wouldn't ever be GETTING married if I didn't already feel as though I was madly in love and fully committed to doing everything I could to have a happy, healthy and lasting relationship with my future husband. That said, sh*t happens and both husbands and wives should be able to leave an unhealthy, unhappy or otherwise unfulfilling relationship under their own autonomy and free will; not by anyone else's judgment.
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  • run21run21 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Wow good discussion! I looked at you Jeana since you're in LA - that's all. :)

    I liked the points made that divorce should be the last resort in the first place. I think bf and I both value the concept of marriage enough not to need a "special" marriage. Marriage is supposed to mean until death do you part anyway - not until it's inconvenient or not fun anymore.

    Thanks for the good insight - from all sides!
  • jemmini6jemmini6 member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment First Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_covenant-marriage?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:a5a3916a-ccaa-461d-9329-8c7a0939b634Post:075d614f-bc81-4b8d-963c-ed0deeae9f87">Re: Covenant Marriage</a>:
    [QUOTE]NO one? Man I thought that was hilarious.
    Posted by hetshup[/QUOTE]

    I chuckled.  <img src="http://cdn.cl9.vanillaforums.com/downloaded/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-laughing.gif" border="0" alt="Laughing" title="Laughing" />
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  • jemmini6jemmini6 member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment First Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    I've never really heard of anyone getting a covenant marriage here, but I do recall not too long ago, talks about restricting ALL divorces with a mandatory 180 waiting period.  They somehow thought that 6 months might make you rethink your decision to get divorced and that they would be protecting the sanctity of marriage.  First of all, I think that is the wrong end to start on.  My sister is currently filing for a divorce from her husband and I can guarentee you that 6 months is not going to change her (or his) mind. 

    A lot of people argued that they should make that waiting period to get a marriage license.  I still think that the government should keep their noses out of a person's marriage.  If people are really serious about making their marriage work, they will make the effort to either get guided pre-marital counseling, or at least make sure they discuss those issues on their own.  It is really none of the governments business how MY marriage works (or not).
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  • ki10ki10 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Rather than feel that people get divorced too easily, I feel that people get married to easily. That was the mistake; divorce is only a solution. That said, I wouldn't advocate for government interference on either end.

    I fully agree that this law hurts women. Not because women are never the abusers, adulterers or felons, but because of the unequal odds and because of the demographic which pursues covenant marriages. I cannot even imagine trying to prove abuse or adultery to legally end a marriage. My friend was married in a certain religion which shall go unnamed and she's spent the past year trying to get fully out of it, even though he (eventually) blatantly hit her and forced her to stop seeing her friends and family, and lost her her scholarship and job. Legally, t\she was able to get sole custody of her son by proving the abuse, but it sure as hell took awhile.
  • edited December 2011
    My parents have their own version of a covenant marriage - they've been through rough times, but just never considered divorce a reasonable option.

    My Mother had been through 3 divorces growing up (my grandma's quite the gold digger) and she promised she'd never go through it herself.  They dated for 5 years just to be absolutely sure.  She told my Dad on their second date, "I don't believe in divorce.  I believe in murder."

    I've told BF the same thing, and he's also vehemently opposed to getting divorced (as the child of two divorces - his Mom & Dad, and then his Mom & Jack-ass Step-Dad).
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  • edited December 2011
    As far as I'm concerned any state I marry in, my marriage is covenant.  That is the point of marriage!  My BF and I both are Christians so we faithfully believe marriage is not only a contract signed in the presence of witnesses, but it is a covenant with God and each other.  We're in it for the long haul, unless the afore mentioned issues occur (adultery, abuse, felony (which to me is even questionable as to whether it's grounds for divorce), fraud).

    If you go into marriage thinking "If everything goes wrong, we'll just get divorced" you'll probably end up divorced.  If you go into marriage thinking it's a FOREVER and EVER deal, then you're more likely to fight for things and work together and solve issues, rather than just throwing in the towel.

    Divorce is bleh (unless the previously mentioned "deal-breakers" DO happen)!
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