Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Covenant Marriage

Rosjuane and I discussed this a few days ago, and she knew nothing about it. I was wondering how many others don't either, so here's a blog. When Mike Huckabee did the big shindig in Little Rock on Valentine's day, I really wanted to do it, but it requires counseling and etc to convert, and I didn't have time. We did have a one session sit down talk with Bro. Kenny Worbington, but not what I would call counseling. Next year is my 10 year anniversary, and I plan to do it then. I have been thinking it over since about '05.

In 2001, Arkansas became the third state, along with Louisiana and Arizona, to offer a Covenant Marriage (CM) option for couples getting married.

Arkansas' Covenant Marriage law offers couples the freedom to choose to be held to a higher level of marital commitment. Couples choosing a Covenant Marriage will take extra steps of preparation for a lifelong commitment.
Couples must receive marriage counseling prior to receiving a marriage license, including a discussion of the seriousness of Covenant Marriage. There is no minimum number of counseling hours required and the content of the counseling is not specified, except that the responsibilities of CM are to be explained.

Additionally, these couples will agree, up-front, that if their marriage should ever run into trouble, they will seek marriage counseling before a divorce will be granted. While couples are still required to take "reasonable" steps to preserve their marriage, including marriage counseling, nothing in the bill requires couples to seek counseling together so women in abusive relationships won't be trapped.

Both pre-marital counseling and marriage counseling can be provided by any clergy of any religious sect or a designated representative, a marriage educator approved by the person performing the marriage, licensed professional counselors and associate counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, associate marriage and family therapists, and licensed clinical psychologists.

Additionally, Covenant Marriages offer more limited grounds for divorce. Couples in a Covenant Marriage will not be able to seek divorce based on the ground of general indignities. If "separation" is the ground for divorce under a Covenant Marriage, couples will have to live separate and apart for a greater length of time before seeking divorce. Under the current law, couples must live separate and apart for eighteen continuous months without cohabitation. That is increased to two years for a Covenant Marriage couple and two and half years if the couple has minor children.

Under a Covenant Marriage, a couple may seek divorce only after receiving counseling and only for the following reasons:

Adultery by the other spouse

Commission of a felony or other infamous crime by the other spouse

Physical or sexual abuse of the spouse or of a child of either spouse

Additionally, Covenant Marriage couples may divorce following a period of separation:

The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for two years.

If there are minor children involved, the couple must have been living separate and apart for two years and six months from the date the judgment for judicial separation was signed.
If abuse of a child was the basis for judicial separation, the couple must live separate and apart for only one year from the date the judgment was signed.

Converting Existing marriages to Covenant Marriage
Already-married couples have the option of converting their marriages to Covenant Marriage. To do so, couples will first consult a counselor, including a minister or designated layperson, to become informed about the requirements and responsibilities of Covenant Marriage. Couples converting to a Covenant Marriage will voluntarily subject themselves to the limited divorce grounds and counseling requirements.


Tiffany August 5, 2008 at 3:12:00 PM CDT  

I think it's a great idea. My sister has this type of marriage and I think the counseling the received prior to their marriage was a big asset to their relationship.
It's nice for couples to realize upfront that marriage is not something to take lightly. It's a serious LIFE TIME commitment that takes work. Hopefully the stringent requirements will save some marriages from divorce.

Mandy August 5, 2008 at 5:01:00 PM CDT  

My sister and her husband did this in '05. I think it's a fine idea, but don't see it necessary for us. I know we're together forevah.. no matter how easy or hard it would be to get divorced.

We received some marriage counseling before we walked down the aisle and I think that should almost be mandatory for anyone seeking a marriage license. Even a little is better than none, and I actually found it a bit fun! We still talk about the lessons we learned 8 years ago and how they impacted our entire marraige. It really is helpful!

Shelley August 5, 2008 at 5:02:00 PM CDT  

well I don't think it's necessary for anyone, but I do think it's just one more vow of committment, so I am all for that.

MInTheGap August 6, 2008 at 10:00:00 AM CDT  

This is a really good idea, and a neat way to restore some value back into marriage.

Until Death do us Part doesn't mean 5 months.

bowling1 August 6, 2008 at 1:04:00 PM CDT  

This is a great idea. My husband and I will be married 18 years in December. It is a work in progress...that means everyday working to keep it going or working at trying to fix the issue at hand.

My opinion is that now-a-days it is just too easy to sit and say I CAN'T DO THIS or I QUITE insted of saying LET'S WORK THROUGH THIS.

Nyla August 6, 2008 at 1:29:00 PM CDT  

I hope I don't sound crazy here...but I don't get it. Isn't all of this what marriage is suppose to be?

Shelley August 6, 2008 at 1:32:00 PM CDT  

yep, it is. I think if the counseling is done right, it might make people reconsider getting married....maybe to wait, maybe to call it off, who knows, but I think that is a important aspect. I like that already married people are asked to do annual couple retreats. I would like to say "it's in the contract, honey" lol!

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