Difference between a Contract and the Covenant of Marriage

People get into marriage for various reasons.No matter what persuaded you to change your mind from singlehood to coupling, one thing is for sure. You are already bonded and connected to your spouse in everything you do and in any place you go. You are now known as someone who is “the husband of” or “the wife of” another person.

You need to realize that marriage is not just an event in your life. It is both a contract and a covenant between two people. Let us tell the difference between the two.

Difference between a Contract and the Covenant of Marriage


Aren’t a contract and a covenant the same? Are they supposed to have the same meanings?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a contract is a binding agreement between parties. On the other hand, a covenant is a formal, solemn, and binding agreement. It is also a promise, usually under seal, between two parties regarding the performance of some action.

Both a contract and a covenant refer to a binding agreement. These are terms that describe a mutual decision between two people to go into an arrangement. But what differentiates a covenant from a contract is the solemnity and the formality of the agreement.

Characteristics of a Contract

1.A contract is often under a limited amount of time.

When you enter into a contract with somebody, such as a rental, it usually has a time limit. You need to renew a contract in order to continue using the place, apartment, or building. If two parties do not agree to sign the contract, one will not receive the payment while the other will not be able to reap the benefits of the rental.

2.A contract requires a particular action from both parties.

A contract usually demands fulfillment of an action from both parties. If one or both do not give the required action based on the contract, the agreement becomes null and void.

3.A contract’s motivation is to get something in return.

You are supposed to receive something in a contract. You will not agree with someone and be in a contract if you think that you are losing something of value. This type of agreement is often seen as pointing toward self rather than others.

4.A contract builds a “receive first, give later” mindset.

A contract often develops a mentality wherein you need to receive something before giving something in return. You can’t invest in something unless you know that the price for it will provide satisfaction and gratification.

Characteristics of a Covenant

1.A covenant is pure and righteous.

A covenant is not treated as just any other contract. It is a pure and righteous agreement between two parties wherein both are expected to handle it with care and reverence.

2.A covenant considers the benefit of the other person rather than yourself.

Two people who are in a covenant with each other look out for the benefit and welfare of their partner. Instead of seeing and checking what you will get in the agreement, you are evaluating what you can offer your partner.

3.A covenant is based on love.

You can enter any contract without any emotion at all. But with a covenant, you are investing your time and emotions in your pact. A lot more is at stake in a covenant compared to a contract because love is involved. A covenant’s foundation lies on how deep the love is between the parties.

4.A covenant is viewed as permanent.

A covenant does not demand a time limit. You expect a covenant to last a lifetime. No deadlines, no renewals, and a full-time commitment. When you get into a covenant with someone, you are telling that person that you pledge yourself to him or her indefinitely.

5.Is marriage a covenant or a contract?

The answer to this question will depend highly on how you see marriage. You need to ask yourself these questions in order to know which type of marriage you are in right now.

Do you love your spouse?

If you love your husband or wife, I can say that you are in a covenant marriage. You are not in it for any other reason than just to be with him or her for the rest of your lives. It does not matter what each of you does, or how much money you earn for the family. What counts is the relationship and the love that you want to give him or her.

Do you care about the bank account of your spouse?

It is not wrong to look out for your own welfare when getting married. You and I probably want to be with someone who is responsible and who will help us in managing the finances of the house.

But wanting to get married for the sole reason of wanting the riches of your spouse is a different matter. Love is not present in the relationship. You want to be in a legal contract with this person in order to get his or her money.

A covenant marriage overlooks the financial status of the person. You are both establishing new lives together as married people. It can be a new beginning for both of you. Instead of focusing on what you will get, you are putting your mind to what you can achieve as a couple.

Do you look forward to what you can offer your husband or wife?

A covenant marriage is more of an outward expression than an inward motivation. You want to give love, which is why you want to get married to this particular person. Of course, you want to get the same kind of care that you give your spouse. But people in covenant marriages do not measure the amount of benefit they receive in the relationship.

You want to offer time, affection, appreciation, and service to your spouse. Giving time means prioritizing him or her over your work or interests. Affection means being physically and emotionally intimate with your spouse.

Showing your appreciation is going out of your way to regularly compliment your partner and making him or her feel special even if they think that they are not. A covenant marriage also means being available and of service to him or her as much as possible.

Are you willing to forgive?

A contract usually has a set of requirements that must be met for it to be fulfilled and continued. Once one or both parties decide not to follow the contents of the contract, the agreement becomes useless and void.

A covenant is different in the way that your spouse can break their vows and promises once or multiple times and you still choose to stay in it. You are willing to forgive and give your partner another chance to redeem himself.

Forgiveness is naturally difficult for most people, because we often lookout for ourselves more. We tend to get angry when the other side of the deal is not being met. But a covenant marriage is built out of love for each other. You will learn to forgive your spouse because that is what a loving person does.

Do you want to sweat it out and not let go of your relationship with your spouse, no matter what?

A covenant marriage means making a promise to someone to be with him or her for the rest of your lives. It is a sacred vow that you will cherish and adhere to no matter what happens and whatever season you are into.

Giving up is not part of your vocabulary. You have made a covenant with this person and you are willing to exhaust all efforts to make it all work. Your goal is to continually build your relationship and make sure that your foundations are intact. Getting out of the marriage is not an option for you. You want to fix problems, discuss any issues or concerns, and stick it out with your spouse.

If your answer for all those questions is yes, then you are in a covenantal marriage. You decided that you are in it for the long haul. You love your spouse and your only desire is to continuously build your relationship.


You have to choose whether your marriage with another person is a contract or a covenant. Are you looking out for yourself or for your husband or wife? Do you love your spouse more than life itself?

Show your utmost care, understanding and respect for your spouse by providing him or her with a covenantal marriage. He or she deserves to be loved back. Time must be spent, emotions must be invested, and plans must be shared. A covenant marriage is the greatest gift that you can give your partner each and every day.