The Marriage Covenant

William C. Brownson

READ : Malachi 2:13-16

You shall not commit adultery. (Ex. 20:14)

God makes himself known in the Scriptures as a God of covenant. He enters graciously into agreements with his people, binding himself with solemn promises, ever faithful to his pledged word.

They, in response, are called to be covenant-keepers. One of the arenas for that fidelity is marriage. An adulteress is one who “forsakes the partner of her youth and forgets her sacred covenant” (Proverbs 2:17). God speaks in witness against a man who puts away his wife: “to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14).

Marriage is a solemn commitment in which the partners exchange promises. They often give rings as signs of that covenant. Their central calling in marriage is faithfulness—to a vow, a person, and a loving relationship.

The tragedy of divorce is a broken covenant, with broken hearts for everyone involved. The madness of adultery is the betrayal of one we have promised to love best, and the sacrifice of our human dignity as covenant-keepers.

Ask those who give up on faithfulness if it brought them the happiness and fulfillment they sought. And what of the abandoned spouse and children? Are they well served by this? God knows how good life can be in a loving, faithful marriage. No wonder he warns us against adultery.


O God who keeps promises, help us to be faithful!