Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Friday, November 22, 2013

Have You Considered a Covenant Marriage?

If you feel like you’re fighting against the odds to keep your marriage intact, you might be able to breathe a little easier. It is no longer true that half of all marriages end in divorce. That’s good news!

Research has shown that the divorce rate is smaller than that – it maxed out at 41 percent back in the 1980s, and it’s currently on the decline. And if you’re a pair of college grads, you have a far greater chance of making it to that golden anniversary – your odds of staying married may be more like 75 percent. That’s also good news. It sounds like more couples are taking the big step to getting married more seriously. That’s good news too!

Covenantmarriage2“With the taste of wedding cake barely off their lips, divorce is the last thought – or word – on newlyweds’ minds. But as the honeymoon period wanes, and day-to-day difficulties crop up, the word can come up frequently during arguments for some couples, say relationship counselors.” ~ Kathleen Doheny

Being married requires some sacrifices. Things change when you say, “I do!” The couples who stay together are the ones who take the commitments they make in their wedding ceremony seriously. They are both “committed” to the idea of being together for the rest of their lives. That’s a powerful commitment that when made is intended to vanquish any and all ideas of a divorce anytime in the future.

I encourage all couples who are considering marriage to check out a “Covenant Marriage” which by Arizona Law requires couples who opt for a covenant marriage to get at least one hour of coaching before a license is purchased. Covenant is defined as a formal and serious agreement or promise. Arizona, has followed Louisiana in approving covenant marriages, in which couples voluntarily impose limits on their ability to divorce. These laws attempt to put the brakes on quickie divorces by fostering a renewed commitment to having a long-term marriage. (Arizona law went into effect, August 21, 1998. See ARS 25-901).

Although the Arizona Covenant Marriage is law, it is your option to choose to have a Covenant Marriage. The law governs the “requirements” of a Covenant Marriage. In essence, a covenant marriage gives couples the option of spurning no-fault divorce; they sign binding contracts that require premarital counseling from a minister or a marriage counselor and permit divorce only in cases of abuse, abandonment, adultery, imprisonment of a spouse or a lengthy separation. When applying for a license to be married in Arizona, both persons must show their intention to enter into a covenant marriage by signing a special statement (or “declaration”) on the application form.

CovenantMarriageIn premarital counseling, both people must be advised that a covenant marriage is a commitment for life. Premarital counseling also must include a discussion of the seriousness of covenant marriage, the legal requirement to seek marriage counseling if marital difficulties develop and the limited legal reasons available for ending the marriage by legal separation or divorce.

Why do I recommend a covenant marriage or at least, a coaching session before marriage? I’ve been a relationship coach since 1995. I’ve pretty much heard and seen it all. Some people begin contemplating divorce over the silliest things. Many of the things that people come to me for coaching could have been spotted in a premarital coaching session and suggestions about how to work through issues would have been given.

As you probably know, I am a non-denominational Minister/Wedding Officiant and have married hundreds of couples. Coaching is never required. Why? A person convinced against their will, is of the same opinion still. Benjamin Franklin said that. He’s right. If couples cannot see the benefit of coaching, and are forced into it, very little results can follow. I recommend it, but do not require it because of that. You can also do premarital coaching without a covenant marriage.

Making a marriage work takes lots of effort. It requires working together. Couples who are intent on staying together must always to whatever it takes to make their relationship work!

One more thing… Don’t use the “D word!” Never, I repeat, NEVER say the word “DIVORCE” unless you are ready to file the papers. It raises another level of anxiety that should not be considered when you are intent on staying together.

BONUS Article: Arizona Covenant Marriage Law & Requirements
Tie Up Your Loose Ends Before You Tie The Knot

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

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