The Covenant Marriage Movement (CMM), a network of more than 50 Church and Para-Church ministries, designated Feb. 15 as Covenant Marriage Sunday 2004. During the worship services, CMM hopes members from their 50,000 affiliated congregations will join hands and hearts to celebrate marriage a covenant relationship, rather than a legal contract.
"Contracts are based on rights and responsibilities and are motivated by self-interests rather than on unconditional love," the CMM website, www.covenantmarriage.com, stated.
The effort began in lieu of the battle against the legalization of homosexual unions and the ever-increasing divorce rate within the nation and within the Church.
"[The Covenant Marriage Movement's] desire is not so much to change the American culture as it is to change the culture of the church -- the bride of Christ. As we, the bride of Christ, are called back to the adherence to marriage as a covenant, then society will be impacted by our witness,” said Phil Waugh, director of CMM.
Phil Waugh says there is one key step Christians must take: returning to a solid adherence to God's design for marriage as a covenant relationship. Therefore, participants to the service will reaffirm the covenant of marriage; Couples would commit to grow together in God's design for marriage, rather than acquiescing to society’s understanding of marriage as a contract.
"Just because you got married in a church doesn't mean you are in a covenant marriage," Waugh said.
Couples who affirm the CMM's statement of marriage as a covenant may become part of an international registry. The CMM currently has over 27,000 couples listed with the registry.
To become a part of the registry, couples sign a commitment card affirming the CMM's statement of marriage as a covenant: "Believing that marriage is a covenant intended by God to be a lifelong, fruitful relationship between a man and a woman, we vow to God, with each other, our families, and our community to remain steadfast in unconditional love, reconciliation and sexual purity while purposefully growing in our covenant marriage relationship."
Churches can also become part of an International Network of Covenant Marriage Congregations by collectively affirming their belief in marriage as a covenant and by providing the CMM with the church's information and the name of a representative couple to serve as contacts.
CMM developed a kit to assist churches in planning and promoting Covenant Marriage Sunday. The kit contains posters, bulletin inserts, and commitment cards for couples to sign, among other resources. For ongoing education on the topic of marriage as a covenant, the kit contains a 12-week Bible study called "Covenant vs. Contract: Experiencing God's Blessing In and Through Your Marriage."
“Our mission is for ongoing support,” said Waugh, noting that “lots of times people go to these large events, but when they return to their local church there is no support.”
To obtain a Congregational Kit for Covenant Marriage Sunday, or for more information on the Covenant Marriage Movement, call 1-800-311-1662 or e-mail [email protected]