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Covenant marriages: Marriage with a difference:
Harder to get into, harder to get out of.

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bullet "I really, really do." Title of an article on Covenant Marriages by Roy Maynard. 1
bullet "This gives an extra comfort level to a generation of children who grew up under no-fault divorce laws. These kids know what divorce can do to a family. They've lived it." State representative. Tony Perkins (R-LA). 1
bullet A covenant marriage "may turn out to be a horror story...if you have an abusive situation or molestation that might occur. It's a step back in time in terms of making it difficult for someone-especially women-to get out of a bad situation." Joe Cook, head of the ACLU in Louisiana. 1
bullet Covenant marriage has "...made it more final; more sure. It's a little more exciting. We know this is really for life. We're not thinking, in the back of our minds, what if this doesn't work out? So in a lot of ways, it's even more romantic." Pam LeBlanc, one of the first covenant marriage brides in Louisiana, 1997. 1

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This series of essays examines covenant marriages from all points of view -- both positive and negative. Some visitors to this web site may not be comfortable with this approach, because it exposes them to viewpoints that are opposed to their own.

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Covenant marriage (CM) is an alternative form of marriage which opposite-sex couples can choose in place of regular marriage. It is more difficult to get into and more difficult to escape from via divorce.

CM legislation is basically a return to the marriage law prior to the introduction of no-fault divorce. A divorce normally requires one spouse to prove that the other spouse is guilty of adultery or abuse. Marriage breakdown, as evidenced by a period of marital separation, is an alternative ground for divorce. But the interval required can be quite long. An additional feature of CM is the requirement for premarital counseling, and perhaps pre-separation counseling. 

Covenant marriages are not expected to have much of an effect on the national divorce rate:

bullet Only a very small percentage of couples are choosing them in states where they are available. By the end of 2001, "Fewer than 3 percent of couples who marry in Louisiana and Arizona take on the extra restrictions of marriage by covenant. 2 The vast majority choose to select "ordinary" marriage with its access to easy, no-fault divorce.
bullet The covenant marriage rates appear to be in rapid decline. For the interval 2003-JAN-01 to MAY-20, only four new covenant marriage licenses were issued in Arkansas out of a total of 11,037 licenses. 3
bullet Covenant marriages are currently only available in three states of the U.S.: Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

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Topics covered in this section:

bullet Introduction: Overview, covenant marriage movement
bullet History: Origins and decline
bullet Additional information on marriage, divorce and covenant marriages
bullet Status of state legislation
bullet The experience in Louisiana
bullet Study of covenant marriage in Louisiana
bullet Internet links and books

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Site navigation:

Home > "Hot" topics > Marriage > here

or Home > Religious info > Basic religious info > Religious practices > Marriage > here

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  1. Roy Maynard, " 'I really, really do:' Louisiana law makes marriage and divorce more difficult." at:
  2. "Covenant Marriages," National Center for Policy Analysis," 2001-DEC-05, at:
  3. Sheri & Bob Stritof, "Covenant Marriage Statistics,", at:

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Copyright 2001 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-DEC-12
Latest update: 2008-JAN-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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