Marriage is a covenant, much like God’s covenant with his people. God’s steadfast and undying love for his people is mirrored by the steadfast and undying love that two marital partners will share, ideally. A covenant is much more than an agreement between two parties. In the bible, covenants typically involve a more powerful party agreeing to protect a less powerful party, such as God and humans. This idea of covenant is displayed in marriage if you look at traditional gender roles, where the husband provides for and protects his wife. Obviously in the twenty-first century, these traditional gender roles are mostly a thing of the past. However, even though it is no longer one strong party protecting a weaker party, marriage still is a covenant as opposed to a contract. This is because a covenant is founded on unconditional faith, whereas a contract is founded on a more conditional promise of faith. Marriage is similar to God’s covenant with his people in that it is permanent and unwavering. However, in recent years, the rising rates of divorce have caused marriage to become less of a covenant and more of a contract that can be easily broken. Different attempts to restore marriage to its covenantal ways have been implemented, such as covenant marriage, with varying success. The Second Vatican Council also tried to remind Christians that even with high rates of divorce, marriage is meant to be a covenant, not a contract. As a covenant, marriage is a sacred bond between two people that is meant to survive until death. It is more than just a relationship that lasts until one person gets tired of the other. Marriage is a union founded on love and devotion to each other. Two people don’t simply get married because it is convenient for the both of them or because they are afraid of being alone. Marriage involves the coming together of two individuals to form one unit dedicated to trust and unconditional love, among Christians and non-Christians as well. “Covenants bind people together in lasting communities of spirit and flesh, sweat and blood” (Jones), in which the two parties share in an undying faith in one another. A spouse lifts his partner up in his struggles and supports her through the good times and the bad. The marriage vow that a couple makes to each other on its wedding day is a symbol of the covenant that will forever unite the couple in its bond. Marriage vows are sacred words that represent the devotion and love that one shares with his partner. Married couples “give themselves to one another in loyal love”, similar to the idea that Christians give themselves up to God. Marriage as a covenant is similar to the concept of a community. Members of a community are committed to each other, caring for their safety and prosperity and requiring their love to achieve the highest form of happiness. In an even stronger way, marriage is a holy communion between two people in which each person is fulfilled by the love and support he gets from his spouse. The bond of marriage serves with God as its witness, in the sense that he assures that “the terms of the treaty, alliance, or covenant will be carried out” (Palmer). Since the beginning of the Church, Christian men and women have been sharing in the vows of marriage; but, in this modern age, marriage has come to be considered less of a covenant, and more of a contract. Today’s high divorce rates suggest the idea that marriage is no longer the sacred, lifelong bond that it was years ago. The modern view of marriage is comparable to the idea of a contract. A contract involves two parties coming to terms in a mutual agreement. However, a contract is a conditional agreement that can be broken and dissolved “by failure to live up to the terms of the contract, by civil intervention” (Palmer). These days, half the marriages aren’t built to last for a number of reasons, and some couples are more inclined to get divorced than try to work through their problems and fix their marriages. The vow that couples make on their wedding days end up ringing hollow as they break the covenant that they swore to each other. The most recent generation also finds monogamy to be a somewhat unrealistic venture, choosing to stay clear of marriage in favor of a “single” lifestyle. It is evident that marriage is no longer the same institution that it was years ago. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church maintains that marriage is a covenant “effecting a relationship that is binding and inviolable” (Palmer). Fidelity is the essence of covenant that continues to join couples together in matrimony. Marriage as a covenant is “a reflection of the loving covenant uniting Christ with the Church, and a participation in that covenant" (Palmer). The Vatican also released an exhortation on marriage just a few weeks ago on April 8, 2016 called Amoris laetitia. While we have not had enough time to digest the entire document, the Vatican expresses in the text its views on the power of love in marriage. As one of the sacraments, marriage draws Catholics closer to Christ and allows couples to work together to grow in their faith. While it may have lost some of its spiritual essence, the institution of marriage reflects a certain stability and powerful relationship between two people that will continue for generations to come. Covenant marriage is a different type of marriage that is legal in the states of Louisiana, Arizona, and Arkansas. It is harder to enter and exit than traditional marriage. People entering into a covenant marriage have to go to marriage counseling to ensure they are a good match, and for a covenant couple to get a divorce, they need to have specific grounds for the divorce and a trial separation period. It is meant to revitalize the institution of marriage, which has been weakened in recent years and lost some of its value due to high rates of divorce. The proponents of covenant marriage thought that the current system of marriage is not taken as seriously as it should be. In looking how to fix marriage, they looked to the bible, where the golden standard for relationships can be found: God’s covenant with his people. Covenant marriage is inspired by the biblical covenant because it is more unconditional than standard marriage. Although standard marriage is meant to be an unconditional bond of love based off of God’s love for his people, in recent years it has lost a lot of that unconditional nature. Covenant marriage is an attempt at bringing marriage back to its covenantal roots. Studies have been done, such as the one by DeMaris et al., that look at the success of covenant marriage. Covenant couples have been found to have a divorce rate that is about half as high as that of standard couples. Covenant couples have also been found to only be slightly more satisfied with their marriages. Although there is little evidence that covenant couples are much happier than standard marriage couples, it is important to note that “there is no evidence of covenant couples being trapped in unhappier marriages than their standard marriage counterparts by virtue of having made a more binding marital commitment” (DeMaris et al., 2012). While it is a good idea to attempt to restore marriage to its covenantal nature, covenant marriage may not be the best way. Many people fear that introducing a different definition of marriage will pave the way for other forms of marriage, such as polygamy, to become legal. Covenant marriage, despite being an attempt to revitalize the institution of marriage, does not have much traction within the Catholic faith because Catholics believe that all marriage is in fact a covenant, and making a separate type of marriage that is seen to be more of a covenant than standard marriage implies that not all marriage is equally covenantal (Yarber, 2009). Marriage is a covenant because it is conceived by a passionate love similar to the love that God has for his children. God’s covenant with humanity was not founded by the terms of a contract but by the unconditional love that he feels for each one of us. While marriage may have lost some of its true significance in this modern age, it will continue to symbolize an unconditional love between two people.