Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Covenant Marriage Law

I read a story the other day where Alabama is contemplating a "covenant marriage option." Basically, when you get your marriage license in Alabama, you can opt for a "covenant marriage." This option would not allow you to divorce for "irreconcilable differences" or to have a "no-fault divorce." This means that the only way to divorce is to have a very, very good, provable reason. I am intrigued by this proposal.

First, let me say that I believe marriage already IS a covenant. I also believe the government should have very, very little to do with marriages. I know they have intertwined themselves in the process through tax codes and priveleges for couples. I don't think they should. God established marriage as a covenant. There are lots and lots of scriptures that describe His plan for marriage. That said, at its core, all a marriage really is is a promise between two people to be true to each other, love each other, and share a life together. How you interpret the specifics is going to be shaded by your religious (or lack of religious) beliefs. I happen to believe that anything that strays from God's very specific plan is not, in fact, a true "marriage", regardless of what you call it. That said, the government does not have the authority to discriminate. When they started giving incentives for marriage, they opened up a can of worms. That is just my opinion.

So, should there be a law that gives you the option for a marriage that is harder to break? The proponents think it will force people that go for that option to work through the tough times. You can't just end the marriage when it gets tough. What are the risks? What if you opt for the covenant marriage and then discover your spouse had something hidden? You have to prove it in order to get away from them. This means more court cases. At least with a no-fault divorce, the divorce itself is relatively easy (settlement of assets and child custody may not be, but the divorce is). How much more complicated will it be for a covenant marriage to be ended? Perhaps this is a moot point. Perhaps there won't be any covenant marriages broken. I don't know. Perhaps the private investigator business will boom in Alabama!

On the flip side, I applaud Alabama for trying SOMETHING to secure the family. There is overwhelming evidence that both parents at home gives children a tremendous advantage in many areas of development and achievement. That said, if the parents are terrible for each other, still choose to have a kid, raise that kid in a home filled with discord and arguments because the mom can not actually "prove" the husband is lousy, is that really better than a no-fault divorce? I don't know. All I do know is that Alabama is at least trying to strengthen the family. They have at least taken a step to fight for what is good. AND they didn't do it in such a way as to be oppressive. You have the OPTION to get into this agreement. You do not HAVE to do it. It shouldn't cost much, if anything, to implement up front (just may cost after a while with increased court time, unseen as of now). Why not give that option?

1 comment:

Cynthia W. Harmon said...

I love you and thank you for the Covenant we have made!

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