Friday, May 23, 2008

Is Marriage a Contract or a Covenant?

Is marriage a contract or a covenant?

So many times we hear marriage referred to as a contract. Sometimes it’s even called “just a piece of paper”.

One dictionary definition of a contract is, “A binding agreement between two or more persons that is enforceable by law.” A contract, by definition, is a give/get relationship between two or more parties. You agree to do something and in return you get something for your efforts.

A builder signs a contract stating that he or she will build you a house and in return you agree to pay them a pre-determined amount of money. If the house is not built or the money isn’t paid, then it’s off to court.

Many great things have been accomplished through the use of contracts. A contract essentially attempts to keep honest people honest and dishonest people to a minimum.

A contract can be an extensive five-hundred page document, researched and compiled by top-paid lawyers over a grueling amount of time, listing multiple “what-if..” scenarios and agreed upon outcomes, or it can be a simple verbal agreement bound by a single handshake.

However, in most cases, when two people marry, the signed marriage registration document merely states that the two people mentioned in the document were joined in matrimony. It does not mention anything about things agreed upon – who will give what, and what they will get in return from the other person.

Even the vows don’t contain any “What I will get in return” statements. They only contain what each party will give and not what they will get. This is because love is a very powerful “life force”. It is not just an emotion. When someone truly loves another they don’t count the cost. Parents will risk their own lives without a thought to save the life of even one of their children.

Marriage is a contract in that it binds both people together, but it is much more than that. Marriage is a more like a covenant which is much deeper than a contract. In a marriage covenant, each party agrees to give themselves totally and unconditionally to their partner. It’s an “I’ll be there for you no matter what” attitude. That’s the commitment level required to make a marriage work.

Is this a hard commitment to live out in practice? Ask any marriage that has survived many years and you’ll hear the answer to be a resounding “Yes!” Marriage, like anything good, has to be worked at if it is to succeed and each party enjoy years of fulfilling life with their spouse. Ask those same couples if it was all worth it and you will also hear a resounding “Yes!”

Marriages break down when one or both of the parties consistently fails to live out their commitment to the other and the load is too much to bear for the other partner.

It’s only when both parties live out their married lives to each other as a covenant, and not just a contract, that a marriage can be strong and survive in today’s world.

Living out a full covenant of married love can bring a joy, a strength, a closeness, and a life filled with love that truly lasts until “death do us part”.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Why Do You Need A Wedding Planning Checklist?

With everything you'll have on your mind when you're getting ready for your big day, if you don't have a wedding checklist you're asking for trouble.

No matter how good your memory is you'd be very unwise to rely on it for every little detail you have to remember concerning your wedding.

It's such an important day for you it would be a crying shame if it was spoiled simply because you failed to plan properly in the first place - and a properly constructed checklist is the very best way you can ensure that all of your wedding plans come to fruition.

Creating a wedding checklist tailored to your specific needs and desires will certainly help to relieve the inevitable stress, particularly as the special day gets closer.

Having a well thought out wedding checklist will ensure that you don't forget anything and will enable you to relax, safe in this knowledge, and enjoy the day itself.

Some of the things you should put on your checklist are setting the wedding date and time, reserving the date with a florist, photographer and DJ; reserving the church and reception location. These are the first things that should be done in the planning stages six to twelve months before the wedding day itself.

Other important things for your checklist include planning a budget, choosing the wedding party and ordering the invitations. You also need to make arrangements for a wedding dress, hairdressing and makeup. Not forgetting that you also need to arrange for co-coordinated clothing for your wedding attendants and, of course, you need to arrange the all-important wedding rings with a jeweler.

All of the above major things should be arranged as early as possible so that you have plenty of time for the small details later.

Don't forget to ensure that you put reminders on your list for closer to the date. Reminders for ordering your wedding flowers, the wedding cake, addressing and sending invitations, a final fitting for the wedding dress and groom's outfit and placing a wedding announcement in the local press etc.

About a month to six weeks before your big day you should go over your wedding checklist to make absolutely sure you haven't forgotten anything.

There are, of course, many more things than those listed above that you will need to put on your specific wedding planning checklist that are personal to your wedding, but the above will give you an idea of the things you need to include.

Remember, as long as you keep yourself organized with a checklist and give yourself plenty of time to complete each task, you'll have the ultimate reward of a happier and more stress-free wedding day.