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Do you remember the vows you made to one another on your wedding day?  You may have used traditional vows that have been around for centuries or you may have creatively crafted your own.  In either case, a vow is a solemn promise or pledge that is given to demonstrate a commitment that is made.  It is helpful at this point to review the difference between a marriage contract and a marriage covenant.

Contract: a legal binding between two people, created by a mutual agreement to provide each other with certain benefits as long as both sides continue to uphold their end of the contract

Covenant: a binding between two people by mutual agreement to enter into a relationship and seek out the other person’s best interest regardless of the cost and/or sacrifice to self

two gold-colored rings on paper

While a contract is not necessarily permanent because either party can break the contract, a covenant is made to never be broken.  Through the vows made on the wedding day, a couple covenants with one another to remain faithful and true to the one they have chosen until death parts them.  This is stated in traditional wedding vows: “Will you love him/her, comfort him/her, honor and keep him/her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him/her your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him/her as long as you both shall live?”

It is intriguing to consider the animal kingdom and the commitment that is expressed within particular species.  Among these animals, we find gibbons, swans, black vultures, French angelfish, wolves, albatrosses, termites, prairie voles, turtle doves, and bald eagles – each of which find a mate and commit for life to the one they have chosen.