The Covenant...for Kayla

Every time someone near to my heart gets married I recall a study I did in 2006 called, Wisdom for Mothers by Denise Glenn and how impacting that study was on me spiritually, maternally and maritally. Even today, the application from this study still impacts our families' lives. In this study I learned the symbolic steps of making a covenant relationship and wish to share them with my dear future sister-in-law. I wish I had known the significance of common wedding ceremony rituals when I married the engineer.
Marriage is a blood covenant between a man and woman who choose to become husband and wife. It is the most binding covenant any two people can enter into. Once committed to the only way out of it is by death by one or both of the covenant makers. It is something never to be entered into lightly.
Researching blood covenants, scholars claim there are anywhere between seven to nine steps in making a blood covenant. Not all steps need to be completed but at least two for the covenant to be binding.
Here are the traditional steps in making a blood covenant:
1. The Exchange of Robes
The exchange of robe symbolizes putting on the identity of the covenant partner: "I put on you and you put on me." Traditionally, the couple exchanges rings. Wedding rings are worn to identify that they are married.
2. The Exchange of Weapon Belts
The exchange of weapons is symbolic of the covenant partners defending one another from enemies. A wife is in an covenant with her husband. He is to protect and defend her and she is to protect and defend him. Your husband's biggest enemy if Satan. Your greatest defense is to pray. Ephesians 6:10-20 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 are great scriptures to pray for your husband on a regular basis.
3. The Exchange of Vows
This exchange is a formal, solemn, binding vow. It is spoken between the two covenant partners and is permanently binding. When you take your marriage vows before God and witnesses, you enter into a sacred covenant with your husband. 
..if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10
This is our verbal vow to God, confessing Him as our Savior out loud which flows out of the heart. Marriage vows too should be a verbal affirmation because of the inner conviction in the heart. 
 4. The Exchange of all belongings when and if needed
This exchange puts everything on the table. What's the wife's is the husbands. What the husband has is now the wife's. All property is now common. However, the greater significance here is each covenant partner giving his strength to the other partner. You will carry your husband when he is weak and he likewise.
5. The Exchange of Names
In marriage, we put on our partner's identity. Traditionally, at the end of the wedding ceremony, the pastor turns to the witnesses and announces the new name of the couple. At that moment, the wife puts on her husband's identity. 
6. The Exchange of Blood
This exchange is the most binding and sacred of all steps. It seals the covenant relationship. In Genesis 15:9-18, we read how Abraham cut the heifer & goat, then prepared them with doves and pigeons as a sacrifice to God. Blood was on the ground, and then God Himself passed through the pieces of flesh, sealing the covenant. He had promised to make Abraham into a great nation.
When you walk down the aisle between two covenanting families, it is for you the aisle of blood covenant. Just as the animals were cut into pieces, your family and your husband's family sit on opposite sides forming an aisle and as you make your way down the aisle, you leave behind your old single life and enter into a new life. It is a walk that will forever change your life. When you arrive at the end of the aisle and take your husbands' hand walking toward the alter, realize that something has died. On every altar there is a sacrifice. You die to singleness, self-centeredness and selfishness. 
Cutting of the cake is symbolic of the cutting of the flesh of the husband and wife's bodies. But the bridal suite is where the actual covenant is cut. When you enter into physical union with your husband, the two of you cut the covenant through the shedding of your blood Your legs form and "aisle" for your husband's body to pass through to cut the covenant.
7. The Covenant Celebration Meal
The celebration meal is a feast to celebrate the union of the covenant partners. It is another symbol of the covenant parties becoming one. It usually consists of bread and wine that signify that the two have become one. Often eating cake (and feeding it to one another) signifies that part of each of us has gone into the other. When you drink wine from a common cup, it indicates that your blood has gone into each other since the life is in the blood, you demonstrate that you have taken each other's lives into yourself.
    8. The Mark of the Covenant
    This mark becomes a permanent reminder of the union between you and your husband. These are your future children. They will be a constant testamony to the fact that two have become one!
    Don't overlook the significance of the wedding ceremony as a permanent covenant between you and your husband. Make a conscience choice to close the backdoor on divorce. There is no way out of the covenant except through death.

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