In my last Blog entry, I discussed what a Covenant of Companionship was. I would like to show what that could look like in the details with this entry. The Covenant, after all, should reflect biblical commitments to one another.

One of the resources I came across many years ago was Gary and Ricucci’s Love That Make a Magnificent Marriage. They included in the book their version of a covenant of companionship. (Ricucci, 1992):

My commentary will be in italics. When you work through this, look up every Scripture reference. Note that most of the commentary for the husband will also apply to the wife.

A Husband’s Covenant Commitment

Leave my father and mother to become one with you (Ephesians 5:31).

Ephesians 5:31 echoes Genesis 2:18-25.

•   Have you as my very own wife (I Corinthians 7:2).

This means no flirting, no personal chit-chat with another woman about your marriage, and no meeting alone with another woman for business if you can avoid it. Taking common sense steps avoids what is called “emotional adultery.”

•   Be one with you as the Father and Son are one so that our unity will cause the world to believe in God (John 17:23).

Your Covenant of companionship should be evident to others, especially non-Christians with little to no understanding of a covenant of companionship.

•   Never divorce you (I Corinthians 7:11). 

If you have the “card” of divorce in the back of your mind for any reason, chances are you will be tempted to play it.

Love you just as Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).

•   Exercise headship and responsibility for you (Ephesians 5:23).

A husband must never forget that the authority/headship he has has been delegated to him by God, and to God, he is responsible for how he exercises it. A husband who takes authority seriously is neither a harsh tyrant nor a leadership abdicator. He wants to be like Jesus in the exercise of his authority.

•   Love you as I love myself (Ephesians 5:28)

Even as redeemed people, we struggle with selfishness. Paul reminds us that we love ourselves too much (as Jesus reminded us) and should love our neighbor way too much. Our closest neighbor is the person with whom we have a covenant of companionship.

•   Protect and provide for you (nourish) and cultivate you with care and affection (cherish) (1 Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 5:29).

The word cherish means to keep warm or foster with tender care, which is how Jesus cares for his sheep.

•   Never deprive you of sex except by mutual consent for the purpose of prayer (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).

Sex in marriage is oriented toward the other person. It’s to be mutual.

•   Rule and manage our household well (1 Timothy 3:4).

This requires sound Bible knowledge and practice. A good Bible teaching can help.

•   Sanctify you to present you to God without spot or blemish (Ephesians 5:26-27).

You are to be concerned with your wife’s sanctification (as well as your children (Eph. 6:4). Sometimes the wife is the better theologian. The solution, husband, is not to put her down but to catch up and learn! Again, an excellent Bible-teaching church should be concerned with raising godly, knowledgeable husbands and men.

•   Submit to you out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).

The passage does not contradict verse 22. The ESV Study Bible explains the meaning well. 

What Paul meant by submitting “to one another” is explained through the particular examples of family relations (5:22–6:4), so it is likely that submitting to one another means “submitting to others according to the authority and order established by God,” as reflected in the examples that Paul gives in the following verses.

•   Regard you as more important than myself (Philippians 2:3) 

This is another check on self-centeredness. Paul said we should have this attitude with all believers; how much more with the person you have a covenant of companionship with?

Always be considerate of you, honoring you and valuing you as precious (1 Peter 3:7).

Be a student of your wife. Seek to live in harmony with her and to understand her. When you look up 1 Peter 3:7, include verses 8-9. Verses 8-9 apply to all Christians, so again, how much more to your wife, your Covenant of companionship partner?

  Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

The context of the passage speaks of maturity and sound doctrine. A husband should know what is sound and what is not and speak the truth lovingly.

•   Pursue personal maturity as I grow up in Christ (Ephesians 4:15).

  • Resist the urge to return evil for evil or insult for insult, but give a blessing instead (1 Peter 3:9).

To give a blessing means to speak well of. Couples will disagree, but they should always realize they are allies in a fight against sin. Therefore, when tensions rise, they should never forget to speak well of one another.

•   Resolve any anger toward you rather than holding it in (Ephesians 4:26).

Keep short accounts with one another. It avoids grudge-bearing and bitterness.

•   Love you without harshness or bitterness (Colossians 3:19).

Husbands, this a command, obey it!

•   Preserve the purity of our marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4). 

Husbands, be a one-woman man in all ways. See Proverbs 5:7-23

Uphold the Covenant of our marriage (Malachi 2:14).

•   Lay down my life for you (John 15:13).

You are to sacrifice to the utmost for your companion.

•   Demonstrate trust and confidence in you (Proverbs 31:11).

He who marries a Proverbs 31 woman is blessed indeed. 

•   Believe the best about you at all times (1 Corinthians 13:7).

You are allies, and allies believe the best about each other.

•   Be a friend who loves you at all times (Proverbs 17:17).

Your companion is closer to you than a biological brother.

•   Devote myself to you in brotherly love and honor you above myself (Romans 12:10).

This is written to the church; how much more should it apply to your companion?

•   Be captivated by your love (Proverbs 5:19).

Be a one-woman man in all things.

 Recognize God’s sovereign plan for our marriage (Matthew 19:6).

Pursue oneness as long as you both shall live.

As noted earlier, the same commitments in the Covenant of companionship apply to the wife. As head of the home, the husband should always take the initiative and write out his commitments first.

I will provide brief commentary on the commitments particular to the wife.

A Wife’s Covenant Commitment

Leave my father and mother to become one with you (Ephesians 5:31).

•   Have you as my very own husband (1 Corinthians 7:2).

•   Be one with you as the Father and Son are one so that our unity will cause the world to believe in God. (John 17:23).

•   Never leave you (1 Corinthians 7:10). 

Submit to you in everything as the church submits to Christ (Ephesians 5:25).

•   Be self-controlled and pure, a worker in the home, kind, and subject to you so that I don’t dishonor God’s Word (Titus 2:4-5).

Make your home a place your husband wants to come home to. Your home is your number one priority. 

•   Respect you as my head (Ephesians 5:33).

A husband who practices his Covenant of companionship is easy to respect. Wife, he needs your respect just as you need his love.

•   Desire you and accept your rule over me (Genesis 3:16, 1 Peter 3:6).

Rule in our culture seems over the top, but it provides safety and security in a biblical complementarian model.

•   Never deprive you of sex except by mutual consent for the purpose of prayer (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).

•   Look to you for spiritual guidance (1 Corinthians 14:35). 

You should always ask your husband first about theology. He should go to the pastor if he doesn’t know the answer. Sometimes, the wife does know more. She should encourage her husband to learn. 

Demonstrate purity of heart and reverence in my behavior toward you (1 Peter 3:2).

•   Have a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4).

A gentle and quiet spirit is valued far more than physical beauty.

•   Regard you as more important than myself (Philippians 2:3).

•   Watch over the affairs of my household without being idle (Proverbs 31:27).

The priority of the home is in view.

•   Work eagerly with my hands (Proverbs 31:13).

The Bible does not prohibit working outside of the home. However, having a career tends to interfere with the priority of the home with small children. They need their mom, not daycare.

•   Bring you good – not harm – all the days of my life (Proverbs 31:12).

•   Refrain from gossip and be temperate, completely trustworthy, and worthy of respect (1 Timothy 3:11).

Gossip is not a respectable sin. It elevates the self over the one being talked about. Be cautious, very cautious.

•   Speak the truth to you in love (Ephesians 4:15).

•   Pursue personal maturity as I grow up in Christ (Ephesians 4:15).

•   Resolve any anger toward you rather than holding it in (Ephesians 4:26).

•   Preserve the purity of our marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4). 

Uphold the Covenant of our marriage (Malachi 2:14).

  Lay down my life for you (John 15:13).

•   Believe the best about you at all times (I Corinthians 13:7).

•   Be a friend who loves you at all times (Proverbs 17:17).

•   Devote myself to you in brotherly love and honor you above myself (Romans 12:10).

•   Intoxicate you always with my love (Proverbs 5:19).

A couple that takes these commitments seriously puts significant substance to their vows. Being in a good Bible-teaching church would help them practice what they have committed to.

God is a God of second and third chances. If you have blown it, you can and should renew your Covenant of companionship. Some couples choose to renew their vows, which can be done privately or in the church. Above all, give grace to one another. 


Pastor Bruce Roeder


Biblical Counselor, Training Program Instructor

Milwaukee, WI. He has an M.A. in Biblical Counseling and is certified with the ACBC (Level 2) and IABC. He is married to his wife Elizabeth of 49 years. They have one son, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and three great grandkids. 

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