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          A Marriage Covenant

          July 13, 2005

          When six couples on the verge of divorce came to Dr. Phil’s Relationship Rescue Retreat, their final assignment was to write a marriage covenant.

          If you and your partner have worked through Dr. Phil’s exercises in Relationship Rescue, it’s time to form a jointly drafted mission statement for your relationship. The marriage covenant will be all about defining your relationship in terms of your hopes, dreams and commitments. It can become like the North Star — a reference point upon which you can constantly focus to keep your relationship on track.

          This affirmation should be a product of your combined thinking. It should be unique to you and your partner. It may also be dynamic in that it can change as your relationship changes. But the core of it should always be your defining philosophy about what you want, need and expect. Make sure your marriage covenant is displayed prominently in your home so that you can be constantly reminded of its contents.

          Here are a few examples of what some couples have shared as part of their marriage covenants:

          “We resolve to live the relationship credo and treat each other with dignity and respect. We commit to the friendship upon which our love is based and to live with acceptance rather than criticism of each other. We resolve to never again fight in front of our children and to never again put our relationship on the line because of some argument. We will be imperfect, but with God’s help and a committed love, we will prevail.”

          “We declare to love, honor, respect and appreciate each other every day. We will listen to each other and understand the other’s point of view before we say anything. We will put our family first before any outside influences. We will support each other in a definitive manner. We will look to our own contribution in a difficult situation rather then cast judgment on each other. We will speak with integrity and live with dignity. We will not make assumptions. If we do not understand something, we will ask. We pledge to be honest with each other and remain emotionally available for one another. Our home will be a happy and safe place that our son will be proud to grow up in. We agree to greet each other with a smile on our face and in our hearts. And we will laugh together.”

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