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A covenant marriage is marriage that follows stricter regulations when it comes to getting married and dissolving marriages. It is implemented in a limited number of American states, including Arkansas, Arizona, and Louisiana. Covenant marriage was first made available in Louisiana in 1997. Getting married under this legal provision is only by choice. So far, only 1% of the marrying population are choosing covenant marriages. Strict regulations under a covenant marriage include pre-marital counseling, limited grounds for divorce that require hard proof, and a trial separation of more than a year.
According to proponents of covenant marriages, it is intended to strengthen marriages through its emphasis on the nature of and responsibilities within marriages. It reinforces that marriage is a life-long commitment. Critics of covenant marriages say that it does opposite this intention. According to them, it prolongs the suffering of affected parties, which may include children.