Are you in a covenant or contract relationship?

We just learned about the word “ship” in the previous two blogs.  A ship is a vessel that transports goods between two or more points. We also learned about common and maritime law.

Declaration of IndependenceWe are all in different kinds of relationships.  The two most common are personal and professional. Most often a covenant is best used in a personal relationship, and a contract serves well for professional, business, or a legal relationship. There are always exceptions. For example, the United States Declaration of Independence is seen as a covenant.

I have had many conversations with business men who are married. They are often successful Contract Relationshipat business and professional relationships. They understand business relationships are like math equations and are often linear thinkers, such as A + B = C.  “If… I put money, time, or attention here and they do the same over there… when put together, we both succeed.  We figured out the formula. Now we just repeat it.” That might work in business, but it does not work in personal relationships. This frustrates most men.  (Now, just how mundane and… boring will that get in a personal relationship?)

Some women in business can function much in the same way.  Some women also like formulas. When they try to apply the equation to personal relationships, they become frustrated also.  But many women are more about relationship, the journey, and the process. Just because that “formula” worked once or several times, it most likely will not work tomorrow.  Today is a new day, and women tend to not have the same feelings, wants, or needs they had the day before. (Now, this keeps things fresh, new and interesting…unlike how men do things.)  LOL 😊

Men and women are very different when it comes to how they approach their relationship with what they put IN to it. However, I have discovered when it comes to what they expect to get OUT of it, they approach it much the same as that of a contract, not a covenant.

When one has hurt their partner, they want the grace and mercy of a covenant when it comes to consequences toward them.  But when they have been hurt by their partner, they want the judgement of an iron fist!  The contract needs to be executed and justice served.

Covenant RelationshipA covenant when broken or not kept can achieve quick resolution by one of the individuals regardless of what the other party does or does not do.  This is also known as unilateral promisor only.  If broken, contracts on the other hand usually require restitution in the form of a payment of money, time, or an item to bring equality and balance back to the debt owed.

Understanding the difference between covenant and contract can help you in your relationship with your partner.

First, let’s look at how they are similar.

Covenant Contract
An Agreement An Agreement
A Promise Between 1, 2 or more Parties A Promise Between 2 or more Parties
Legally Binding Legally Binding
A Contract A Contract
A Warrant A Warrant
Written or Spoken Written or Spoken
A Bond or to Bind A Bond or to Bind


Now, let’s look at the difference between a covenant and a contract relationship.

Imagine you and your partner are currently in a conflict.  Do you respond as a person in a covenant or a contract relationship? What does your behavior demonstrate? Take time to score yourself below. Do not score yourself by your intentions but by your actions.

It is always interesting how couples judge their partner by their actions but have a double standard when they want to be judged by their own intentions. (To learn more, read the blog, When Your Reality is an Illusion.)

Covenant Contract
Weakens the Ego Strengthens the Ego
Seeks Understanding Seeks to be Understood
Service to Others Service to Self
Generally Relational Generally Professional
Generally Sealed Generally Signed
Generally Unilateral Can be Unilateral or Bilateral
Spiritually Binding Legally Binding
Freely Gives Forgiveness Expects You to Come to Them for Forgiveness
Releases an Offense or Debt Holds on to an Offense or Debt
Promise Regardless if One Fails Promise Broken if One Fails
I will do _____  regardless if you do not do _____ I will do _____  if you do ________
I will not do ____ regardless if you do ______ I will not do ______ if you do not do ______
Seeks Resolution Expects Restitution
Seek a Compromise Seeks to be Right
Shows Empathy Shows Anger
Gives Oneself to Others Exchanges One Good or Service for Another
Gives 100%, 100% of the Time Gives 50%, 100% of the Time
Gives to Give Gives to Get
System of Forgiveness and Letting Go System of Debt, Shame, Credits and Debits
Agape Love Eros Love
God’s System The Beast System
Victor Mentality Victim Mentality
Abundant Minded Scarcity Minded
Inequality Equality, Fairness, Tit for Tat
Unoffendable Offendable
Interdependent Codependent

After reviewing the differences above, are you in a covenant or a contract relationship? You have the power to change it if you want to regardless what your partner decides to do.  Be the change you want others to be.

Have you ever wondered what a recovered covenant relationship looks like? Take are newest self-assessment, the Recovered Couples Self-Assessment, and find out where you are in your recovery!

Cory Schortzman, Executive Director

Cory Schortzman, Executive Director

Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.

Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.

Kerry’s books include: Ashes to Beauty the Book and Ashes to Beauty the Workbook

Co-authored books include: 101 Blogs to Transform your Life, Volume I and Offended Deceived Addicted