The Blood Covenant Marriage

You may be asking, "what's a covenant marriage?" Let me start by defining covenant. According to, a covenant is "an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified".

eternally yours

So, what's a covenant marriage?

It's the legal agreement you and your spouse made when you pledged your vows and signed your certificate.

Simple, right? Well, yes and no.

Yes, the covenant is created then, but is ratified later.

Usually the honeymoon night. Or maybe immediately after the ceremony, that depends on the couple! And no, its significance is not that simple.

Let me share some background on how blood covenants were traditionally made in tribal societies. Don't be alarmed by the term "blood covenant". It will all make sense soon.

In tribal societies, you've always had small tribes that lived on the boundaries of large tribes, usually warring tribes.

These smaller tribes, if they were not in good standing with their larger neighbors, always faced the possibility of being wiped out. It was in their best interest to create a covenant with their larger neighbors, an agreement of protection for them.

Blood Covenant

communion with wedding bands

The covenant was not one-sided, however. Each tribe had to bring something to the table.

For instance, if the smaller tribe was a farming or herding society, then it would bring either produce or flocks as a gift of exchange.

Likewise if the larger society wielded lots of power in the area, it would present the smaller tribe with a token of its power as an exchange gift.

The representatives from each tribe would meet to exchange the gifts. If the gifts and the terms of the covenant were acceptable, a cup of wine was brought out.

Usually, a young man from each tribe had an incision cut into his wrist and each allowed their blood to drip into the wine.

The wine was stirred to mix the blood and each man drank half of the wine. Then a priest would pronounce curses upon each tribe if either of them broke the covenant. The men would also rub their wrists together so that their blood mingled, thus making them blood brothers...or one family, if you will.

Now, the similarity between the blood covenant and the covenant marriage is striking. A few reasons for creating a covenant are:

  • for love.
  • for protection and preservation.
  • to not be taken advantage of.

Not surprisingly, most people who marry do so for love. You have a man and a woman who become friends. That friendship becomes attraction, and they begin dating. That attraction turns into love. They develop a deep adoration and respect for each other and decide to marry.

Covenant Marriage

wedding night

They exchange rings before a priest/minister/judge in a wedding ceremony, solemnly pledging their love by speaking vows to each other.

They sign the marriage certificate. They consummate the union through sexual intercourse, where the woman typically bleeds as a result (especially if she is a virgin).

In the old days, the elder women in the family would gather the couple's bed sheets the next day to ensure the blood sign was there.

Why? To verify that the union was consummated and that the woman was indeed a virgin.

But why was the blood sign really important? It signified the man and woman becoming one through their consummation. That crosses over into the spiritual plane. Through the physical act of intercourse, their two spirits were now joined as one.

Don't think the term "soul mate" was coined haphazardly. This union was never meant to be broken. In tribal societies, death would come to one who dared to break a blood covenant.

That's why adultery is so destructive. You're violating your covenant with your spouse by creating illegal unions with other bodies. Physically, you don't have 20 bodies walking around, do you? So why have you created 20 unions outside of your marriage? Unions that you can't sustain. Unions that will die a painful death. But that's another topic for later.

This is why the covenant marriage should not be made lightly. The tribes that regularly created blood covenants made sure of each party's ability to keep the covenant before entering into the agreement.

They questioned each others' motives and standing. Today, fewer and fewer couples undergo premarital counseling. Some of their issues could be addressed before they enter into an agreement they are not ready to fulfill.

This is also the inherent wisdom of the traditional wedding vows. The covenant marriage is sacred. As you love and honor your spouse, you are keeping the covenant intact. That's what we really want from our, honor, respect.

How many couples are actually keeping the covenant? Well, let's take a look at some marriage statistics to find out!

Go from Covenant Marriage to What Is Marriage