The state of our unions
Marriage may be a centuries-old institution, but couples today are making it their own, reshaping it according to their individual personalities and their shared beliefs. They are choosing when they marry, whether they get hitched in their teens or wait until their 40s. They are rethinking how they marry, with some looking to their faith to strengthen their bond and others challenging the basic principles of marriage (monogamy, anyone?). And they are standing up for whom they marry, inviting us all to examine our ideas of what marriage really means. Take a peek into the lives of these nine couples that have vowed to love, honor, and cherish - and created their own visions of the ultimate commitment.
COVENANT MARRIAGEJENNIFER AND JASON BARTON, BOTH 33 SPRING HILL, TN
When they wed eight years ago, Jennifer and Jason chose to have a covenant marriage — a special type of marriage that generally requires premarital counseling and makes it much harder to get divorced — as an expression not only of their deep commitment to each other but also of their Christian faith. They were married in Louisiana, one of three states that offer legal covenant marriages; by law they can get a divorce only after receiving counseling and only under very limited conditions, such as adultery or abuse. Today, Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom to their sons, Jake, 4, and Jonah, 2, and Jason is the lead singer of the Christian band 33 Miles.