I especially appreciate this explanation of covenants:
The general resolution of the paradox of individual versus group, of integrity to conscience as opposed to obedience to law or commandment, is, I believe, found in covenants, of which literal eternal marriage is one form. A covenant is not, contrary to popular cliche, merely a contract between individuals--or God and the individual--with mutual benefits. It is, in the words of the fine Bible scholar, George Mendenhall, "[a] free, voluntary acceptance of ethical obligation on the basis of and as response to the past experience."
A covenant is a free, conscientious binding of the individual will to God, to an eternal partner, to a community and its land and history and sacred texts. It is not made blindly but out of gratitude and hope based in real experience. It turns neither the individual will nor the community into an idol that holds ultimate authority but rather reserve that ultimate authority to God, who is known and served both through the self and the community. One remains perfectly free to break the covenant but is bound in conscience to the reality of his experience with the divine, both as an individual and through the experiences made possible to him only in the community. And paradoxically this binding brings greater freedom than does individual autonomy.