The 10 Commandments are something you are saying ‘no’ to in a moment for a ‘yes’ in the future. – James MacDonald
Marriage is under assault in our culture and even in our churches, many couples struggle with their marriage. While no one who has been married for any length of time will say marriage is “simple” or “easy,” you can learn from successful couples about this unique and ordained relationship.
There are many places in Scripture you can find help and advice on marriage, the Ten Commandments as listed in Exodus 20 offer excellent marriage application for us. I will not make any claim to being a marriage expert I do see lessons from Exodus 20 that may help your marriage.
Exodus 20: 2-12
- “You shall have no other gods before me.” – vs 3
God is to be the first and final authority in your life as individuals and as a couple.
This listed first because everything is built upon this concept. God must be the final authority and He is the foundation of the relationship. Not your compatibility, your mutual interests etc. While these are important elements, understanding that as a couple, you both are under the authority of God almighty.
- “ Do not make idols” – vs 4-6
There is to be no substitute for God. You should not worship anything other than Him.
Too often couples make the mistake of substituting God with something else. These are almost always “good” things, but when anything pulls us away from God, we’ve created an idol. Work is often an idol, so can your home (making it look “perfect”), recreation and a big one….family. Of course family is a good and Godly thing, but when family become first in the relationship, we violate this command.
- “Do not take the LORD’s name in vain” – 7
We must speak well of God AND we must speak well of our spouse.
While this may not seem like this command has anything to do with a successful marriage, I maintain that to speak of well of God must include speaking well of your spouse. You are not a model witness for Jesus when you talk negatively about your mate. Just as our love and devotion to God must be public, so too must our devotion to our spouse be obvious. Complaining about them publicly destroys that testimony.
- Sabbath Day – vs 8-11 (this command gets the most verses of the 10)
Just as individual time with God is important, so too is setting aside “exclusive” couple time with each other.
Time set aside with your spouse is an investment in your marriage and that time must be guarded. I don’t think it has to be a rigid thing as there can be a degree of flexibility on frequency of your set aside time with each other. But making a point to say “no” to other events for the sake of saying “yes” to your spouse must be a high priority for a successful marriage.
- “Honor your father and mother” – vs 12
Honor means “respecting, caring for, or helping” and now includes BOTH sets of parents.
You have married more than just a person. There is another set of parents involved and how you treat the in-laws reveals much about your character. This doesn’t mean agreeing on everything with each set of parents, but you are to honor, respect and care for them.
I know there are difficult situations and people suffering under years of physical and/or emotional abuse may find this type of advice too simple, but I believe most marriages can be salvaged if both partners are committed to following the LORD. These first five of the Ten Commandments of Marriage may be part of a new way of thinking that can help your relationship.
Blessings my friend!