Are you a Christian? Can you memorize the Ten Commandments of God? Do you know their exact order like which comes first, which comes next?
I know each of the commandments; however, I tend to interchange their order especially from the 6th to 10th. I think that since the Ten Commandments of God is a given in Christianity, and since a lot of teachings evolve around these ten, we tend to overlook their implications on the other aspects of our lives.
The commandments are not simply laws that identify whether you go to heaven or not. It also is a guide in achieving little heaven here on Earth through your marriage.
What makes a marriage good?
Strangely enough, reading through the Signs of the Times August 2009 issue, I was enlightened by how Rodney Woods found a unique way to answer this question. He went back to the ancient history, when God gave his covenant that established His relationship with the Hebrew people. The Ten Commandments were an important part of that covenant.
Since marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman, we better go back to God’s commandments and discover the ways on how to make a marriage good.
1. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3)
In marriage, not having other gods means putting your spouse as your number one priority. Your parents and friends, sure you must maintain good relationship and continue to interact with them, but they are only second or third in line after your spouse. Each partner must put each other’s needs, thoughts, and feelings ahead of all others.
2. “You shall not make for yourself an idol” (Exodus 20:4)
Idol means things – work, money, cars, houses or clothes. These things are important but you must not put more importance on them over your relationship. Your career must not in any way surpass the importance of your spouse. Of course you should do well on your job to be able to provide for your family, but you need to be careful not to allow success to lead you away from your spouse.
Some successful men have lots of money but you can also hear them complain, “I don’t know my wife anymore!” Why? Because he became so preoccupied with chasing success and failed to spend quality time with the wife which eventually lead to growing apart.
Children are the fruit of your love and marriage; however, they can also turn out to be idols if you put more importance on them than your partner. If you care for your children but neglect your spouse, you fail to develop a strong marriage that would shelter them and secure them a healthy environment to grow up.
One common complain that you can hear men air out is that once the baby arrives, they lose their wife. She becomes so engrossed in feeding and taking care of the baby that she forgets that her husband needs her too. That need doesn’t have to be sex after a day of delivery, of course, but she can still show her care in other ways. Love your spouse first and that makes you love your children more.
3. “Do not take God’s name in vain” (Exodus 21:7)
Cursing and swearing in the name of God is a sin. It is un-Christian to use God’s name in vain. In marriage, your words and actions must show that you love and are loved by your spouse. In whatever you say or do, whether your partner is around or not, you must not dishonor each other.
Women run to their girl friends when they’re upset with their partner and they tend to tell-it-all in order to make themselves feel better. But before you blurt out what’s in your heart, remember first, would you feel comfortable saying these things if your husband is around?
Men on the other hand must avoid flirting with other women when even if their partner isn’t around. Your actions deliver message to your circle and I guarantee, it won’t take long before the news reach your wife. Don’t dishonor her.
4. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)
This commandment deals with time. If you need to remember the Sabbath day to worship God, you also have to remember to make time especially for your spouse. Romantic dates are a lot in the early days of the relationship, but as the reality of life sink in, once the children start coming, once the children start going to school, the job becoming very competitive and the mortgages start piling, having time to bond with your spouse just don’t happen. Therefore you have to make sure that you make that time.
5. “Honor your parents.” (Exodus 20:12)
Commandment number 1 does not give you excuse to dishonor your parents. You must continue to respect them and listen to their wisdom. That includes in-laws too. Your partner’s parents become your own parents upon marriage. It’s important that you show equal love and respect to them. This will make your partner appreciate you more.
Other elders around you, even if they’re not your parents, must be respected too. Making friends with the elderly is always beneficial. I learned this lesson early in life. As a young girl, I’d prefer to sit with the elderly in the church than with the other junior kids my age. My reason was that I could listen to lots of wisdom during discussions, especially in the lesson study when adults throw questions and answers back and forth about the teaching of Christ. I sit there in the midst of all the elderly amazed with the wisdom more than enough for me to digest while my friends are in a different group discussing baby lesson studies.
When you’re children see you respect elders, you are giving them good example.
6. “Do not murder” (Exodus 20:13)
Maybe you don’t stab your spouse with a knife, but you do with your words. Remember, “words are like arrows; once lose, they can’t be taken back”. Oftentimes, when there are things in our spouse that we want changed, we use sarcasm or criticism to point them out. While it does bring your point across, it also triggers anger and rebellion from the other. It doesn’t encourage your partner to improve.
I can’t remember where I read this but there’s this wife who felt envious of her friend because the friend’s husband earns much more money than hers. She went and told her husband, “You’re as smart as my friend’s husband but he makes a lot more money than you do. Well, at least, almost as smart …”
The same husband and wife went to buy groceries and the man saw a lady passed by with a whooping 36-24-36 figure. He turned to his wife and said, “How I wish you have that figure instead of a family size soft drinks!”
I wonder how long it would take for this husband and wife to stand each other and not grab a knife by each hand.
7. “Do not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)
Would you still love your wife if you caught her having illicit affair with another man? Would you still love your husband if you found out he fathered the child of another woman? (Well, unless the child is older than your eldest?) Adultery is a sin and it’s the quickest way possible to kill your marriage.
However, can you also commit adultery without having sex with someone else? Sure you can. And there are three ways you can do it.
- Resources – spending money and time selfishly rather than corporately and cooperatively.
Harold J. Sala in his book “Making Marriage Work” mentioned about an angry wife who complained to him how carelessly and selfishly her husband bought a motorbike without consulting her. She couldn’t even afford to buy a sewing machine to make their children clothes.” A series of thoughtless and selfish acts eventually led this couple to divorce.
- Feelings- sharing intimate thoughts and feelings with someone of the opposite sex rather than their partner.
There’s this Aussie doctor who blogged anonymously about his wife who has an affair with a virtual man. The relationship was not sexual since he knew, after his careful detective stunts, that the two never met. But he found through her emails and text messages that she has been exchanging intimate thoughts and feelings with this virtual male friend. Still, he calls it an affair.
- Pornography – looking lustfully through the internet or other media.
This is debatable, sure, given that some couple would agree to using pornography in enhancing their sexual experience, however, if only one partner enjoys it and spends more time masturbating while seeing pornography than actually satisfying the wife, then it’s adultery.
8. “Do not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)
What belongs to one belongs to the other otherwise called conjugal property. And yes, that’s unless you had a pre-nuptial agreement. Does that mean stealing in marriage does not exist?
In fact, stealing exists more in marriage because it’s easy to forget that while you’re one in flesh, you’re still two. Each is entitled into his or her space, time or opinion. This is the commandment that doesn’t tolerate possessiveness. Some wives do not allow their husbands to hang out with their guy friends once in a while because of their fear that he might end up snuggling with someone else or that because she thinks “don’t you want to be together all the time?”
You most probably have different opinions too. And that’s much more difficult if you have different beliefs. But instead of forcing what you believe into him or her, you better respect each other.
9. “You shall not give false testimony.” (Exodus 20:16)
Honesty is the best policy. Moreover, trust is the most essential element in marriage. Once your spouse catches you lying, it ruins the trust. And I bet you’d agree, that once trust is gone, it’s extremely difficult to restore.
10. “You shall not covet.” (Exodus 20:17)
Did you hear about some celebrity couples who divorced and the supposed reason was jealousy over career? Probably one has gotten ahead receiving more projects and offers than the other. Instead of rejoicing over the blessings, it tends to cause jealousy if one or both partners fail to guard their thoughts and feelings.
A wife who earns more than the husband might brag, “My husband’s supposed to be the head bread winner but I earn more than him.” This comment triggers envy and anger on the other. If the wife earns more than the husband, she must remain humble and careful not to offend him with her actions and remarks. She must continue to pay him respect as the head of the family and support him in his efforts to excel in his profession too.
As for the husband, instead of coveting the skills and achievements of your wife, you must rejoice for they are blessings from God. However, do not be lazy. Strive harder to do your duty as the provider of the family without motive of competing with your wife.
“While God on the one hand wants to have a relationship with everyone and offers His love freely to one and all, He also on the other hand wants a very personal relationship that is intimate with you as a husband and wife are with each other.” ~ Rodney Woods
What are your thoughts? How does the ten Commandments of God teach us to make our marriage good?