Marriage Commandments

“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” --Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

The very first institution God founded upon the Earth was the home (Gen. 2: 18-25). Marriage between a man and woman was established by God. Scripture places tremendous emphasis on the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is integral to His plan. If we have weak marriages, we will have weak families. If we have weak families, we will have weak churches. If we have weak churches, we will have weak communities. And if we have weak communities, we will have a weak nation. That is why He demands that marriages be treated as the sacred treasures that they are.

Marriages are meant to last a lifetime. However, every marriage has problems. Starting at the honeymoon, all the way through, couples can struggle with their differences, their weaknesses, and how they deal with the crises that life brings them. Every marriage sees conflict. Every marriage will have its share of highs and lows. Marriage is not just about sentimental feelings. It is also an act of the will--a determination to give love in a form that others can accept. I would like to challenge you, as couples, to work on your marriages in this upcoming year. Make it a priority. To help you, I’d like to share with you the 10 Commandments of Marriage drawn from “The Art of Understanding Your Mate,” by Cecil G. Osborne.

We have 5 commandments for wives, and 5 commandments for husbands. So, ladies first:

  1. Give up on your quest for a perfect marriage. Marriage is the most difficult and complex of all human relationships and it requires patience, skill, tact, emotional and spiritual growth. You can “grow a good marriage” if you are willing to work at it: 
  2. Give up on all hope of changing your husband through criticism or attack. The simple truth is, you cannot make your husband more thoughtful by complaining! Such tactics usually have one of two results with men: they will either retreat or they will become hostile. We can only change ourselves and when we change, others tend to change in reaction to us. Give up making demands. Abandon the martyr stance. Be what you want him to be.
  3. Give praise and affection (instead of seeking it). “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Eph. 4: 29, NKJV) Be your husband’s biggest fan. Your husband has deep needs to be admired. He wants to know if you value him, if you respect what he does, if you are proud of him. If your friends only knew your husband by what they heard you say about him, what would they think?
  4. Do things your husband likes to do. Guys want their wives to be their best friends. They want to hang out with them. They want their wives to share their interest. Enjoy time with your husband. Develop the intimacy that comes from having fun together.
  5. Provide a peaceful place. Would you say that your home is stress-reducing or stress producing? I know that it is difficult to create a peaceful, loving environment, especially in this society of two career families. In no way am I suggesting that it is the wife’s sole responsibility to turn her house into a home. It is a team effort. Just remember that the first few minutes inside the door set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Now, the men:

  1. Assign top priority to your marriage relationship. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Eph. 5: 25, NKJV) Don’t take your marriage or your mate for granted. You may even need to help around the house. Some men actually seem to believe that God created Adam and noticed all the clothes lying around all over the garden and created a woman to pick them up. One woman said that her husband’s idea of helping out was to lift his feet when she is vacuuming. Guys, we need to put our relationship with our spouse back at the top of the list. Where do you think that your wife would say that she is on your priority list? Does she have to compete with your work? Your hobbies?
  2. Dare to talk (give praise) and reassurance. Have you ever witnessed two guys trying to express affection for one another? “Hey ugly, how’s it going?” “Good, easy money. How about yourself?” Don’t even think about trying that on a woman. Guys, you need to work at verbalizing your feelings for your wife (tell her how you feel).
  3. Listen without feeling the need to solve the problem. James 1: 9 “…take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…” A common complaint from women is that their husbands don’t listen to them and understand them. The men, on the other hand, are bewildered and say, “I do listen to her!” What is happening typically is that the woman wants to talk about a problem and share how she is feeling about it, the man wants to get out the problem and solve it.
  4. Avoid criticism. A man who constantly criticizes and puts down his wife can produce numerous results in his wife, almost all of them negative. A regular barrage of criticism, even when warranted, is always destructive.
  5. Remember the importance of the little things. Men are usually less sentimental than women and attach less significance to such things as birthdays, anniversaries and “special days,” and are apt to overlook the little gestures that mean so much to women. Love is not just a feeling; it involves positive actions which can mean a lot to a woman.

Success in marriage does not depend on finding the right person so much as it does on being the right person. Focus on the person you can change--YOURSELF! It is not marriages that fail, it is people that fail. All that marriage does is reveal that failure.

I heard it once said, “A marriage is never finished, the lesson is never learned, the effort is never at an end. Marriage, like life, is a matter of solving the little things. The big things generally take care of themselves.” And remember, success in marriage does not depend on finding the right person so much as it does on being the right person.



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