There are rules, regulations and guidelines in the Christian faith. And then there are commandments – laws that are given to us in order to live honorable and rewarding lives. Ever wondered how these commandments can be applied to your marriage?

“I hit the jackpot when I married Eddie!” This sounds exactly like a woman who just got married and still has rose-tainted glasses – until she gets home from the honeymoon and the roof of their new house is leaking because Extraordinary Eddie forgot to clean the gutters. For those of you who haven’t realized this yet: Good marriages are not a matter of luck, and if you are unhappily married, it doesn’t mean that you married the wrong person.

“Good marriages are built on much more than passion. It is built on principles.” These are the words of preacher Bayless Conley on According to Bayless, the written Word offers the best guidelines ever for a healthy marriage and it is all enclosed within the Ten Commandments.

A marriage’s first commandment: Exclusivity
Exodus 20:3 says: “You shall have no other gods beside me.” In short, God says that he wants an exclusive relationship with you. How appropriate is this for a marriage? When Henry Ford was asked on his 50th wedding anniversary what his secret to a successful marriage was, he said: “The secret to my successful marriage is the same secret I have in business: I stick to the same model.” You must realize that your life partner shouldn’t have any competition. Decide today: One God. One man. One woman.

A marriage’s second commandment: Don’t love a substitute
Exodus 20:4-6 gives you the following principles for a strong marriage: God commanded that we do not serve any idols. Because, what is an idol other than a substitute for the real God? In the same manner, your wife or husband is a real-life partner and you shouldn’t be looking for excitement in things such as pornography – it robs you of an intimate relationship with your flesh-and-blood other half.

A marriage’s third commandment: Speak kind words about your partner
Exodus 20:7 says: “You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his Name.” Maybe you think your slight critique is harmless, but there are few things that can do as much damage to a marriage as negative words. Bayless says words can fill containers with love, hate, joy or bitterness. Your words can sway your marriage in a direction – choose which direction you want it to go.

A marriage’s fourth commandment: Spend quality time alone together
The fourth commandment appears in Exodus 30:8-11 and herein God orders us to keep the Sabbath holy. Sabbath means intermission – to lay down your work and to rest. To breathe. With this commandment, Bayless believes God asks for special time with Him for a long-term relationship. In the same way, a man and woman need scheduled time together for their marriage to flourish.

A marriage’s fifth commandment: Honor your partner by showing him/her how grateful you are
Exodus 20:12 says that you must honour your father and mother. Parents invest time, effort and money in their children’s lives and if a child is ungrateful, the outcome can be disastrous. While this commandment reminds us to be grateful for our parents, it also applies to a marriage because you need to be grateful for your partner, says Bayless. What fills the heart, is revealed in abundance by the mouth. Be grateful for your partner’s good characteristics and show him or her appreciation.

A marriage’s sixth commandment: Don’t destroy your partner, but be soft
Exodus 20:13 orders us not to commit murder. Many people jokingly say: “I have never thought about divorce, but murder? I think about that often!” On a more serious note, this commandment is more applicable to a marriage than you may think. If you want a long-lasting marriage, you must learn how to be sensitive towards your partner. Violence and short tempers destroy relationships. You have a duty to boost your partner’s self-image.

A marriage’s seventh commandment: Do not commit adultery
Exodus 20:14 probably gives the most important marital commandment. An affair is undoubtedly one of the most destructive things that can happen in a marriage. Beware of affairs that are committed by your thoughts, says Bayless. Mathew 5:28 says: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Bayless says there is no place for lust in a marriage. “Love gives, lust takes. Love serves, lust claims. Love feeds, lust throttles.” In addition, remember that sex is a holy institution that may be enjoyed within the boundaries and holiness of a marriage.

A marriage’s eighth commandment: Be a person of integrity
Exodus 20:15 advises us not to steal. If you aren’t a person of integrity, it will be difficult for your partner to respect you. Your honesty must make your partner proud. It’s difficult to give yourself wholeheartedly to someone who doesn’t have integrity.

A marriage’s ninth commandment: Be honest
Honesty is central to a happy marriage, because someone who tells lies, isn’t a good spouse, says Bayless. “If you can lie to someone else without giving it a second thought, you can just as easily lie to you partner. And if you deceive people or are dishonest, your partner won’t trust you.”

A marriage’s tenth commandment: Be satisfied with what you have
The tenth commandment in Exodus 20:17 says that you may not covet. It is a direct commandment. Be satisfied with what you have. Accentuate what you and your partner are blessed with. That means that you should rather celebrate the things that make your partner unique instead of thinking: “I wish he was rather like this . . .” Give your partner’s gifts wings and don’t think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

Live your life according to the Ten Commandments and before you know it, you will have a marriage based on principles – and then passion comes so easily!

Article by Annelize Steyn