Applying the 10 Commandments to Marriage

Applying the 10 commandments to marriage

In our 4 part series, David and Tracy Sellars of Vows to Keep discuss the 10 Commandments and their applicability to our marriages.

The 10 Commandments

Have you ever tried to make your marriage better? What are some key points that would make it come together in the way that God wants your marriage to be? Consider this: God gave us the 10 Commandments, each of which has something to say about making your marriage stronger. It’s not about having the “latest and greatest” marriage book; instead, God has laid it all out for us in his Word.

You shall have no other gods before Me

Defined as the greatest commandment by Jesus himself, Jesus said that an equally important commandment was to love our neighbor as ourself. Often, we think of our neighbor as the person down the road, maybe even the person in the house next to us. But our neighbor is also as simple as the person we share a home with: our spouse. Even if they’ve recently offended us, our love for them should supersede any perceived wrong.

What other “gods” are we serving? What have we prioritized before Him? The history of Israel is one of ups and downs as His children put other gods before their Lord time and time again. If Satan can work God down lower on our priority list, this permeates our marriages. As God becomes less important, often does our spouse.

You shall not make for yourself any idols

Leading in from the first commandment, modern-day idolatry is more pervasive than we realize. Comfort and convenience are two things we “idolize”, but also things such as instant gratification, celebrities, consumerism, and the age-old “keeping up with the Jones'” mentality that so often leads to financial ruin for families.

Even a person or our career can become an idol. God warns us not to fall into these traps and to keep our eyes set on Him.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain

While we immediately think of the socially acceptable “OMG” (where G does not stand for gosh), there are other ways to take God’s name in vain. Paul reminds us in Corinthians that evil communication corrupts good manners, and the way we speak says a lot about the place of God in our life, who He is to us, and the respect we give to what He has done to us.

When we speak negatively about our spouse, that too is a way to misrepresent our God as well. As Ambassadors of Reconciliation, we’ve been given the task of bringing people back to God. James points out that blessings and cursing come out of the same mouth, but this is not what God intended. In our marriage, we can tear it apart with the words we use. We need to control our tongue, especially in the way we speak to our spouse as its a reflection of our real God is to us.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy

Really, this commandment is an edict to rest and focus on God. With this commandment, He reminds us that we need to take time to be together with our spouse in quietness. When we rest together in God, it restores us and prevents burnout.

It’s okay to be driven, but we need to remember to slow down and not always live in the fast lane or turn “Sabbath time” into “me time.” It is also tempting to let media be our rest, yet we really need to disconnect so that we’re quiet and still enough to hear God’s voice. Don’t let media distractions create distance between your spouse, and we should set good examples to our children as their generation is going to be even more prone to being unable to unplug.

5 things we get by serving others

Jesus instructs us to lead through servant leadership. When we obey His commands there are things that we get out of it. Learn what those are in our free guide.

Download our guide here

Honor your father and your mother

Setting an example: this is really a great way to demonstrate to our children how we should treat our spouse. By honoring our parents, we’re honoring our families. Our kids are watching and learn from our actions: in this situation, our neighbors are our parents. When the day comes for them to honor us, the example we set today will make all the difference.

You shall not murder

Beyond the obvious aspects of “murder”, there are other ways we can “kill.” Putting our faith into practice is when we’re blessed, yet when we steer away from this is when things begin to fall apart. We can kill our marriage with our words. Even though we might want to laugh this one off, it is critically important to realize that we all have moments when we are screaming our heads off at our spouse. We fight and wage war to get what we want and ask God to give it to us with wrong motives.

The death of a marriage is effectively a divorce, but as it is often a slow death, marriages “die” with lots of agonies. Our actions can subconsciously become the “final cut” that leads to the end of our marriage, but Jesus’ wisdom reminds us to apply what we read in the Bible and keep our marriage healthy.

You shall not commit adultery

One way to keep it healthy is to avoid adultery. Immediately we might think of physical infidelity, but we can also commit adultery emotionally in our mind. Adultery is anytime we seek union with someone outside of our covenant relationship. This can be with hidden sins such as a pornography addiction or even allowing ourself to commit it in our heart by simply looking at another individual. It can also be emotional affairs when we mentally give ourselves to another person besides our spouse.

You shall not steal

It might sound weird to think about “stealing” within our marriage, but it is easy if couples do not unite financially to “steal” from each other by misallocating who owns or pays what.

You shall not lie

Naturally, lying is wrong but it can creep into our marriage in ways we never think of. From refusing to reveal a financial purchase to lying to ourselves, we can give a foothold to the enemy of our soul without even realizing it. Have you ever blown something your spouse has done out of proportion when talking about it to your friends? This is an example of lying to ourself and misrepresenting God to others.

You shall not covet

Contentment: this is the key concept of this commandment and our marriages. It is so easy to compare ourselves to another couple: their house is bigger, they’re more attractive, they have better vehicles. Trying to keep up with other couple’s successes not only leads to financial stress but is a violation of the 10th commandment. Comparing our spouse is even worse because we don’t know what the other couple struggles with. We should be content with what God has given us, and remember that He has been very generous to all of us.

Reconciliation: if there is one thing to remember, is that no matter what mistakes have been made, anything can be restored. When we go back to the cross, Jesus forgives us, restores us, and reunites us with our spouse through Him. Make a small step in faith towards Him, and He’ll meet us the rest of the way as it is His desire to see us living in unity in our marriages.

In all parts of our marriage, we should give 100%. We should serve our spouse, loving them as Christ loves the church. They are a gift from our Heavenly Father, and something we “get” from him. There are other things we “get” by serving others. What are they?


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