Skip to comments.Ten Commandments [in marriage]
Posted on 06/08/2010 7:01:41 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
Many of us are accustomed to seeing those ten commandments of this and that which show up in sundry places, and are applied to all sorts of human endeavors. From closing real estate deals to bagging a trophy elk, we like to mimic the Decalogue. So some may have been lured into this column hoping to find a commandment three which prohibits the practice of leaving dirty socks draped over the back of the living room couch sort of like a masculine doily or commandment seven which requires a weekly date.
But this is not about the ten commandments of marriage. We need to consider the far more important subject of The Ten Commandments in marriage. The Bible teaches us that, in terms of its content, love is always defined by the law (Rom. 13: 8-10). Since love clearly should be resident in every believing home, in every Christian marriage, this means that the law should always be seen as loves beautiful twin sister, the two of them never separated.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3). A husband must love his wife less than he loves God. When a man loves God as he ought, this enables him to love others as he ought. But when a woman becomes an idol, she will frequently find herself regularly mistreated in that relationship. This is because the man who idolizes her has, in that attitude, cut himself off from the source of all genuine charity and grace, which is of course the Father. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26). A man cannot be a disciple of Christ unless he hates his wife, and unless he is a disciple of Christ, he cannot learn to love his wife.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (vv. 4-6). This commandment mentions the fruit of marriage, counted in the coming generations. One sure way to visit grief upon those children yet unborn is to tolerate any man-made conceptions and images of God and Christ in the name of maintaining a pious home.
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (v. 7). We bear the name of Christ in all that we do. If we are Christians, then our marriages are Christian marriages. But modern evangelical marriages are barely distinguishable from unbelieving marriages. We display the same evidence of pathological diseases in our marriages that are seen in the world widespread divorce, rampant counseling, preoccupation with our marital needs, sex-on-the-brain, and so forth. We bear the name of God in vain. Until we learn what the word Christian means, we will not do well in understanding what Christian marriage is.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God (vv. 8-10). The frenetic pace of our modern culture is subsidized by husbands who have forgotten that they have a duty to give rest to every member of the household, and to do so in the presence of God. In particular, a husband should see to it that the proverb a womans work is never done is false in his household. One in authority who does not give sabbaths does not know what love is.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee (v. 12). Parents like to receive honor, but parents frequently forget that they also are children, and they are to set an example to their children through how they treat the children.s grandparents. Many children have learned how to disrespect parents from simply hearing the conversation at the dinner table. And little pitchers have big ears.
Thou shalt not kill. (v. 13). The antithesis of the malice that ends in bloodshed is the demeanor of warmth and kindness. A man who loves his wife as Christ loved the church is demonstrating his hatred of all lawless bloodshed. Thanks to our abortion culture, the home has become a principal place where this command is despised. But the home should be a refuge of life.
Thou shalt not commit adultery (v. 14). Of course, a husband obeys God here by avoiding infidelity in all its guises and forms. He sets a guard over his eyes, heart, and his members which are on the earth, and refuses all offers. He turns away from the covers of magazines at the supermarket check-out, he stays out of conversations with women in Internet chat rooms, he stays out of bed with other women, he refuses to daydream about being married to someone else, and any other temptation not mentioned.
Thou shalt not steal (v. 15). A man who does not provide food and clothing for his wife is robbing her. He owes her financial support and must never begrudge it (Ex. 21:10).
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor (v. 16). A mans wife is his closest neighbor. He therefore must be scrupulously honest with her at all times. A man and wife should be able to talk with one another about anything.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbours wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbours (v. 17). A happily-married man will never spend any time looking longingly over the fence at anything. He may not covet the lawnmower over there, the wife sunbathing, the car, the house itself, the driveway, the gardening ability, or anything else belonging to his neighbor.
Do this, and you do well.
bump 4 l8r
Excellent article. I’ve never seen the 10 commandments as they would apply within marriage. So right on!
>> Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3). A husband must love his wife less than he loves God. When a man loves God as he ought, this enables him to love others as he ought. But when a woman becomes an idol, she will frequently find herself regularly mistreated in that relationship. This is because the man who idolizes her has, in that attitude, cut himself off from the source of all genuine charity and grace, which is of course the Father. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26). A man cannot be a disciple of Christ unless he hates his wife, and unless he is a disciple of Christ, he cannot learn to love his wife.
Interesting take. How does this square with a husband being called to love his wife as Christ loves the church?
It seems to me to be a very difficult thing to determine the appropriate amount of “love” for a wife ... as Christ loved the church, but not too much.
For the record, I ask this as an honest question, not as a snarky back-biting attempt ... many religion discussions on FR seem to quickly devolve, so I want my intent to be clear.
I’ve never understood how you can love someone “too much”, or “this much, but no further”.
For me, and my limited understanding - You either love them, or you don’t. It’s binary, not a graduated scale.
If it ain’t love, it’s like.
I guess that depends on how you define “love”. I can understand levels of “love”, I suppose, when questioning what I am willing to sacrifice.
There are a very limited number of people/scenarios that I will intentionally sacrifice my life for (i.e. lay on a grenade) ... the Almighty, my wife, my kids, some other immediate family, groups of innocent people (”the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one”), etc. If I were in the military (which I am not), for a brother in arms. I’d rather be killed than see them killed. I will intentionally risk (as opposed to sacrifice) my life for quite a few more ... any family, innocent children not my own, my country, saving an innocent, etc.
There is simply no one I would sacrifice my wife or kids for. I’d sooner give my own life.
If the Almighty asked this sacrifice of me, I honestly don’t know what I’d do. I am asked to love my wife/family as Christ loved the church ... would Christ have sacrificed His church for anything? God and Christ gave everything for the Salvation of His Church -= and I would give everything for the salvation of my family.
I do not understand how to square the concept of wife/family idolatry with the mandate to love my family as Christ loves the Church. Does Christ idolize the Church? If I am willing to sacrifice my family to God, can it really be said that I love them as Christ loves the church? It is a confusing mandate, to be sure.
Interesting that he applies the 10 commandments, when most Christians only acknowledge 9 of them and technically only 7 of them!
Good honest question question SnakeDoctor...
The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”
It is simply that love which a husband offers to a wife in priority and preeminence in the family structure; which Christ Jesus loved us by making mankind His priority to reveal Himself and to offer Himself as a sacrifice to her, the Church, the Body of Christ, the true believers.
This type of love to a wife does not necessarily translate into a perfect degree or depth of “true” love (by the world’s standards), due to the fact that all man and women type of love in this world is large part marred by the sin nature of us all. We can truly try hard, but that is not the whole point of what the Apostle Paul offers to us: for we as husbands must be willing to offer her (wife) needs sometimes before our own needs. But that is not the whole of it; for we must more importantly have the mindset of willing, if called upon, to fully sacrifice, in life or death situations, to save our wife from harm, defame, prejudice, threat of death, etc. That mindset is what Paul is instructing us. Don’t be too much concerned about the difficult things to determine the appropriate amount of love; offer inside your soul the attitude and mindset of a willing servant to protect and love, even unto the threat of death. That is enough.
Notice an interesting approach for how the wife should deal with her husband: Paul writes in Ephesians 5:33 “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Reverence her husband. God does not “require” or “command” the wife to specifically “love” her husband (I not saying that she must avoid love); God, through the Apostle Paul, instructs the wife to honor and respect, or reverence, towards the husband. (I’m not saying for this approach to be any sort of vain reverence, nor high minded reverence) It is simply a respectful reverence out of thinking and love which the husband demonstrates for in his love for his wife (as discussed above). If the husband properly “loves” his wife, then it is easy and natural for the wife to demonstrate reverence for her husband. This is a great blessing for both, and a natural God given approach for husband and wife. Notice that the world system neither practices nor offers such an approach; for the world system can only offer a man-made type of love: one which is outside of God’s viewpoint and always within the sin nature of mankind.