Good marriages don’t just happen.  It is not just because you married the right person and got lucky.  Good marriages are built on more than passion.  They are built on principle.

In the Scriptures, we find the best guidelines and principles for a healthy marriage.  God’s words and God’s principles are never ever outdated…never!  They are just as applicable today as they were to ancient Jews living in Israel. 

I want to point us to principles God has given us in a place you might not think was intended for marriage.  That place is the Ten Commandments, found in Exodus 20.

Let me give you those Ten Commandments.  What I would like you to do is spend time reading these carefully, and then take time to pray over each one.  Ask God to begin to open your heart to see how these commands could be looked at as principles for marriage.  I had a friend who challenged me to do the same, and I was amazed at what I discovered.

You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image… 
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain… 
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
  

The First Commandment of Marriage:  Exclusivity

The first of the Ten Commandments is simply this, as found in Exodus 20:3,

“You shall have no other gods before Me.”

What is God saying in this commandment?  That He wants to have an exclusive relationship with you. He wants to be your one and only. He will not settle for flavor of the month.

And how appropriate in marriage as well. We are to have an exclusive relationship with our spouse.

It’s been said that Henry Ford, on his golden wedding anniversary…50 years of marriage…was asked, “What’s the secret of your success in marriage?” And he said, “The secret of my successful marriage is the same secret that I have in business: I stick to the same model.”

In traditional wedding vows, the man and woman pledge their devotion until death parts them. For life. There is no competition.

My wife has no competition. I am not shopping for a new model. I do not want to trade in the old model. I will not be shopping in the future. One is all I need.

When God made man, He said it is good. But then He said, “It is not good that he is alone.  I am going to make a helper suitable for him.”  And the Bible says God took one of Adam’s ribs, and He formed a woman, Eve, and brought her to the man.

God did not take four or five ribs and say, “Okay, Adam, here is Eve, and here is Lois, and here is Samantha, and here is Rachel.”  No, it was just one.  And to have a healthy marriage relationship, that is it.

I am committed for life.  An exclusive relationship.  I am not shopping, not even window-shopping.  One God.  One wife.  That is enough.

The Second Commandment of Marriage:  Don’t Love a Substitute

In the second commandment recorded in Exodus 20:4-6, we are given the second principle for a strong marriage,

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.  For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”