In the same way, in order to have a healthy, growing marriage, husbands and wives need time together…special time, exclusive time, sometimes extravagant time.  And I think we all know that if we do not schedule it, it will not happen.

My wife, Janet, once did a little research.  She found that surveys showed the average couple spends 37 minutes or less in face-to-face conversation every week.  I bet before you were married you spent a lot more time together in a week, didn’t you?

If your marriage is to thrive, you need to spend exclusive time together.  You can’t build a relationship and not spend time together.  It is just not possible.

The Fifth Commandment of Marriage:  Honor Your Spouse by Showing How Grateful You Are

The fifth commandment gives us our next principle for a healthy and vibrant marriage.  It is found in Exodus 20:12,

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”

Among other things, God is saying we must be grateful.  Generally, parents spend a lot of time, labor, and money…sometimes to the point of radical sacrifice…to give their kids an edge in life.

And it is a tragedy when a child is ungrateful or unthankful.  William Shakespeare said, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.”  It is very difficult to have a relationship with an ungrateful, selfish person.

“Thank you” are important words to your parents, and an incredibly important phrase in marriage.  It is difficult to live with someone who takes you and all of your efforts for granted.

You may be thinking, “I don’t say it, but I am grateful in my heart.  I truly am!”  Well, hooray for you.  You are blessed because in your heart you know you are grateful.  But it does your spouse no good if you do not vocalize it.

If you do not demonstrate your gratitude, I doubt if you are really grateful because Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  If it is not being expressed, chances are it is not truly there.

Maybe you think you don’t have a lot to be grateful for.  But there must be something you can say “thank you” for.  There is something you can praise your mate for.  Look for those things, and accentuate the positive.

Take time today to express thanks to your spouse in some way…through an action, through a card, through words.  That is how you honor your mate.

The Sixth Commandment of Marriage:  Don’t Destroy Your Spouse But Learn to be Gentle

The sixth commandment God gave to Israel in Exodus 20:13,

“You shall not murder.”

While you might think this commandment is not too applicable, I believe it is vital.  It is telling you not to destroy your spouse!

Jesus helps us understand this principle in Matthew 5.  He said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”

Jesus went right to the root of murder:  anger and hatred.  If you are going to have a good, healthy, lasting marriage, you need to learn to be gentle.  People who are easily angered…who are violent or have an explosive temper…destroy relationships.

If you are dating someone who blows up easily, you ought to take it as a warning sign.  If they get mad at things at the drop of a hat, that anger can be turned on you very easily.

Anger erodes relationships.  If you have a hot temper, get it under control, or the devil will control you through it.