The 10 Commandments of Marriage: Practical Principles to Make Your Marriage Great

The 10 Commandments of Marriage: Practical Principles to Make Your Marriage Great

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Marriage is God's idea. He planned it. He designed it. And if you follow His blueprint, it will be more rewarding, more loving, more exciting than you ever imagined.

In 10 Commandments of Marriage, Dr. Ed Young shares the “thou shalts” and the “thou shalt nots” of successful relationships—straight from the pages of God's Word. Long-married couples will find love-building precepts that will revive a failing marriage and make a great relationship even better. Soon-to-be-marrieds will discover what marriage is all about and gain priceless insights into starting on solid ground.

In words that are profound, often humorous, but always biblical, Dr. Young draws from decades of counseling couples to provide 10 commandments for a lifelong marriage that sizzles. God wants your marriage to be nothing short of incredible. And it could begin with this amazing book.

"The 10 Commandments of Marriage not only tells you 'what' but, thankfully, also tells you 'how.' Ed Young has taken the principles of Scripture and has had the courage to test them on the linoleum glued to average life on planet earth." — Beth Moore (bestselling author and speaker)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802412249
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 143,991
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

ED YOUNG has been the pastor of 32,000-member Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, since 1978 and is also a trustee of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Houston Baptist University. A former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ed is the author of many books including The Ten Commandments of Marriage and The Ten Commandments of Parenting, and ministers through the international television and radio broadcasts of Winning Walk. He and his wife, Jo Beth, have three adult sons and seven grandchildren and reside in Houston.

Read an Excerpt

The 10 Commandments of Marriage

Practical Principles to Make Your Marriage Great

By Ed Young, Ginger Kolbaba

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2014 H. Edwin Young
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8024-1224-9



Over my many years as pastor, I've "been to the altar" more times than I can count. Many of the ceremonies have left me with lasting memories—some touching, some humorous. But in the middle of all the smiles, laughter, and tears of joy that accompany most weddings, something very serious takes place.

When I perform a wedding, I am asking the couple to promise—before God, family, friends, and me—that they will love and cherish each other. I ask them to pledge to honor and sustain each other in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth. I instruct them to put the others needs and desires before their own and anyone else s, except God's.

These solemn promises make up the wedding vows. So far, every bride and groom standing before me has responded with a heartfelt "I do!" But sometimes I wonder if they understand fully what they are promising as they exchange their vows. When I ask the couple to make these promises, I am in reality challenging both partners to embrace ten biblical principles that, if applied, will help their marriage not only to survive but thrive. The task will involve commitment, work, plus a lot of give-and-take, but they (and you) truly can have a marriage that sizzles!

That's the kind of marriage God wants us to have. After all, marriage is His idea. He has a divine purpose and plan for the relationship between a husband and wife. And like all of His plans, it is perfect.


God performed the very first marriage ceremony—a beautiful garden wedding on a perfect day with a perfect man marrying a perfect woman. Adam and Eve had it all.

Just imagine. Adam could truly say to Eve, "You're the only girl in the world for me!" And he would never hear from Eve those haunting words, "Let me tell you about the guy I could have married."

This first couple enjoyed the perfect love relationship, the kind God intended for a husband and wife to share for a lifetime. Adam and Eve lived for some time in sinless perfection, enjoying a pristine garden where God visited them and walked with them in the cool of the evening. Not even a hint of sin or imperfection marred the picture. The Bible tells us that Adam and Eve walked around the garden naked but felt no shame or embarrassment (Genesis 2:25). And their nakedness went beyond the merely physical; they remained totally transparent with each other and with God.

God had promised this first couple great blessings and had given them the run of the garden ... with just one condition. "This whole garden is yours," God told Adam, "and you can eat the fruit from any tree or plant—that is, all except one. I have placed one tree in the middle of the garden from which you are not to eat. If you do eat from this tree, you will gain the knowledge of good and evil—and you're not equipped to handle the weight of that knowledge. If you eat of that tree, you will die" (Genesis 2:16–17, paraphrase).


Adam and Eve both knew the consequences of disobedience. They realized that God had forbidden them to eat from this single tree. But the devil, using language filled with deception and selfishness, enticed Eve.

"Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'? ... You surely will not surely die!" the serpent hissed. "For God knows that [when] you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:1, 4–5).

You know the rest of the story. Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, and with their disobedience a divine curse fell on all humanity, resulting in the ultimate tragedy of human history. On that day sin and selfishness permanently stained our existence. At that moment, we lost the perfect fellowship with God that He intended for us to share with Him. At that very instant, every human relationship we would enter, including marriage, shriveled under a divine curse.


This tragic chain of events set off the first selfishness-induced marital battle in history. When God confronted Adam about his sin, the man responded by blaming his wife: "Lord, it's not my fault. It's hers!" He used different words, but he intended exactly that accusation. The Bible reports that he told God, "'The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it'" (v. 12, NIV, emphasis added). When God turned to Eve to hear her side of the story, she did no better. She blamed her surroundings and her circumstances: "God, I can't be held responsible for this. The serpent deceived me. Blame him for this!" (Genesis 3:12)

The whole sordid scene provides a vivid and ugly picture of selfishness in action. It reveals two people giving in to temptation, sinning against God and against each other, then covering for themselves—all in an attempt to avoid accepting the blame and consequences for their sin. The husband blamed the wife and God, while the wife blamed her circumstances.

Sound familiar?

As a consequence, the beautiful marriage relationship that God had designed as a perfect union to benefit both the man and the woman, and to glorify Himself, collapsed into a bitter exchange of accusations and recriminations.

Things have never been the same since.


Our first commandment deals with the number one problem in marriage, a setback that cropped up in the garden with Adam and Eve. Since then we've seen it continue all the way to the twenty-first century. What is it ?


Current research demonstrates that today, people are even more unashamedly into themselves than ever before. Millennial constantly place themselves at the center of self-created digital stages. A Pew Research poll found that 55 percent have posted a "selfie" on a social media site. For example, I know a young woman who was speeding. As she was pulled over, she took a "selfie" video and tweeted it out to her followers. She also got a ticket for texting and driving, since she was delayed in handing over her license so she could digitally post her reaction to the cop. I cannot make this stuff up! Selfies may not be the primary problem in marriages, but the root of the selfie is an obsession with self. This is called selfishness and remains the number one problem in your marriage and in mine.

We all suffer from the sin of selfishness. It lies at the heart of nearly every marital problem. My close friend Gary Thomas says this in his book Sacred Marriage:

Any situation that calls me to confront my selfishness has enormous spiritual value, and I slowly began to understand that the real purpose of marriage may not be happiness as much as it is holiness.

I could not agree more with Gary. And that's why our first commandment of marriage states: Thou shalt be selfless.

That's about as simple and blunt as I can get. Still, I'm convinced that if every couple walking the aisle took seriously this single principle, a welcome oasis of marital bliss would spread across this nation. Divorce lawyers would have to take a number at the unemployment office. I'm beginning to think I should incorporate these exact words into the marriage ceremony: "Thou shalt be completely selfless."

This first commandment calls us to do in marriage what the apostle Paul instructs all of us to do: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3 NIV). Sounds easy, doesn't it? But our number one problem, selfishness, makes it tough.

Perhaps we can take some positive steps toward incorporating this commandment into our marriages if we look at the problem of selfishness as a disease.


We are born with the disease. If you are around a newborn baby for any length of time, it becomes obvious. Babies can work themselves into a fit of rage if their needs are not promptly met. Maturing into a precious toddler does little to control the disease. Come between a two year old and anything he wants and you can test the theory. Psychologists say that this stage is called egocentricity. The short definition used by psychologists is "me-ness." The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines egocentricity this way: "Limited in outlook or concern to one's own activities or needs; being self-centered or selfish."

This disease theory comes from Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget's theory about cognitive child development. Cognitively, young children are simply not able to see the world from another person's perspective. The theory can be tested by holding a teddy bear in front of a young child. With the bear facing him, the toddler sees eyes, nose, and mouth. If asked to describe what you are seeing he will describe the eyes, nose, and mouth. Showing him what you actually saw—the backside and tail—will do nothing to change his opinion. Hold the teddy bear facing him again, and ask him what he thinks you are looking at, and he will again describe exactly what he is seeing. Albert Einstein complimented Piaget's theory by exclaiming, "Piaget's discovery is so simple only a genius could have thought of it."

Theoretically, we grow out of egocentricity and enter another stage of development. However, I have counseled hundreds of married couples who seem to relive their egocentricity stage on a daily basis. Consequently, I believe it is more than a development stage. It is, in fact, a disease of the heart.


If you're not sure about this disease, look for the symptoms. Most illnesses reveal visible, physical symptoms. Selfishness is no different. Its symptoms are as obvious as those of chicken pox!

Do a little self-diagnosis as you consider each of the symptoms listed below. Ask yourself, "To what degree has this symptom of selfishness infected me?" The four symptoms are: immaturity, time choices, insensitivity, and stubbornness.


Jo Beth and I dated for more than six years before we married. In hindsight, I believe that whatever we felt for each other on the day we married had more in common with puppy love than with genuine, mature love. We had to start growing up.

Fifty-five years later, the process continues!

What do I mean by puppy love? Puppy love is an immature form of the love dynamic that binds two people together. When we are in puppy love, we want to be with a person because of how he or she makes us feel. In puppy love, our emotional and physical needs take a central place in the relationship. We push aside anyone who doesn't satisfy and gratify our needs.

Many of us start with puppy love. Nothing wrong with that; it can be fun and enjoyable. But unless puppy love grows into mature love, the marriage will struggle and may not survive the trying times. And if you build your marital relationship on puppy love, you'll end up living a dog's life!

Consider the contrasts between puppy love and mature love in the following chart.

The answer to the problem of puppy love is maturity—and that means living, as Paul put it in Ephesians 5:15, with "wisdom" toward each other. We are to live and conduct our marriages as mature men and women in Christ. Unfortunately, however, far too many of us never grow beyond immaturity in either our married or our spiritual lives. While Jesus tells us to be childlike, immature people remain childish.

Sociologists and psychologists agree that America suffers a crisis of fatherhood partly because so many men never grow beyond adolescence. Their bodies age, but their minds still think like immature kids.

Men (and women too) experiment constantly with new ways to satisfy their desires. But even the most immature can acquire wisdom as they study and embrace God's principles.

Jo Beth and I had a lot of growing up to do when we married. Though we are now grandparents, we are still growing as individuals and in our relationship. And I can honestly say that growing and maturing together has yielded a life even more exciting and rewarding than those early days of puppy love!

How Do You Spend Your Time?

The apostle Paul tells us to redeem our time (Ephesians 5:16 KJV). Literally, we are to buy up all the opportunities time can bring us.

I enjoy playing golf. So whenever I get the opportunity, I visit a nearby course to play or at least hit some practice balls. I've become casually acquainted with a man who seems to be hitting golf balls at the practice range every time I show up. Unless by some great coincidence he just happens to arrive at the course when I'm there, he apparently spends a great deal of time golfing. It seems as though he is already there whenever I arrive and is still there when I leave. He must hit hundreds of balls every day.

I can't help but wonder: How does this man spend his time? Does he have a neglected wife and kids at home, waiting for their husband and father to return from the golf course?

One man recently told me, "I struggle with selfishness in my marriage in the area of leisure time. I grew up loving sports, and would spend hours watching it on television. During the first several years of my marriage, I noticed that many of my evenings were spent not with my wife but with ESPN."

Because this young man did not want to be selfish, he made a tough choice. He decided to get rid of cable—and he called it one of the best decisions he ever made for his marriage! How much time could we men gain to spend quality time with our wives if only we would turn off the television? I have to confess, I can channel surf with the best of them, especially when it comes to sports and news networks. But I'm convinced, men, that if we'll just turn off the TV, we will have the opportunity to gain more joy in increased intimacy with our wives.

It's easy to spend our time on our careers, our hobbies, our avocations, and other self-gratifying activities—all at the expense of our marriages. I can't begin to tell you the number of people I've known whose marriages have suffered because one or both partners became too busy to make time for their relationship. The husband and wife seemed to inhabit different worlds. They lived together, yet never took the time for each other. The best that either could hope for from the other was leftovers. Think about the leftovers that are in your refrigerator right now. How eager are you to enjoy them? Leftover food rarely makes a first-rate meal, and leftover time rarely creates a fulfilling relationship.


"If I had known he was so insensitive and unfeeling, I never would have married him!" I've heard this complaint from unhappy wives more times than I care to count. I sympathize with the feelings that spark such harsh words. They often come from a frustrated wife who feels unappreciated, who believes that her husband doesn't care about her needs or what she's thinking or feeling.

Insensitivity kills a marriage and can destroy any kind of relationship. It s hard to live with, work with, or associate with an insensitive person. No one wants to spend time with someone who doesn't listen or give any consideration to the feelings or thoughts of others.

In Ephesians 5:17, Paul provides a model of what sensitivity looks like: "Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Two contrasting words take the spotlight in this verse: foolish and understand. This verse tells us that foolishness follows a lack of understanding.

Understanding depends upon sensitivity. We need it in our relationship with the Lord and with other people, especially our spouse. Sensitivity means seeking to understand the other person's thoughts, feelings, and needs.


Excerpted from The 10 Commandments of Marriage by Ed Young, Ginger Kolbaba. Copyright © 2014 H. Edwin Young. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword, 9,
Preface, 11,
Introduction: Ten Principles for a Successful Marriage, 13,
1. Thou Shalt Be Selfless, 17,
2. Thou Shalt Have No Strings Attached, 39,
3. Thou Shalt Continually Communicate, 61,
4. Thou Shalt Make Conflict Thy Ally, 85,
5. Thou Shalt Avoid the Quicksand of Materialism, 107,
6. Thou Shalt Flee Sexual Temptation—Online and Otherwise, 121,
7. Thou Shalt Forgive Thy Mate—490 Times and More, 143,
8. Thou Shalt Romance the Home, 163,
9. Thou Shalt Begin Again and Again, 181,
10. Thou Shalt Build a Winning Team, 199,
A Final Word, 215,
Acknowledgments, 217,
Suggested Reading, 218,
Notes, 219,

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Call me picky, but I buy a message much quicker when it is propped up by the real thing behind the billboard.  I like a public persona that's not a misfit to its private side.  This man and his message fit.  The 10 Commandments of Marriage not only tells you "what."  Thankfully, it tells you "how." Ed Young has taken the principles of Scripture and has had the courage to test them on the linoleum glued to average life on planet Earth.
-Beth Moore,Author and Speaker

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The 10 Commandments of Marriage: Practical Principles to Make Your Marriage Great 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
queenofmyfairytale More than 1 year ago
A great book! It is definitely a refresher course on marriage and the commitments we make to one another. Time passes and things change, this book helps us to understand that it's okay as long as we are continually working on our marriage. We all make mistakes, we all have bad days, but when the going gets tough we have to remember that we are in this marriage thing together. We are a partnership and we need to remember that. The author starts at the very beginning, the story of Adam and Eve. He walks us through the beginning of sin and deceit and how it affects us today. Our relationships are important, and we made a vow to work together through thick and thin. He has a lot of insightful information throughout the book, tips and tricks and ways to get your marriage back on track, things to do to help with any conflicts. At the end of each section, there is a set of questions to really help you remember what you just read and to take evaluation of your life and relationship with your partner. This book is so full of information. It's full of ways to improve communication and ways to be honest to each other. It truly has a little something for everyone. Even if you are not married, it is still a great book to read. It's a great reminder to be open and honest in any relationship. I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.