All too often, the notion of what love is and what makes for a strong relationship is lost. Good relationships and good marriages don’t just happen. They have to be worked at.
A good marriage has to be built on more than passion. It also has to be built on principles. And in the Scriptures, we find the absolute best principles for healthy relationships and healthy marriages in any generation.
God’s words, and the principles they reveal, are never outdated.
So let me take you back three and a half thousand years to look at some wedding vows that are extremely relevant today.
I don’t know if you realized it or not, but God thought of Israel as His bride. In the Old Testament books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea, God speaks of Israel as His bride. In the New Testament, the Church is called the bride of Christ.
By using this analogy, God is saying, “The closest relationship that you can understand—husband and wife—that’s how close I want to be with you.” He said in Exodus 19:5…
“If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.”
That is romantic, intimate language. God had the whole earth to choose from, and He chose Israel.
Then directly following this statement, God gave them their wedding vows—the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. God was saying, “If you want a long-term relationship with Me that is healthy and growing, here’s what you need to do.” And it is those vows that give us the blueprint for a strong and healthy marriage.
The first commandment that God gives in Exodus 20:3 is foundational to keeping any marriage strong. It says…
“You shall have no other gods before Me.”
In this one commandment, God is saying, “I want an exclusive relationship. I want to be your one and only. I won’t be satisfied being the flavor of the month.”
How appropriate that in marriage as well, there is a devotion to that one person. Henry Ford on his 50th wedding anniversary said, “The reason I’ve had a successful marriage is the same reason I’ve been successful in business. I stick to the same model.”
In traditional wedding vows, a couple pledges their devotion until, “Death do us part.” They are committing to the fact that there won’t be any competition.
While Adam slept in the garden, God took a rib, fashioned the woman out of it, and then brought Eve to Adam. God didn’t reach back in, grab a few more ribs, and say, “Okay, here’s Samantha, and here’s Lois, and here’s….”
He took just one rib.
To have a truly strong marriage, there’s not an option for involvement with someone else. If you’re going to have a solid relationship, you have to have that mindset.
In his message “The Ten Commandments of Marriage” Pastor Bayless Conley looks at God’s wedding vows with His bride, Israel, and shows you how the Ten Commandments are as relevant for marriages today as ever.