The 10 Commandments of Marriage

By Bluma Gordan

Because the most basic marriage principles are often the hardest to implement.

1. Be Pleasant

What makes a decent human being makes a good spouse, too. Greet your partner with a smile. Practice saying “please”, “thank you”, and “I’m sorry”. No matter how much your spouse loves you, it’s hard to create intimacy with a porcupine.

2. Be respectful

Respect is a foundation for harmonious relationship. It means validating your spouse. It means respecting your spouse’s opinions, feelings, and desires— even if they don’t jibe with yours.

3. Be realistic

Spoiler alert: Your spouse is a flawed human being who makes mistakes, just like you. People we love can unintentionally say hurtful things and have bad days, and that doesn’t spell the end of your marriage. Cut yourself and your partner some slack.

4. Take responsibility for your own happiness

If you’re unhappy with yourself or your life, you probably won’t be over-the-moon about your marriage either. Don’t expect your spouse to transform you from sullen to sunshine. Take responsibility for your own emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. The happier, healthier, and more emotionally developed you are, the more you’ll be able to give to the relationship.

5. Focus on your contribution to the marriage

Focus on what you can do to become a better person and partner. If you do your part, chances are better that your partner will be more motivated to do his or hers, too.

6. Choose to love

Love is an active choice and requires commitment, mental energy and focus. Choose forgiveness over resentment, vulnerability over anger, and respectful communication over cold distance.

7. Surrender your ego

Don’t be selfish. Have the courage to be vulnerable, flexible, and giving.

8. Look for the good

Focus on your spouse’s strengths and gloss over the weaknesses. Your love and appreciation for your spouse will increase tenfold.

9. Don’t assume

Don’t assume that your partner knows what you’re thinking; communicate your thoughts and feelings. Don’t assume they know that you love or appreciate them; demonstrate your love, respect and appreciation. Approach your spouse from a place of curiosity, not judgment.

10. Don’t do to your spouse what you don’t want done to yourself

Want your spouse to forgive you for past hurts? Banish resentment from your heart. Craving validation? Think about how you can increase your level of respect for your partner.