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The 10 Commandments of Love: Nurturing a Lifelong Partnership




Just like the Ten Commandments lay the foundation for the Covenant between God and the Jewish people, we can gain valuable insights into common relationship issues and apply them to our personal and interpersonal interactions.

 


1. "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me."

 

Prioritize Your Marriage

 

This Commandment stresses the importance of marriage in our lives. Just as the First Commandment is fundamental to the relationship between God and the Jewish people, our marriage relationship should be the foundation upon which all other aspects of our lives are built. It means placing the marriage above any other commitments, distractions, or temptations that may come your way.

 

When you prioritize your partner's needs (and this is mutual) and take a "marriage first" stance, you create a solid foundation of love, trust, and dedication. Otherwise, placing someone or something else above your partner can lead to detachment and emotional distance. By giving our full loyalty, attention, and efforts to our marriage, we can create a strong bond that withstands the test of time.

 

2. "You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath."

 

Accept Your Partner for Who They Are

 

This Commandment warns against idolatry but can also be interpreted as a reminder to value the essence and authenticity of a person rather than superficial appearances. On a deeper level, it's essential to see and appreciate each other's true selves rather than projecting idealized or false images onto one another.

 

When we try to mold our partners into idealized versions of who we think they should be, these false expectations and idealizations backfire and become a barrier to genuine connection and understanding. When we let go of preconceived notions and appreciate our partner's individuality, our relationship deepens as we foster an environment of acceptance and love.

 

3. "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain." 

Cultivate Mutual Respect in Communication

 

This Commandment teaches us to use our words with care and respect. Our words hold power in relationships and can either build or harm our connection with others. It is crucial to communicate with kindness, honesty, and consideration, avoiding hurtful or thoughtless speech.

Similarly, using disrespectful language in relationships can harm the trust and respect between partners. When we slip into the habit of making snide comments or using disrespectful language, it can create a toxic environment where no one feels safe to express true thoughts and feelings. Words have a profound impact on the dynamics of our relationship. Commit to speaking kindly, avoiding demeaning remarks, and approaching conflicts with empathy and respect.

 

4. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."

Nurture Quality Time

 

This Commandment emphasizes the importance of rest and rejuvenation. In relationships, it reminds us to dedicate time to connect and bond with our loved ones. Just as the Sabbath is a time to nurture our relationship with God, we recognize the need to dedicate time solely to nurturing our relationship. Getting caught up in daily life's many demands, distractions, and stresses and neglecting to cultivate our marriages is easy and can slip under the radar. But it kills connection.

 

Whether establishing a weekly date night, morning coffee, or other activities, try to engage in shared activities that will consciously bring you closer. Investing in consistent and regular quality time keeps your connection vital and reminds couples of the importance of feeding the relationship.

 

5. "Honor your father and your mother."

Understand and Appreciate Differences

 

This Commandment encourages respect and gratitude for our parents and those who have cared for and raised us. In relationships, it reminds us to appreciate and respect our partner's family and support systems.

 

My husband was born in Poland in the dying embers of the Holocaust to deeply committed Jewish parents, bringing that European culture to these shores. In contrast, I was a fourth-generation American growing up completely secular. When we first started dating, it was challenging to navigate our differences. But understanding and appreciating those differences created a foundation built on compassion and empathy. Cultivating understanding and respect towards each other's backgrounds and families can create a harmonious and inclusive environment.

 

6. "You shall not murder."

The Power of Words: Understand the Impact of Emotional Abuse


The Commandment emphasizes preserving and protecting life, including emotional well-being. It reminds us to prioritize the safety and nurturing of our partners by cultivating a nurturing and non-violent environment, both physically and emotionally.


Sadly, in the heat of the moment, it's not uncommon to make accusations and say hurtful things that we know will cause deep emotional wounds. While there may be no physical abuse, wounding the soul and psyche of our partners is akin to "murder." When you understand the power of words and the importance of treating your partner with kindness and respect - even during disagreements - you will choose your words carefully and approach conflicts with empathy and understanding.


7. "You shall not commit adultery."

Maintain Fidelity in Relationships


Infidelity destroys relationships; however, it's superficial to think this Commandment applies only to physical infidelity. Emotional infidelity occurs when one partner forms a deep emotional connection with someone else, often resulting in secrecy and breaches of trust, and can be just as damaging to a relationship as physical cheating. When individuals seek emotional support, validation, and companionship outside of their partnership, it can lead to feelings of betrayal and abandonment for their significant other.


It's essential to address any underlying issues within the relationship, such as unresolved conflicts, lack of communication, or emotional intimacy, to reduce the likelihood of emotional infidelity. If you suspect that emotional infidelity may be occurring in your relationship, it is crucial to address the issue openly and honestly. Seeking the assistance of a couple's therapist or relationship counselor may also be beneficial in navigating the challenges triggered by emotional infidelity.


8. "You shall not steal."

The Importance of Respect and Boundaries in Relationships


Instead of just focusing on the physical act of stealing, this Commandment extends its meaning to encompass any form of dishonesty, deceit, or manipulation that can occur in a relationship. It emphasizes that genuine trust and intimacy can only be achieved when partners are transparent and truthful and consider the impact of our actions on our partner's feelings and boundaries.


This Commandment is a guiding principle highlighting the importance of valuing and respecting other people's belongings and personal space, just as we would want our own to be treated. In relationships, this Commandment reminds us to treasure and show appreciation for our partner's possessions, emotions, and individual boundaries, creating an atmosphere of trust and security.


9. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."

The Importance of Truthfulness in Marriage


Honesty and open communication are crucial in marriage to foster trust and respect between partners. Bearing false witness could involve making false accusations or maintaining a deceitful demeanor towards one's spouse. Distorting our partner's words and misconstruing their intentions is a form of bearing false witness. And using a partner's vulnerability against them and throwing their words back at them is also a profound breach of trust. 


By adhering to this Commandment on its deepest level, we can foster a foundation built on trust, respect, and open communication, where both partners can freely express themselves without fear of deceit or betrayal. Ultimately, applying this Commandment contributes to the overall strength and longevity of the marital bond.


10. "You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Embrace Contentment and Gratitude in Relationships

This Commandment teaches us to appreciate what we have and to avoid comparing ourselves or envying others. In relationships, it reminds us to be content with our partner and to focus on the qualities and strengths they bring to the relationship rather than longing for what others may have because allowing jealousy, envy, and possessiveness to rule a relationship leads to toxicity.


Refusing to surrender to the green-eyed monster in any of its forms is essential for a healthy and thriving relationship. A simple shift into a mindset of gratitude can transform your connection into a supportive and loving partnership, ultimately leading to a stronger and happier bond. Look within your marriage and appreciate the distinct qualities that make your relationship unique and special.


Conclusion:


As the Ten Commandments served as the foundation of the Covenant between God and the Jewish people, in the same way, they guide the fostering of healthy and satisfying relationships. By mindfully applying these principles, we can develop meaningful connections and establish a strong base for a long-lasting and fulfilling partnership.

 

 

 





 

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