August 13, 2014

10 Essentials for Your Marriage

Gary Thomas — 


I saw this list on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk website; there wasn’t a button to share it, so I’m just co-opting it for a post (it’s from his book, Love for a Lifetime).

When I see a list like this I often think, “What would I say differently?”  In this case, I found myself agreeing with everything Dr. Dobson says.

If you’d like to add a few things, please tell us in the comments below.  But keep in mind, we’re supposed to just have ten here, so what would you delete to add something else?

Dr. Dobson’s List

1. Reserve time for one another at all costs.

2. Spend only what you have — financial stress kills romance.

3. Leave no room for selfishness — be relationship givers and not takers.

4. Make sure the “leave and cleave” principle takes place (Genesis 2:24).

5. Bring your expectations in line with reality — the perfect spouse does not exist.

6. Trust one another and build reasonable boundaries — jealousy and trust rarely co-exist.

7. Avoid alcohol or substance abuse, pornography, gambling, and other potential addictions that will quickly kill your marriage and your life.

8. Be content with having enough — “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Proverbs 30:8).

9. Think of your marriage as a marathon — you will need determination and faith to go the distance of a lifetime.

10. Keep Christ at the center and remember His words, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).


The 10 Essentials for Your Marriage are based on 

Dr. James Dobson’s Love For A Lifetime

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18 responses to 10 Essentials for Your Marriage

  1. Having real trouble with #4. I have a Mother In-Law who just won’t let go. It doesn’t help that she lives with us. Do you have a specific program for getting along with your in-laws?

  2. Laughter

  3. I would expand #9. Marriage is definitely a marathon, but the path veers off unexpectedly and repeatedly! Unwavering flexibility is a good thing to pack for the long haul.

  4. Exactly! That will work. For the past 37 years my marriage is best when we have those in order. Even though I haven’t been perfect, the marathon perspective and a sense of reality and trust have made such a difference. That, and my wife is really good at all ten of those.

  5. This is a great list! I would add something about sexual intimacy, because, in ministry, I see too many married couples who are committed to staying married, but live and function more like roommates than lovers.

  6. This is like the Ten Commandments for marriage! I love it!
    Now I’m gonna get off my phone and rub my husbands poor neck he’s talked about all day!!!!

  7. I would add something onto # 7. Also avoid addictions to interests and hobbies. They’re fine in moderation, but your spouse should be prioritised way ahead of them. Don’t let them take you away from your spouse. Don’t let them be the centre of your life. Put your spouse in that position.

  8. Gary,

    This is a great list. I love Dr. James Dobson. The only thing I would add is this: for #1 Reserve time for one another at all costs and never stop dating and rediscovering one another. It is so important to keep dating your spouse after you are married and continue to learn about them.

    Even more, it’s important as in individual to keep improving and not let yourself go. Be the kind of spouse you would want to be married to. Every day is an opportunity to grow and serve in God’s Kingdom.

    Kim @ Pouring Down Like Rain

  9. I would include “Love keeps no record of wrongs” from 1 Cor. 13, because holding on to past hurts can build walls of separation between you. Another way to say this is “Bear with each another and forgive whatever grievances you have with one another” (Col. 3).
    I guess I would replace #6 about trust and boundaries, since some of the others essentials could include that principle.

  10. I think possibly I might add live out the call of your relationship as you pour into other people but of course line item 1 goes along with that.

  11. I wouldn’t add or subtract anything! I especially like 2,3,8,9 and 10. Number 10 is my favorite Scripture by the way.