I grew up in a Christian family, so I knew the Ten Commandments even when I was a child. But when I was young, I never fully understood what the commandments really meant. I didn't think I could ever break the second commandment of having no other gods because I couldn't imagine serving anyone but God. However, after hearing a discussion from a religious leader, I realized I'd been wrong.

I realized certain priorities are often put before God. Doing so is breaking the second commandment. These points that can distract from serving God:

  1. Cultural and family traditions

  2. Career aspirations

  3. Material possessions

  4. Recreational activities

Hearing this discussion made me think about the priorities in my life, and which ones deserve the time and effort I put into them. However, I noticed that the same issues that Oaks indicated that could offend God could also be applied to strengthen my own marriage:

Cultural and family traditions

Family and culture influence our actions. We all have certain habits we learned both at home and in our society. However, not everything around us is for the best when it comes to a new family. Both you and your partner will bring components to a marriage from the past.

Your spouse's traditions may not seem acceptable based on how you were raised. Learn to communicate well and decide which traditions your family will keep. Sincerly communicate the reasons behind your decisions to avoid being offensive. Remember, both sides will have traditions that enrich and improve your family, and might even be passed on for generations.

Career aspirations

It is always good to set priorities and have ambition. Obtaining a higher education can help you get a better job and improve the lifestyle of your family. But if that's your aim, do not lose sight of your ultimate goal: helping your family.

Even a small change in perspective makes sacrificing your family for the short term into a long-term consequence. I have a friend who, in his eagerness to get a master's degree, neglected his family which resulted in divorce. The same principle applies to work: do not be more devoted to your boss than you are to your wife.

Material possessions

The more things you have, the more time and effort is required to care for and maintain these things. You will see that you can achieve full happiness living simply and frugally. The world today forces us to rush around, buying more and more. There is no end to the idea, "if I get this, then I will be happy". There will always be something new, faster or larger than we want to buy. Material possessions are not going to replace a quiet moment between you and your partner as you read a book, or chat about life. Don't trade being happyily married to one you love for the next big thing.

Recreational activities

Too many recreational activities (especially those without your partner!) take away from your precious time at home. Make recreational activities are suitable for the whole family, or spend time doing things with just you and your spouse.

Try doubling with another couple: go out to dinner, see a concert, visit a museum or gather at your home to chat and play games. Use recreational time outside your own home to enrich your relationship, instead of pulling you apart. Spending time together will also help to preserve harmony, good communication and respect within your home.

Marriage is a matter of priorities. Dedicate yourself to love your spouse with all your heart, soul, mind and strenght; she will do the same for you.

This is a translation of the original article "Tienes dioses ajenos en tu matriomonio". It has republished here with permission.

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