The Duties of Marriage and the 5th Commandment

In Thomas Vincent’s discussion of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, he explains and applies the fifth commandment to husbands and wives.  I’ve abbreviated and edited it slightly.  As you read, remember that solid Christian doctrine leads to solid Christian living: the two go hand in hand.  You’ll see what I mean as you read Vincent’s words:

Q: What are the duties of wives to their husbands?  A: 1) Love them above all other persons in the world (Titus 2:4).  2) Be loyal and faithful in the home and in the marriage covenant (Heb 13:4).  3) Revere them and take care not to offend them (Eph. 5:33).  4) Subject yourselves to them in all things lawful under Christ (Eph 5:22).  5) Please them by living in harmony (1 Cor 7:34).  6) Help them bear their burdens and help them in providing for the family (Gen 2:18, Prov 31:27).  7) Listen to and comply with the husband’s counsel if it is good and profitable for your Christian faith; if not, with meekness, wisdom, kindness, and love, win your husband over to the ways of God (1 Pet 3:1-2).

Q: What are the duties of husbands to their wives? A: 1) Love them dearly, reflecting the love of Christ to his church (Eph 5:25).  2) Live with them, honor them, and delight in their company socially and intimately (Eph 5:31, Prov. 5:18-19).  3) Be tender toward them and provide for them in all things (Eph 5:28).  4) Be faithful to them in the marriage covenant – keep the bed pure (Hos 3:3).  5) Protect them from injuries and cover their infirmities with the wings of love (1 Pet 4:8).  6) Please them in all things and praise them when they do well (1 Cor 7:33).  7) Pray with them and for them, counsel and admonish them, and help them in every way – especially with reference to their Christian walk (1 Pet 3:7).

I suppose one biblical and Christian word could summarize the whole list: Love!  Or, as Paul said, Put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity (Col. 3:14 NASB).

For a fuller list with more Scripture references, see pages 159-160 of Thomas Vincent’s The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2004).

shane lems

2 thoughts on “The Duties of Marriage and the 5th Commandment”

  1. My wife & I are currently working through Ephesians during our devotions together. I took the liberty of printing this, Shane. It will be good supplemental material when we get to chapter 5 (we’re in chapter4 now). Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Thanks for the note, Tom. One major benefit of this blog for myself is when I type things like this out, it helps me think it through and remember it! Glad it is beneficial for you as well. shane

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