At JBC’s Marriage retreat I taught what I call the “Ten Commandments that Make a Wonderful Marriage”. #1 is “Keep God first in your life” #2 is “Don’t take offense at anything your spouse does”, #3 is “Don’t say or do anything that would cause your spouse to be hurt of offended, #4 is “Don’t let even a little bit of bitterness stay in your mind and heart, #5 is “Pray for your spouse and with your spouse”, and #6 is “Graciously teach your husband or wife how to be the world’s best spouse to you”. A marriage motto that I have is “God intended for us to be each other’s marriage manual”. When I got married to Patty, I was a really bad husband, I said or did something that caused her to cry almost daily, but I don’t now. The reason that I am a way better husband now is because Patty has patiently, graciously, and gently taught me how to make her the happiest woman on the planet earth, and I have done the same. Patty knows my faults, character flaws, and blind spots better than any person living, so why shouldn’t I be receptive to her teaching me what they are so that I can grow and change rapidly. There are two things in us that keep this powerful tool for life change from happing in most marriages. The first is our pride, we don’t want someone telling us how we can improve, even if it means a super, wonderful marriage, we are born terribly prideful and that pride causes so many problems in our life. The second thing that keeps us from giving and receiving counsel from each other is that we are poor teachers even on our best day and because of that we make it very hard for our spouse to accept what we are saying. When we teach our spouse what they can change or grow in, we must never, never, never, not even a little bit, not even a teensy bit, never, never scold your spouse. Scolding guarantees that our spouse will not hear what we say, and if they understand it they won’t do it. We need to ponder what to say and how to say it, we need to pray and ask God for wisdom, we need to be super gracious and gentle, and if we can teach our spouse in a way that they can receive they will grow and change and become the major source of our joy in life as God works in and through them.