Updated: Aug 14, 2019
Love. It may be a simple concept, but it also might be more complex than you thought.
You may have heard of the 5 love languages. Different ways to show love to your spouse. Take a quiz. Get put into a category. If you like a "Good Job!" every once and awhile, you're a "Words of Affirmation" type. If you like stuff, you're a "Giving/Receiving Gifts" type, and so on.
That's a fine way to make it work, but the greatest advice on how to love one another only comes from God.
That's right. It's about to get biblical. Stick with me.
1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 8 (and a bit of verse 13)
" Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails....Where there is knowledge, it will pass away...And these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.
There it is. Pretty straight forward. Laid out in a easy to follow list form for us.
It's a fairly well-known passage. Heard often at weddings, which makes it a bit of a cliche, but a pretty awesome cliche.
So let's break it down a bit.
Love is Patient
The human race is not an inherently patient type of people.
A wise former teacher of mine said (many times as if to reassure herself of why she was still teaching) " Patience is a virtue, but tolerence is a gift".
Love is being patient and tolerating those sometimes erksome qualities that pop up in your spouse. But it is also more than just being a generally patient person.
To me, patient love is a self-less love. It's when my spouse is having a terribly long day and they are not able to be their best self, and as the spouse who had a fine day, I get to tolerate the crabbiness for the sake of love. Patient love is loving someone, knowing you may not get that same level of love back in that particular moment.
*side note: I'm usually the crabby one and Lucas is the patient one
Love is Kind
Kind love. The opposite of mean love, which isn't a thing. So the only option is to love kindly.
To me, this means skipping right past the snarkiness and the words you're bound to regret.
It's like what we teach the children. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
It does not envy, It does not boast.
It is not proud, it does not dishonor others.
It is not Self-Seeking
Love (especially in a marriage) is a two way street.
It's pretty easy for me to let my husband go out of his way to intentionally do something kind for me. It's what he loves to do, but there are times I catch myself wondering when was the last time I went out of my way to do something nice and show him love?
. . . It is not easily angered . . .
. . . It keeps no record of wrongs. . .
(I feel like this is Marriage Counseling 101)
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth.
Have you ever known someone that secretly loves drama?
They'll deny it, act all non-chalant, get all aggravated by the overwhelming drama that is supposedly weighing them down and it's all they can talk about. In reality, they love it. They love the messy, complex attention it brings to their lives.
This part of the passage reminds me of that.
In marriage, it's sometimes easy to welcome the drama. Humans like to be right, and they like attention. But why encourage the drama, why let in the evils of drama, lies and anger. I realize stuff happens, and people fight but love rejoices in truth. Love rejoices in what is right.
. . . It always protects, always trusts, always hopes . . .
Always Perseveres. Love never Fails
Always perseveres. Never fails. If anything to take from this or the scripture passage itself, it's this.
Love will always win. Our love for one another will always win. Our love for our spouse will always win. Our love for our neighbor, our co-worker, our friend, our dentist... will always win.
At least it should. As long was we love with the inentionality that God instructs us to.
Doing so we can rest assured that love will never fail.
Love is great and all but it is also hard, and messy, and complicated.
But with Jesus as our truest example. Surely, love will never fail.