My son and I were discussing some appropriate Bible verses for his wedding to Melissa in less than two weeks. (I’m so excited - I can hardly wait!) I was quickly reminded of some of my favorite verses in
I Corinthians chapter 13, often called the Love Chapter.
I Corinthians 13: 1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
The problem in many marriages, in many lives today, is that people don’t know what love is.
I checked out my faithful computer dictionary for the meaning but quickly discovered that their description of love was mostly based on feelings. Love goes so much deeper than our feelings.
The lovey-dovey feelings initially appear in the beginning of a relationship. They are necessary for a relationship to continue and grow into the true, marital relationship God intended for us. The feelings will remain, but they are only a superficial part that easily fluctuates throughout a lifetime of marriage. We may experience periods of not feeling love for our spouse.
The 13th chapter of I Corinthians continues with the best definition of love we can find.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.”
These words that describe love are all action based. We need to make a conscientious effort to achieve these levels of love. Some of them may “feel” natural with not much thought at attaining them. Inevitably, though, we all reach a point in our marriage where that natural feeling is challenged and we have to work at our patience, or kindness, or pride (or any of the other parts of love in these verses) in relationship to our spouse. We have to show our love for them even when we don’t feel like it.
That is what love is all about. Maintaining this level of love through thick and through thin, through better and through worse. Love is not about that tingling you feel when your loved one walks through the door, or that overwhelming feeling you experience at the sound of their voice when they‘ve been gone. Those are just the icing on the cake.
Love is about holding your spouse above yourself, putting their every need ahead of your own. It is about looking out for them and making their life easier as you sacrifice your own desires. That is easily done when your own needs are met. It may be something as simple as having your hair held back by your husband while you throw up in the toilet. That is true love and that is what we desire. Someone who will do whatever it takes for us, especially when the going gets tough.
If we strive to achieve love as written in I Corinthians, we will not face the problems in marriage that lead to divorce.