This one is for married couples and for singles who are looking for true love.
I often tell people that it takes work for marriage to work. It’s one thing to be in love and another to love someone for life.
We tend to want everything to be easier than it often is and end up missing out on the deeper blessings by giving up too early when we face difficulties. I don’t say this to encourage anyone to stay in an abusive relationship. Or to settle for one that is wrongly matched up.
Once married, however, a couple must intentionally resist complacency if they desire to thrive in their relationship. Doing this requires more than will power. There must also be a shared standard to reach toward.
I believe that one of the best standards is found in I Corinthians 13:4-8. Here we learn how love behaves in relationships. Here we find God’s prescription for great relationships.
Here is love that protects relationships from destructive conflict. This love opposes bitter rivilary. While playful rivalry is not bad and can be fun, troubled relationships are almost always plagued with some form of ugly and divisive rivalry.
Revisit true love:
- Love is patient: It is long-suffering. It restrains anger when provoked. Patience is more than passive waiting. It’s active restraint that rests in God.
- Love is kind: It reaches out in good will with acts of care for others. Love patiently forebears and in kindness — actively pursues. Loving people are distinguished by their kindness.
- Love does not envy: It does not resent the blessings of others. Envious people engage in rivalry. The envier gloats over the harm or misfortune of the one envied. She delights in evil.
- Love does not boast: Love corrects the desire to call attention to self. A loving person is not a windbag or braggart. He does not parade himself. Love is willing to work anonymously. It needs no stage, applause or recognition.
- Love is not proud: not puffed up; not arrogant; not full of oneself. A loving person does not think more highly of himself than sober judgment dictates (Romans 12:3).
- Love is does not dishonor others: It is not rude. It is respectful of others.
- Love is not self-seeking: It does not insist on its own way. It is not self-absorbed.
- Love is not easily angered: It is not easily agitated nor easily provoked. Loving people are not hot-tempered, short-fused people.
- Love keeps no record of wrongs: Love seeks forgiveness and reconciliation. When hurt badly, this part of love is hard to practice.
- Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth: This rules out gossip, slander, and delight in the downfall of others.
The grand finale: Love always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.
Using a staccato of four verbs with repeated emphasis on how love brings everything under its influence, we learn that, “there is nothing love cannot face” (NEB).
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (NLT). Love is tenacious and faithful. Love is brave and noble; it never fails.
Love is “the most excellent way” (I Corinthians 12:31). “These three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13:13). “Over all virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:14).
God’s love was put on display when he loved unworthy people like you and me. For “when we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus gave us a great example of love by coming into our world and humbling himself for our benefit. The Creator became a creature; the King became a servant; the Shepherd became a lamb; the High Priest became the sacrifice, the sinless one was made sin for us that we might be acceptable before God in Him! (see: II Corinthians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:3-10).