“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13
This is for all married couples. Renew your love with this application of 1 Corinthians 13.
I may be able to speak with human eloquence and angelic rhapsody, but if I don’t love my spouse, I’m only a creaking rusty gate or an echo in the Grand Canyon. If I have a heart full of good intentions, share my life, and if I have faith to tackle every challenge we might encounter in our marriage, but don’t love, I’m nothing. I may give everything I have to my spouse and even burn myself out for him/her, but if I don’t love, my efforts are useless.
A spouse should love with a love that’s constant. Love is patient. It doesn’t demonstrate irritations or reflect anger. Love is respectful. It involves acceptance and is never intolerant or agitated. In marriage, love compliments the other, recognizes the other’s needs, and nurtures the other. Love is not possessive, neither smothering the other, nor begrudging the other. Love doesn’t try to impress or create an image, or cherish inflated ideas of accomplishments. Love is honourable.
A spouse should love with a love that never fails. Love is for better or for worse. Love is faithful. Love has unlimited endurance and continues in the face of unreturned love. It tackles all obstacles with the confidence that comes from God. It conquers evil with good. It accepts humble duties. It submits to the other out of reverence for Christ. It always protects, always hopes, never looks back, and keeps going to the end.
Marriage should be a paradigm of good manners. Love is kind. It doesn’t force itself on the other. It doesn’t pursue selfish advantage, nor become touchy and hypersensitive, and certainly doesn’t hold past mistakes against one’s better half. For love does not criticize, fly off the handle, or take revenge. Rather, it acts creatively and constructively, recognizing needs and contributing positively to the relationship.
A spouse should never delight in evil. Love does not gloat over the wickedness of another or compare self with others for self-justification. A spouse is unhappy when a loved one falls into sin but glad when truth prevails. When spouses have such love, trusting God implicitly, they will have unlimited endurance and confidence to bear all things and look for the best in each other and in every situation.
This God given love is eternal. It never dies. But inspired speech will become obsolete; family prayers and devotions will end; knowledge will be abandoned. For we only know a part of the truth and what we say about God is always incomplete, but when the Complete arrives, our shortcomings will pass away.
When we were children, we had the behaviour and immaturity of children. When we grew up, we turned our back on infantile ways. Now we seem to be peering through the fog at a silhouette; but the fog will eventually lift and we’ll have clarity. Now we know partially; then we’ll know completely – as totally as God’s knowledge of us as husband and wife. But for now: in marriage we must have a steady faith, a consistent hope, and an extravagant love. But the greatest of these is love.