If “Most Common Verses Heard at a Wedding” was a category on the Family Feud, what would be the top answer on the board? There are so many incredible passages about love in the Bible, including:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life – John 3:16 (all references ESV)
By this, all people will know you are my disciples, if you love one another – John 13:34-35
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins – 1 John 4:10 (see 1 John 4:7-12)
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I assume 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 would be the #1 answer on the board. You hear it at most weddings you attend, it’s on your coffee mug, and it’s probably on the marquee of the church around the corner from you. We hear these verses often, but what do they mean and how do we apply them to our relationships?
Every week, a different member of the marriage team at Watermark is taking-on a “key” marriage passage and teaching the rest of our team about the verse – the context, the meaning, the application, etc… A few weeks ago, Marriage Ministry rockstar Bethany Phillip led us through a discussion of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
I want to highlight a great set of principles Bethany (along with some help from the re|engage curriculum) put together for husbands and wives. Write them in your journal, print them out, tape them to the inside of your bible, put them on your mirror.
Do whatever you need to do to read, evaluate, discuss, and return to these principles over and over and over. I hesitate to call this a checklist for fear that this becomes a to-do list for you. Rather, consider these a set of principles to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus and your significant other.
8 Ways to Show Your Love:
1. Encourage and be thoughtful at all times.
Don’t let your actions, attitude or speech wound your significant other or remind you of our past failures. Be patient. Your significant other doesn’t have to show immediate change or bring you instant gratification.
2. Humbly admit your own weaknesses.
How are you doing at celebrating your significant other instead of trying to one-up him/her? Marriage isn’t a competition.
3. Put your significant other’s desires first before your own.
Find joy in serving them instead of being manipulative. How can you be a student of your spouse today?
4. Overlook small offenses & graciously forgive larger ones.
Real love can handle interruptions, shortcomings and disappointments. Don’t let your flesh become angry or agitated. Your significant other is not perfect.
5. Remain committed even when hardships come.
Stay committed to your relationship regardless of what comes your way and regardless of what you receive in return.
6. Believe the best about your significant other & act in a trustworthy manner.
No secrets and full disclosure – 100% authenticity. Are you playing in the game or are you just sitting on the bench? You have to do your part to make the relationship work.
7. For the husband: Your responsibility and privilege is to love her like Christ loved the church (see Ephesians 5:25-28).
How are you doing at sacrificially putting aside your selfish desires in order to better sacrifice and serve her in the same vein with which Christ loved you?
8. For the wife: Your responsibility and privilege is to come alongside of your husband as a loving source of help and encouragement (see Ephesians 5:22-24).
How are you doing at helping your husband and submitting to his leadership as a sign of your love and affection?
Again, this is not a checklist, but rather a set of principles posed to help you better love your spouse. God loves us perfectly and we have the privilege of loving each other in a ‘1 Corinthians 13’ way in marriage.
I can’t remember where I first heard it, but I love the idea of substituting your own name into 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 every time the word ‘love’ is used. For instance: SCOTT is patient and kind; SCOTT does not envy or boast, etc… This exercise will help you evaluate how you are really doing at loving your significant other! It will be humbling for you (see #2 above!).
Take some time this week to honestly assess and discuss with your significant other how you are doing in loving them in a ‘1 Corinthians 13’ manner. Let us not just love with words, but with action and in truth (1 John 3:18).