The plan was for me to read the scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, at my brother’s wedding, and sit back down. But that’s not what happened. I finished writing their card as we pulled into the church parking lot. With less than ten minutes before the wedding started, I ran inside to find the pastor, introduced myself, and handed him the card. “Pastor,” I said, “I was writing a card for Paul and Melissa and, well, I think maybe what I wrote isn’t just for them. May I please read it when I read the scripture?” I was terrified. Sometimes this is what happens when I put pen to paper and God starts speaking; sometimes this is what happens when you give me a microphone.
The following is taken from the aforementioned card, with some additions and revisions:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NLT)
You will notice the scripture doesn’t say, “love is a feeling.” That’s because it isn’t. Love has feelings, but it is a choice and an action. Love is first a proper noun, because God is love. but then Love became a verb, an action.
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. I John 4:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life John 3:16 (NKJV)
Marriage is about dying to self and giving oneself to their spouse. It’s about learning to serve with your heart, not just in actions to benefit ourselves. Love can be quite inconvenient. It’s about God using two selfish people to work His holiness in them and make them one.
Feelings will ebb and flow in the covenant of marriage but it’s your commitment to your vows, with the help of Jesus, that will make it last. It’s the actions love takes, the demonstration of it, which will rekindle those wonderful feelings again, and again, over the years.
Love is patient and kind.
Love listens. Love hears with the heart. Because sometimes what we say and how we act isn’t really indicative of what’s bothering us.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
Love is not jealous.
Love does not envy the other’s good circumstances, blessings, gifts or station in life, but rejoices at the other’s good fortune and chooses to be content.
Love is not boastful or proud.
Love promotes, edifies, lifts up, the other person, their achievements, goals, their well being, above their own.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)
Humility is a bridge to grace and restored relationship. It is an attribute of Jesus, the King of kings.
Love is not rude. Love is not irritable.
It’s been said that familiarity breeds contempt. It is not okay with God when we treat strangers better than we treat our spouse. Sometimes we treat those closest to us carelessly because we take them for granted, or because we think they will understand and we can’t lose them. Marriages are perishable, but Jesus is the life preserver. Don’t spend so much of yourself on the world, others, and your own pursuits that you have nothing left to give your spouse. The Bible says God loves a cheerful giver, and I believe that principle also applies to giving of ourselves: our time, putting the other’s needs above our rights and preferences, giving our heart.
Love does not demand its own way.
Love doesn’t demand its own way, and it also looks out for the other’s best interest and for the good of the marriage over its own self interest. God’s will for a husband and wife is to become one flesh, not only physically, but to function as a unit, to operate as a team going in one direction. We are to become fused, like the process of melding metal together, a process which involves fire, pressure, and forming by the Maker. We are not intended to work separately, but to be of one mind in Christ.
From the forthcoming book, The Two Shall Become One, by Dr Greg and Suzanne Winslow:
“Faith is agreement or unity with what God has said. Unity speaks and acts the same way…When it’s all about you division is right behind…Marriage is for givers, not takers….It’s in giving that we receive, even in marriage.”
“I want unity with God. The Bible says, faith without works is dead. He said the two shall become one. God, help me.”
Love thinks no evil.
Love chooses to think well of the other, to dwell on their good traits and actions. Love chooses to give the other the benefit of the doubt. It does not assume. Jumping to assumptions is one of the greatest reasons for conflict in relationships, when people judge another’s intentions, their hearts, instead of taking the time to communicate and understand where the other is coming from.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)
Love keeps no record of being wronged.
Unforgiveness is a dark dwelling, an isolating place. Anger thrashes the heart, and bitterness is a life sucking parasite. I must extend forgiveness if I want to be forgiven, even if the other person is wrong and unrepentant.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:25 (NLT)
Love does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love rejoices when right comes out right, even if it means having to admit you are wrong.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Love never fails. We only fail if we choose to cease to love. It’s the practicing of love, over and over again, even when we don’t feel like it, that produces the feelings of love. Love is a doing thing that has feelings.
“God, this is hard; it’s hard work and sometimes it hurts.”
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 (NASB)
Do not waste time bothering with whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets.When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. – CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:8 (NKJV)
Notice the word endures. Marriage is like a marathon, a long exhilarating, sometimes exhausting race. It requires endurance, pacing yourself and the determination not to quit. But it’s worth the effort for the prize in the end. This is all above our nature, our human ability, but that is where Jesus comes in. He is our creator and savior. God is Love and the author of marriage.
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NKJV)
“So, are you the romantic type?” someone asked me recently.
Romance, for me, may look a little different than the picture culture and Hollywood paints. Here are some things that spell love and romance to me:
Walk with me. Listen. See the need. I agree with God; He says dwell with your wife with understanding. Take the time to know me- what makes me tick- or not. Jesus is a shepherd, not a cowboy; I really do want to be led.
Rote gifts given at designated obligatory times don’t necessarily impress me. The thought that went into the gift is what qualifies it. Being thought of when culture isn’t screaming that it’s time to do something is impressive.
One of my favorite gifts from my husband sits on my dresser. He remembered overhearing, me muttering about my too small mirror. A larger mirror from the local Dollar Store would have sufficed and been appreciated, but he surprised me with a beautiful antique sterling silver one. Score!
Finding the book, The Five Love Languages of Teenagers on my husband’s nightstand, him loving and leading our children in God’s way, makes me very happy.
A cup of clam chowder, a blanket, and a moon rise on White Crest beach, beats a candlelit restaurant every time. I designed the tie tac pictured above and had it made for my husband. It was inspired by those moon rise dates.
The fury of the snowy night downed power lines and enveloped all. They settled into the couch as the story played across the screen. Winter’s icy fingers pressed against the window panes, pried at the doors.
“I’m worried,” he said, speaking of their not so little one. “Let’s pray for her,” he said as he reached for his wife’s hand.
The wind sauntered across the roof, clambered up, and thrust its face over the chimney’s edge, as the smoke rushed up with a puff, sending it away and curling into the night sky.
The movie ended. The fire in the cast iron stove crackled and popped, the flames whirled and danced as the couple sat, hands still clasped from their prayer. The man and his wife were alone. Sweet.
Some quotes from people I admire:
In response to my interview question, “What Keeps you going?”
In response to my interview question, “What is your favorite thing about being a Pastor’s wife?”
Being married to my husband. -Kerry
“The Pastor.” -Donna
Author Jerry B Jenkins speaks of when he first met his wife to whom he has been married for 45 years here, and in the comment under that post you will see him speaking of his wife again.
My young friend, Ben Laine’s Tweet about his parents.
Benjamin@BenLaine05 Feb 4
( You’ll be hearing more about Ben soon in an upcoming blog post.) 🙂
Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. Luke 6:47- 48 NKJV
A friend once told me that the greatest romance, the greatest love story ever written, is in the Bible. I found that to be Truth. Here’s my post entitled, Romancing the Rock.
*Special thanks to my husband, Roy, for entitling this post.
© 2017 Rachael M Colby Tattoo It On your Heart
Resources on Marriage & Family:
Jerry B Jenkins on marriage: