1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
I don’t love my husband. At least, not in every way mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
After a recent conflict filled conversation with my groom, I retreated to my secret place to ask God “why am I so irritated with this man!?” The answer was swift and clear: although some of my expectations of him were accurate according to scripture…most of them were self-centered. In short, during our discussion, I was continually demanding my own way.
Then, ever so sweetly, the Holy Spirit gently reminded me (again!) that the deepest, purest, holiest and most complete love is always available from my Father. And when I engage in an intimate relationship with Him, all my expectations are met.
The love chapter was declared at our wedding 18 years ago and I’ve read this passage hundreds of times. But today, fresh revelation breathed life into the words penned by Paul. The majority of this section of scripture talks not about what love is, but how we try to manufacture it by what we do. How many times have I been caught up in the vicious cycle of serving others, instead of loving my husband? How many times have I spoken in unknown languages, prophesied, had great faith and given to the poor, but not loved the man I pledged to love for richer and for poorer, whether or not he met all my expectations, or showed love in return? My noisy gongs and clanging cymbals are far too numerous to count.
Let’s be honest. It’s easier to do things for our friends, family, or those in the body of Christ to remove our feelings of guilt or to fulfill our deep desire to be loved, feel important, worthy or needed. It’s difficult however, to invest our time, talents and treasure into our second most important relationship on this earth; our marriage, because loving our spouse largely goes unnoticed by them or others, and we are rarely praised for our efforts. Yet, if we’ll just be still for a moment each day to know and be consumed by the One who is love, we’ll realize that it “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.” Then, when we surrender to His will, the Spirit will produce fruit that will enable us to love our spouse without giving up, or losing faith, and we will always be hopeful as we endure every circumstance….’till death do us part.
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.