By Rick Cowman
Happy Valentine's Day! We’ve been talking about the importance of “love” in a marriage relationship, and we'll continue on that track this week. What we've discovered so far is this: Love is not just a matter of feelings, but a matter of choice and conduct!
If we’re going to have a love relationship that lasts, we must first know what love is (see last week’s column). Then, once we know what it is, we must put it into practice in our lives and begin to ACT LIKE LOVE ACTS! So, how does love treat another person? To find the answer, we will go to 1 Corinthians chapter 13, often called “The Love Chapter.” Here we find out what love does, and what love doesn’t do. Remember this: Love isn’t just saying, “I love you;” it’s living out “I love you” in my actions! You see, love is a verb! Here’s a practical action list from God’s Word:
“Love is patient…(vs 4)!” The first word God uses to describe how love expresses itself is, “patience”. Love is spelled, T-I-M-E! Loving someone means we patiently wait for them to make changes and adjustments in their lives. It’s giving them time to grow in their relationship with Christ, or perhaps enter into one. When we start setting deadlines for our mate, we’re not loving them anymore! Ephesians 4, verse 2, says this: “Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love (LB)!” When God gave us the command and challenge to love, it was a lifetime goal. As believers, we must grow and learn the rest of our lives! God is so patient with us (I’m very thankful for that)! He knows everything about us, yet loves us anyway. He knows everything, yet listens to us. His love waits patiently for us to grow and change into Christ’s likeness!
“Love is kind…(vs 4)!” In a marriage, it’s taking the vows of the marriage ceremony and turning them into washing dishes and taking out the trash! It’s treating your wife or husband with tenderness and respect. Kindness makes a difference! Ephesians 4, verse 32, encourages us to “be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another just as God has forgiven you (LB)!” As we understand the great kindness of God toward us, we are motivated to be kind to, and forgive others. Being kind means having God’s heart toward another person!
“Love doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast, it is not proud (vs 4)!” What does that mean? Love doesn’t show off, or try to impress others by our actions. Pride is nothing more than an expression of our insecurity. Show me someone who’s a show off or know it all, and I’ll show you someone who is very insecure. If I’m secure in my relationship with God, I don’t have to boast about me! If I know I’m secure in my relationship with my wife/husband, I don’t need to impress others! Security makes all the difference, and it’s the number one issue in a marriage relationship! Insecurity will tear a relationship apart because it causes one little “dig” after another until the marriage is buried. It’s our understanding that God will never leave us nor forsake us that solidifies our relationship with Him. We need that same kind of security in a marriage, knowing our spouse is committed to going the distance, and to never leave us — no matter what!
Next week, we’ll discover the final two ways love works itself out in a marriage from 1 Corinthians 13. But don’t wait until then to put love into practice!