I Corinthians 13 is known as the "love chapter". We have read the words so many times and maybe we think, "Ooh, I'm not doing that." But have we ever read it in context of our love for our spouse?
I want us to focus on I Corinthians 13:4-8
Are we patient with our spouse? Do we tolerate what we perceive to be their flaws?
Are we always kind? It's a sad fact of life that the people closest to us are often treated worst than those who see us outside the home.
Do we love our spouse only for what we can get from them? Are we jealous of our spouses? Do we envy them their abilities or their jobs or their spiritual gifts or their ... anything?
Are we "flashy" with our affection? Meaning, do we show love so that we can be seen and admired by others?
Do we do things for our spouse because it benefits us?
Do our actions show love? Is the way that we treat our spouse the way we want to be treated?
Are our words chosen with care and spoken with affection? Are we respectful of the other person?
Are we selfish? Does our relationship serve only ourselves?
Are we keeping track of all the "bad" things our spouse has done to us? Do we record every flaw, every mistake?
Are we holding grudges against our spouse?
Are we happy when something negative/bad happens to our spouse? Do we find joy in the missteps or misfortune of our spouse?
Are we excited when something good happens to our partner? Are we happy because they are happy?
Do we give freely of our trust, our hopes, our fears to our partner?
Will our love stand the test of time? Can it withstand sickness, poverty, hardships, trials, pain?
Are we building bridges, or tearing them down?
God's intent is for our relationships to model the one between Himself and mankind. He loves us not because of anything He can get from us but simply because of who we are.
If we loved each other (not only our spouses) with the kind of love God intends we would be connected to each other and connected to God Himself.
Love needs to be that bridge that takes us out of ourselves into the other person's reality.
Lord, I don't always love as I should. I pray that You will give me a heart capable of loving as Christ did. Please give me a heart capable of selfless love. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Which characteristic(s) of love do you find most difficult? Pray and ask God to help you improve in that area.