Love Like You Mean It
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
As a wife, sometimes the instructions on how to love in 1 Corinthians 13 can seem a little overwhelming. During an engagement period, you think, No problem! Love is easy. I’m obsessed with this guy. Nothing he does could ever gross me out or upset me. He’s as close to perfect as it gets! Our marriage will be a breeze. Everything is pulsing hearts and excitement while you’re planning a wedding, right? Being patient and kind and honoring and selfless is simple when you’re on a constant, mushy adrenaline rush.
Then the wedding comes and goes, the honeymoon comes and goes (except for perhaps the lingering credit card statement!) and you start thinking, Maybe he’s not perfect. In fact, a few things he does truly annoy me. But it’s okay! We got this! I can ignore it.
Then a little more time passes, and you start realizing that living with another flawed person, dying to self, and loving like Christ loved the church is entirely impossible.
Welcome to marriage! You’re not alone. No couple, regardless of their social media stats, have it easy.
Wet towels on the floor happen.
Chores don’t feel distributed fairly.
Someone isn’t in the mood to be intimate.
Everyone is fighting over who will spend the holidays where.
Before you know it, you wonder if you can even get through the day without arguing—much less if you’re being self-seeking or dishonoring!
My husband is one who likes to be given examples. When we’re having a discussion, he needs me to provide various situations of when XYZ happened. Of course, in the pressure of the moment, I struggle to remember. I know it happened, but I can’t remember when. One day, he told me to start writing down when I felt a particular way, so he could look back and understand. I initially panicked, because I thought that would be going against the Word that instructs “keep no record of wrongs.” Now I see the meaning of that verse isn’t regarding practical application, but rather, a heart posture of forgiveness. Essentially, it means don’t hold a grudge and throw old mistakes back in your spouse’s face—whether you’re writing them down or not!
This is hard because our pride gets in the way. Sometimes offering forgiveness and a clean slate is the last thing our flesh wants to do. But the good news is, while it’s impossible for human hearts to love like Christ did, it’s not impossible for Christ. Because of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside believers, we have the capability! Because of the Holy Spirit, we can bite back that unkind word, turn the other cheek, forgive one more time, not complain, be patient, be humble, and diffuse our temper before it explodes.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s not easy and it’s not an overnight process. But we can love as Christ loved through Christ. Day by day, choice by choice, we are being sanctified and can honor our spouses as we’re called to do. Pray today and ask for His help—then go love on your spouse.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her drummer of a hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Look for her latest novel with HarperCollins, LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES, and POCKET PRAYERS FOR FRIENDS with Max Lucado. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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