“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-6
Have you ever heard the phrase “All you need is love?” This famous saying has been quoted for decades and used as the title of songs, TV shows, and much more. The value of love is not only noted throughout culture but also in the Bible. The Bible tells us that the greatest of faith, hope and love is love, which means we should strive to live with love. While there are several kinds of love, I want to specifically talk about romantic love in honor of Valentine’s Day.
I will be the first to admit that I often do not love well. I have been married for several years and being consistently patient, kind, slow to anger and all the other things that comprise love is not natural or easy to practice. However, this Valentine’s Day, a day when most people are thinking about their loved ones, I want to remind us of the importance of loving well. I pray that how we treat our boyfriends, girlfriends and spouses will remain consistent with God’s Word. I also want to remind us that when we respect, admire, and are kind to our significant others, we demonstrate love for them and God.
When looking at 1 Corinthians 13, it is clear that there are a number of ways that we can practice love in romantic relationships. I want to take a second to examine just four ways with you now.
“Love is patient.” Love as patience means not hustling and hurrying the other person along. Love is not tapping your foot as you wait for them to get in the car. Love is not constantly pressuring them for a decision.
“Love is kind.” Genuine kindness involves being considerate and generous. It is important to remember that generosity is not just gifts but can involve being willing to give your time, affection or forgiveness. Love is giving second chances and forgiving 70 times 7, as Jesus talks about in Matthew 18:21-22. Kindness also means being considerate and attentive. It is paying attention to the other person’s needs and acting on them, genuinely being there, listening and encouraging that special someone.
“Love is not envious.” In addition to encouragement, this phrase means expressing genuine happiness for the other and gratefulness to God for what he is doing in their life. It involves swallowing our pride and shifting our mind off ourselves.
“Love does not brag, it is not puffed up.” Love is not proud. Instead it is humble and serves the other with joy. Love does not look down on the other. It avoids competition and comparisons. Love does not try to one-up the other person by telling a better story about their day. Instead, it expresses interest in what they’ve said and listens attentively and patiently. In marriage and serious dating relationships, it is important we see ourselves as a team that honors and cheers on the other.
Many more aspects of love are clearly articulated in this chapter, and I would encourage you to go through them all. Think about what each area practically looks like for you, and be honest with yourself about what areas you need to grow more in. Remember that loving your significant other well is valuable not only today but also every other day.
All Scriptures taken from the New English Translation.