It’s easy to be confused about what real love is and what it’s not. We see images of roses, chocolates, and a fancy dinner. But those are mere things. Movies imply that someone who can complete our sentences or know our thoughts without speaking must really love us. But that is just wishful thinking.
The Bible tells us “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 records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
How can we experience this kind of love in our relationships, especially in marriage? Here is a little exercise. Try putting your name in the place of the word “love” and see how it reads to you.
_______________ is kind.
_______________ does not envy.
_______________ does not boast.
_______________ is not proud.
_______________ is not rude.
_______________ is not self-seeking.
_______________ is not easily angered.
_______________ keeps no records of wrongs.
_______________ does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth.
_______________ always protects.
_______________ always trusts.
_______________ always hopes.
_______________ always perseveres.
Ouch! This can be a humbling exercise as you feel little nudges from the Holy Spirit revealing areas where you may not be showing real love. But how do you become more loving?
Love is the first fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). The Author and Perfecter of love is God (Hebrews 12:2). In order to be more loving, more of God is needed to share with others. If your heart is full of God’s love, the overflow of your heart will be this “real love” that can only come from God. You can receive more of God’s love as you spend time in God’s Word, reflect on His attributes, and pray for more of His love to fill you.
By Heather Larson
Wife to Peter, Mom of 3
1 Corinthians 13 Team Member, BridgeWell Coaching, Associate Director of 10 Great Dates