1 Corinthians 13:4-8 has to be one of the most popular verses of all time. We see it everywhere. It's printed on throw pillows and cute little signs scattered around our homes. It's recited religiously at wedding (insert winking emoji).
I would even go as far as saying that most people in the secular part of society could quote at least one or two lines of this verse.
However, even those of us that have the entire verse memorized may not be familiar with this fun little exercise that we'll learn today. I can't remember where this was first taught to me, but it's made a huge impact on how I view relationships and I've been recommending it to others ever since.
So thank you to whoever shared it with me!
How to Tell if He/She is the One God has Chosen for You
Read this verse.
"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. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Now try this.
Replace the word "love" with the name of the person you are dating or interested in dating.
Andrew is patient, Andrew is kind. Andrew does not envy, Andrew does not boast.
So on and so forth.
Then ask yourself when you read it like that, does it still make sense? Are those statements true? If you're like oh no, none of these adjectives describe the person I'm dating, then you seriously need to reconsider whether or not that is the person God has chosen for you.
That's not to say that if a few words aren't 100% accurate then you need to break it off immediately.
Maybe Andrew isn't the most patient person, but he checks all of the other boxes. Perhaps then that's an area God's still working on with him. Let's not write the relationship off just yet.
However, if you read this and Andrew is not patient, he is not kind, he is envious, he is boastful, and he is proud.
Well, that doesn't seem like you're off to a very good start now does it?
We would call those red flags.
Don't ignore them.
Need further clarity about whether or not this is the person God has chosen for you?
Cross reference this verse with Galatians 5: 22-23. There you will find the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Does your significant other display the fruits of the spirit?
If the answer is still no - another big red flag.
The most important thing in a marriage is that both partners love Jesus and desire to love one another the way that he has taught.
When we are following Jesus our fruit should be evident.
Try it With Your Name
Likewise, you can take your own name and replace the word love.
Self-reflection is never a bad thing.
Does the verse still make sense when you use your name?
If not, perhaps this exercise has brought to your attention areas which could use some improvement.
Prior to entering a relationship is the perfect time to explore those character defects that sometimes go unnoticed.
We want to be the best and healthiest version of ourselves when we are preparing for our future spouse.
Dating intentionally involves dating with God and his word as our primary focus.
This activity is a fun way to evaluate ourselves and our significant other.
Teach This to Your Children
Do you have teenagers that are starting to notice the opposite sex?
A boy crazy daughter, a girl obsessed son?
Teach them this exercise!
Kids especially respond well to this activity and it's something that they will remember for the future relationships that are to come.
Do you have younger kids or grandkids?
Have them try it with their name.
What an awesome learning opportunity!
Open their eyes to how God has designed for us to love.
Encourage them to strive to demonstrate all of the beautiful characteristics that God has mentioned in this verse and remind them of the characteristics they should be looking for in a future spouse.
What to do if You're Married to Someone that isn't Patient or Kind
Okay married people.
So you tried out the activity and discovered you are married to someone that does not exemplify love at all in the way that God has described it in this verse.
Well, now you show this activity to your spouse and hopefully this is a starting point for how each of you can work together as a team to live out this verse in your marriage.
Start by acknowledging your short-comings and take responsibility for the times that you have missed the mark.
Repent. Ask for forgiveness. Pray together and ask that God heal your marriage where it needs repair, strengthen your marriage where it is weak, and praise God for the loving attributes he has blessed you with.
Gratitude in Marriage
Consider focusing more on which of these characteristics your spouse displays most often and thank them for being slow to anger or quick to forgive. Let them know that you appreciate their humility or their hopeful nature.
Whatever the circumstances may be. Come together to make improvements where necessary and celebrate together in the blessing God has given you as a couple.
If you found today's message helpful (and we hope you did) tell someone about
Your Praying Friend.
But most importantly - tell everyone about Jesus!
Until Next Time,
Your Praying Friend
Substance Abuse Counselor