Summary: Our church is doing a FireProof Marriage Series. Here is my offering of the first in our series.
I. LOVE IS ABOUT GIVING AND NOT ABOUT RECEIVING
READ 1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-5a
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking…”
These verses in 1 Corinthians tell us what love is and what it is not. We can read in the verse that love is not about taking from others. Love is not about taking someone’s esteem and tearing them down. Love is not about taking away a spirit of respect. Love is not about you and what you receive from a relationship… it never has been according to God’s definition and He is the author of love.
Love is, however, all about giving. Paul says that love is first about giving patience. What does that mean exactly? How does that work out in a marriage? The word patience is one that means “to be of long spirit” or “not to lose heart.” It also means “mild and slow in avenging.” Patience needs another definition especially for marriage and I have come up with a great definition: “persistent tolerance.” Love is something that is full of persistent tolerance. I thought I made up this combination of words… “persistent tolerance” until I googled the phrase. Apparently “persistent tolerance” is a medical term that basically means that with constant exposure to certain medications that a person’s body becomes tolerant to certain medications and their cells even alter to become resistant to medications (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17218615).
To be honest, that makes a lot of sense when it comes to marriage. I hope I explain this well and have put a diagram in your sermon notes to help… because this is important. Imagine in the situation that you are the body and your spouse’s annoying habits, the frustrations if your marriage, and the road blocks of your life are the medication. Those frustrations and habits come from them and get under your skin and cause issues. Let’s also assume that they will never change and the same annoying habits your spouse has today they will always have in 25 years. In patience you, the body, will develop a tolerance towards those stresses and God will work and change you to be able to deal with them. Loving God’s way changes our hearts to be able to interact and handle the other person in a patient manner. In the end, the frustrations and roadblocks to your marriage are still there, but God has changed you to deal with them. Does that makes sense? Loving God’s way changes our hearts to deal with other people.
Paul also states that love is about giving kindness. What does that mean exactly? How does that work out in a marriage? Kindness is love in action. Kindness is compassion and sympathy and gentleness. Kindness is thoughtfulness, consideration, and helpfulness. I do not wish to belabor the point, but Paul says that love cannot be just on the inside, but that it needs to leak out into our words, in our actions, and in how we are helpful to our spouse.