Your mother and I have been married for a little over a year. By absolutely no means are we marriage experts, but I figure that by the time you have your first date when you’re 25, we will have mastered the principles talked about in these next few posts. So, here we are: 12 things we learned in 12 months (+1) of marriage:
Number 1: 1 Corinthians 13 is a how-to manual on love, written in chronological order.
Everyone knows this verse. It’s the famous one about love. Paul wrote it in a letter to this church in Corinth, teaching them what proper love was because they were the equivalent of a 1st century youtube comment page. Corinth was a nasty, nasty place, and they needed to know about true love.
So Paul laid down the hammer, and ever since, people have this chapter read at their weddings. This is the good meat:
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. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Beautiful right? It’s easy to see why so many couples love this verse. It really does embody all the aspects of love. Not only does it give you a checklist for what love should look like, but it goes a step further. It’s actually in chronological order.
It’s no mistake that Paul starts off by saying love is patient. While that isn’t going to make cute little pink hearts spontaneously bubble out of a woman’s eyes, patience is the first building block to a good marriage. Or any good relationship, period.
We are still learning this lesson. Just the other week, your mother and I got into a shouting match over a video game that I wanted to buy. When I told your mother I wanted to get it, she expressed some concern of the content in the game. By the time those sound waves spiraled their way through my inner ear and into my brain, all I managed to hear was “You can’t have it, Mike.” Which prompted me to do my best, “I’m a five year old throwing my sippy cup at the wall while still maintaining the illusion of being a rational adult” impression I could muster. (Embarrassing confession: When I get really mad, I start doing a surly squaredance and stomp my feet really loud. This sometimes makes your mother giggle.) I wanted that game, Blue. It had space and guns and those are my favorites! MY FAVORITES!
I wasn’t ready to listen, and so I heard what I wanted to hear. All I heard was no, which was not what your mother was telling me. My impatience lead to a stupid argument, where I was easily angered, self-seeking and rude. Then my impatience lead to your mother’s impatience, and all of sudden, we were not being very loving. Records of wrongs were brought up, sarcasm became a delightful evil, and what could have been a simple discussion lasting five minutes turned into a much longer struggle.
Without patience, everything else falls out of line. Quickly. I know this because I can recount dozens of times when I wasn’t patient with your mother, or she wasn’t patient with me, and we ended up fighting needlessly, yelling and talking in circles only to repair damage we both did while we were angry. It wasn’t this one time incident.
On the other hand, I can also remember times when we were patient with each other. Instead of having long, protracted arguments that resembled trench warfare, we had discussions. Like, real adult discussions where we shared differing viewpoints and came to a peaceful resolution quickly.
It’s true, Blue. This never fails.