1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
(English Standard Version)
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (ESV)”
The bible verse above taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was spoken at our wedding 23+ years ago–as it seems to be used at many weddings I attend. It is an exhortation to get love right–to not mess it up. The sentiments expressed above are a high standard for anyone–be you talking about romantic love, friendship love, or familial love. So let’s unpack the verses a bit, sprinkled with examples from my life.
1) is patient and kind–I am on board with being kind, but patience is not a virtue that I possess. Rabbits speeding past tortoises have more patience than I do. Ha! And yet, patience must have taken root within me somewhere, for Lord knows (sorry God) that husbands require patience. I think that the commandment stating thou shalt not kill is geared to spouses whose partner has left the seat up or down, opened packaging and left it sit on the countertop rather than recycling or throwing it away, spilled coffee grounds and not cleaned them up, and ahem kkhh *cough* want a man with the opposite of “slow hands” at a particular moment.
2) does not envy or boast–Thinking that someone or some couple has a better life than you is self defeating on too many levels. We don’t know that they have holes in their underwear, forgot to pay their internet bill, or got a bad cramp while being romantically creative and had to stop before paramedics needed to be called in, etc. And if your life is perfect? Put a sock in it. No one wants to hear your drivel about love and relationships all the time (note to self, ha!). Take a page from the ancients and don’t tempt the gods to ruin your destiny by flaunting your good fortune in their faces. Especially when gods are immortal and they have heard every excuse before headaches were invented.
3) is not arrogant or rude–Don’t be a Narcissus and die because you are so in love with yourself that it doesn’t leave room for anyone else to love you. And no one wants to be around an ill mannered, uncouth, vulgar, boorish, disrespectful, and offensive person–like Donald _____ (I don’t’want to get sued). To be loved, one needs to be loving–that is similar to the adage, to have a friend, you must first be a friend.
4) does not insist on its own way–No, not at all. Insisting gets you nowhere fast. It is much better to psych your partner out and make them think it was their idea in the first place to add 2 foot by 8 foot wooden lattice sections (totaling 250 feet) around the inside perimeter of your alternating wooden picket fence in the back yard in order to prevent the beagle puppy from getting out. How? By first proposing what you know they will object to because it is too much work–adding 200 more pickets on the inside of the fence to create a shadow effect. Then when they are casting about for less of a honey do project, you casually mention the lattice fencing idea that they seize upon as their own. Works like a charm. Snap!
5) is not irritable or resentful–Obviously, St. Paul never had PMS, swollen ankles, hives, pantyhose creep, or a gaseous husband. Ha! And holding onto a grudge is more harmful to the one holding it than to the one being resented. Hells bells, if we didn’t forgive our partner/friend/family member every day for something large or small that they did to annoy us (see item 1), then we would have kicked them to the curb long ago. But good friends and romantic partners in training don’t grow on trees. So him spilling coffee grounds on the kitchen countertop I can live with. Snap!
6) does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth–I always say that engagements are held together by a ring and a payer (versus a wing and a prayer). Ha! But truthfully, relationships are built on trust and fidelity. Relationships should not devolve into a scene from “Mean Girls”. High school is over, it is time to put down the pom poms, take off the letter jackets, and stop passing notes in class. If anything when you form a love or friend relationship, it is about becoming a clique of two–becoming best buddies, best lovers (in the case of your romantic partner), or both, for life. In other words, you have each others’ backs. You stand up for them and they stand up for you–even when neither of you have a leg to stand on. By supporting each other, you can stand and flourish.
7) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things–This is where the vows of for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health come in. You can’t be a fair weather friend or lover. It is easy to love or to be a good friend when all is going right. But when life turns difficult, that is when you find out who your true friends and who your true loves are. Because even when your husband is without work for 6 months because the small store he managed closed, you have to hope and believe that you will get through it together. And eventually, he gets another job–as you had faith in him that he would–and you can breathe a little sigh of relief. You’re still in debt but you have each other. Even if material things are taken away, you still have each other–which is more valuable than gold.
8) never ends–If we are very very very lucky–and we work hard on all of the above.
So there you have it! One woman’s–my–nearly 25 year sojourn in learning how to stay in love and be loving that harkens back to some sage advice that my husband and I received early on. And whenever the guideposts seemed hazy or moss covered over the years, we just made it up as we went along–as a team, of two. Maybe in the next 25 years we’ll design t-shirts for our team. Ha!
P.S. Oh! And the RA Styling Valentines I created and sprinkled throughout this post? They are just for some fun. Besides, where Richard Armitage is concerned, what is not to love? Ha! Happy Valentine’s Day!
All Richard Armitage images are courtesy of www.RichardArmitageNet.com
Valentines related images are stock images courtesy of MS Office Clip Art at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/??Origin=EC790014051033&CTT=6&ver=12&app=winword.exe
Nota Bene: The phrase honey do project is derived chiefly from wives thinking up chores that their honey/husband can do–honey do this, or that, or the next thing, etc. Ha!