I made a discovery five years ago: I was an idiot when it came to relationships.
What made me so stupid was my assumption that just about every girl my age could be my magical future wife. Getting to that thought wasn’t hard since I also figured every girl was in love with me at first sight. But really this way of thinking had its roots in one very romantic lie. The lie:
I was about to find the one.
I’ve noticed now, though, that I’m not alone in believing that lie. A great mass of us believe it, or have believed it at some point. Why do we think happily ever after could happen at any moment? It’s almost that we feel that somehow, if we pour enough anxiety and hope into this idea of a spouse, he or she will come along quicker.
But when I read what the Bible has to to say about love, that’s not what I get at all. The Bible doesn’t tell me “be still and know that you will meet your wife at the next worship concert.” No- God is making a different kind of point entirely in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. The passage is in the middle of a section about positive community, about how to love on everyone around you. So, let’s dissect it in that manner. Seems to me that this is more of an insight to what kind of person I should be becoming, not what relationships will suddenly turn into upon marriage.
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.
Instead of constantly looking for the right one, why not focus on becoming right-hearted?
- Love is Patient, Kind. Are you being patient with everyone? With your circumstances? Are you finding time to be calm and even loving with those who may irritate you? Would the wait staff at the restaurants you frequent say that you were kind with them? If not, you need to exercise your patience and your kindness.
- Love does not boast, is not self-seeking. Most of the newly married guys I talk to tell me the biggest thing they learned in the first few months of marriage is how shamefully selfish they are. Be real- are you about what you need or are you about serving others? A good tool of measurement is to look at your bank statement and your calendar. Where is your time and your money going? If you want to be right-hearted, you’re going to need a heavy dose of servanthood, self-sacrifice, and humility.
- Love always protects. I recently heard a friend pray for the students around me to be brothers who fought for the purity of their sisters; sisters who fight for the sound minds in their brothers. Are you lifting up the integrity, the self image, and the creation that is the people around you? Would you go to great lengths to protect their heart, spirit, and mind?
I believe we can follow through on all these things, that we can all learn to love the way God designed it. We have to abandon these lies, lovely and romantic as they may be, and pursue a path that sets our own hearts right.
So, what kind of person would you be if you never found a spouse? Do you have work to do in your heart?