The True Definition of Love
What is love? What is your definition of love as it pertains to marriage and relationships? Most people believe that love is an emotional thing. Yea, that feeling you get when he tells you how much he’s in love with you. Oh yes, that skipping of the heartbeat when she told you she wants to be with you.
Love is not an emotion; love is a decision. The Act of Love Leads to emotion, but love is not emotional. Love is all about taking actions and making a decision to love. Love will allow you to show up when showing up is difficult. Love will influence you to respect your spouse even when it is difficult to do so. If we learn to separate our emotions from love, we will be better equipped to understand what is love and how love works.
In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul gives the best definition in the portrait of Love. Here are a few key ones.
1. Love Is Patient (v 4)
Patient love endures and never gets tired of waiting. It allows us to wait for our spouse to be their best. Patient love does not give up on your marriage just because things are going wrong. If you have never learned how to be patient welcome to marriage, you are about to learn how. Patient love does not let you walk away from your family when the going gets tough. Stop treating your marriage like you do the food you put in the microwave. You set the microwave for 3 minutes then complain it is taking too long. Your love for your spouse will get tested, and it is during these tests you will know how much your marriage vows means to you. “Love will lock its jaws and refuse to give up.”
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4
2. Love is Kind (v4)
Love is kind. The expression of love is not mean, it is kind and compassionate. Kindness is the ability to give or treat someone better than they deserve. Kindness is pure love in action. Be kind to your spouse. If you are expecting your spouse to change, then kindness is necessary even when they don’t deserve it.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
3. Love Does Not Envy (v4)
Love is not envious. If you envy your spouse that is not love. Love celebrate you and support you. Love will let you push your spouse to do better. A person generally criticizes the individual whom he secretly envies. Husband and wife should not envy each other; you are both on the same team. You are a partner in marriage, whatever you do to your spouse you are doing it to yourself the two of you are one in the marriage.
4. Love Does Not Boast(v4)
Love is not boastful. Love does not seek to show off or make others look bad. Love does not put itself on display. Love is often needed most by the people who deserve it the least. Love is humble and meek it is not high-minded.
5. Love Is Not Proud(v4)
Love is not Proud; it reaches people where they are. Love sees you as you can be. The love that God has for us is a perfect example of unconditional love. God’s love does not discriminate, he loves us even though we do not deserve it.
6. Love Is Not Rude (v5)
Love is not rude, it knows how to present and behave itself. Love does not behave indecently. The Greek phrase could literally be translated “does not act unbecomingly” or “does not act inappropriately.” Christian love does not seek to cause problems, and it does not belittle others. Christian love involves choosing appropriate actions and responses that help other people.
7. Love Is Not Self-Seeking (v5)
Paul wrote that love is not self-seeking. Love does not insist on its own way. Love think more about the other person. Selfish people do not do well in marriage. Marriage allows you to give much of yourself. If you are a selfish and self-centered person, you are better off living alone because you won’t do well in marriage. Love is always giving. The true essence of love is what you give, not what you get from it.
8. Love Is Not Easily Angered (v5)
Love is an attribute of God and one of His gifts to us. 1 Corinthians 13 offers some tremendous perspective regarding the true nature of Christian love. A portion of the description says that love “is not easily angered” (verse 5). This helps us understand what true love looks like (and what it doesn’t).
If love is not easily angered, then a person with a “short fuse,” who becomes angry easily, is not showing love. Love is called “patient” in verse 4 (both love and patience are listed as fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 Patience includes the ability to tolerate weaknesses in others without readily expressing anger. “Love covers over a multitude of sins” 1Peter 4:8 it doesn’t fly off the handle at every provocation. Love is not quick to take offense. Love does not seek to attack, love seek peace. Those who are easily irritated or angry must remember that no one is perfect, perfection exists only in God.
9. Love Always Protects (v7)
A man will invest and protect who and what he loves. Wives love to be protected; it makes them feel valued and cherished. They yearn for physical, financial, and emotional protection. Husbands, when you keep your wife safe and sound, you speak their love language. Your provision of a dependable automobile and a secure home screams love. Because you love your family, you protect them from unwise financial exposure. Love protects emotionally because it understands the sensitive nature of others.
10. Love Is Trust (v7)
In 1 Corinthians 13:7, we see that love is more than an abstraction or ideal; it is action. Four specific actions are “always” performed by true love, and the second is that love “always trusts” (NIV) or “believes all things” (ESV). First, we should understand what this description of love does not mean. The fact that love believes all things does not make a loving person a dupe. Neither does it mean that love is naïve, undiscerning or credulous. We’re not talking about gullibility here, and a foolish lack of skepticism is not a part of love.
11. Love Is Hope(v7)
Part of showing love is hoping, and part of hoping is seeing the potential of others. As Goethe said, “If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” In love, we can always be hopeful and show confidence in others. This does not rule out confrontation or the redress of wrongs, but the impact of a positive attitude in the life of another person is incalculable.
12. Love Always Persevere (v7)
There is a persistence to love, even in the tough times. The Greek word hupomenei carries the idea of “remaining” or “enduring.” Love doesn’t quit or give up. Love lasts. The love spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13 is not a fleeting romance or a fading feeling. Instead, godly love always perseveres. During good times and bad, the love of God’s people endures the challenges of life and remains steadfast. In the wedding vows, a husband and wife take each other “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” The basis of this pledge is the fact that love perseveres.
13. Love Never Fails( v8)
Love never fails, the English Standard Version adds to our understanding of these words, translating them as “Love never ends.” The next sentence contrasts love with other spiritual gifts: “But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” Prophecies, tongues, and knowledge are all temporary. Not so with love. Because love is a basic attribute of God (1 John 4:8) and because God is eternal, love will also be eternal. Love will never fail.
The Greek word translated “fails” in the NIV is related to a verb meaning “to fall.” By saying, “Love never fails,” the Bible means that God’s type of love will not fall or falter. It is constant forever. As God says in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love