Thoughts, observations, scripture and other articles relating to Christianity and the Christian life.

Valintines Day, 1 Corinthians 13 Style

Love can be shown in a whole lot of ways.  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman does a great job of breaking down the five ways people give and receive love (Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch).  But i think perhaps an even better resource for showing love comes from 1st Corinthians 13, the classic bible passage where the apostle Paul describes the evidences or symptoms (for lack of better terminology) of perfect, holy love.

“If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” That is how important love is.  We can aquire many things, but without love, we are nothing.

I consider myself a romantic, and I truly enjoy finding new ways to show Jenn (my fiance) that I love her.  The reward of her smiling, or a kiss or maybe a back rub (which I LOVE…hint hint if you are reading this Jenn) is another side benifit of just knowing that i made her feel good.  So I thought I would try to post some ideas to address each of hte characteristics of love addressed in 1st corinthians 13, just in time for valentines day.  Some of them are definitely NOT your typical valentines day gift, but they may help your relationship more than you think.  Here they are:

Love is PATIENT: Take your loved one to a place or an activity that you know they really enjoy, and that you don’t particularly enjoy and smile and help them enjoy it the whole time. (this will be a testament to your intent to be patient and to sacrifice for him or her).  Jenn showed this to me last year by taking me to a Seahawks game in Seattle.  She does not like football, but she knows I’m a Seahawks maniac so she took me there.  She earned BIG points that day…especially since it was the first Seahawks game that i have been to where they WON.

Love is KIND: The closest synonym for “kindness” that I can find is compassion.  Look for something your loved one has been struggling with lately: Stress, cleaning the garage, organizing family pictures, *cough* helping to plan a wedding *cough*.  Find ways to help your loved one get through whatever challenges they are facing, lighten their burden, heck, even just letting them know that you can see the struggle they are going through and showing them you care and understand can be a big help.

Love is not JEALOUS: One of the best ways to show not being jealous (even though, lets face it, every girl/guy likes it a little bit when their partner is a little jealous) is to give them a free day to go do something for themselves:  going out with the girls/guys, a bubble bath, going to play a game of catch with the guys something like that…and while they are doing this activity, do a chore for them, do something that you know they are usually responsible for and they dread, so that way when they get back, ITS DONE!

Love does NOT BRAG and is NOT ARROGANT: Leave your ego at the door.  Instead brag and boast at the wonderful qualities your loved one possesses.  Maybe they are an excellent musician, or they can cook like crazy, or they are a great underwater basket weaver, whatever.  Just let them know that you recognize how wonderful they are and what great things they are capable of.

Love does not act UNBECOMINGLY: We all have habits or things that we do that drive our loved ones crazy.  I whistle from time to time (Jenn can’t stand it) and so I have made a big effort not to whistle.  What things do you do that you know drives your loved one crazy?  Make a SERIOUS effort not to do that thing today (as long as it is within reason…if your snoring drives him/her crazy, you shouldn’t give them permission to smother you…), and work on not doing that thing from now on.  You might be surprised at the peace it can bring into a household.

Love does not seek its OWN: Selfishness is a hugely unaddressed issue in our culture today.  I’m guilty of it as much as anybody.  Instead of thinking about what you want, think about something small your partner wants, and go get it or provide that service for them.

Love is NOT PROVOKED: Jenn and I went to a pre-marital counselor recently and he gave us a wonderful and relationship changing piece of wisdom: “Anytime your partner says or does something that upsets you, think about this:  Your partner loves you (or at least should) more than any person on this earth.  They want what is best for you, so do you think they intended that comment or question as an attack or a disservice?” This thinking has really helped us communicate more effectively and lovingly toward one another.  I pray that you can think this way as well.

Love does not take into account a WRONG SUFFERED: We are all flawed human beings.  We have all done things that we regret and wish to forget about.  Make a commitment today to not bring up anymore something that you may have been holding onto as a grudge.  Let it go.  If we are to forgive others 70 x7, how much more are we to forgive our significant other?  Bringing up the past can be VERY painful for the other person, and if they have repented and turned from that action, it is not fair to keep throwing it in their face.  That is not love, that is petty and immature.

Love does not REJOICE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS: While valentines day is probably not the best day to do this (I wouldn’t blame you if you wait to do this at another time), it may be tough, but for the sake of the other persons righteousness, bring up something lovingly, gently within the frame of wanting to help the other person improve or help them in an area in their life.  Also bring up the idea that you have areas of your life that you would like them to point out where you could improve.

Love rejoices with TRUTH: Have you been keeping something from your loved one?  Let the truth come out and set both of you free.  While doing something or saying something without the knowledge of your spouse can be hurtful, letting a lie or misuse of trust continue can be even MORE damaging or devastating to the relationship.  Confessing to your partner your sin or wrongdoing may result in hurt feelings, but the fact that you love and respect them enough to be transparent with them can go a long way in the long run.  If you are being transparent with your partner REJOICE!  There are many relationships out there that are suffering under the burden of secrecy and lies.  Be joyful in the clearness and purity in your consciences.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things: Keep a positive attitude!  If you are negative or untrusting, LET THOSE THINGS GO!  Be positive!  Be joyful!  For believers, the troubles of this age are not to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed!  Even if you are in a struggling relationship, recognise that our days our numbered and our true home is with the Lord.  We will be there sooner than we think!  Be there for your partner NO MATTER WHAT!

Love NEVER FAILS: Perfect love (Jesus) never fails.  We are human and therefore prone to failure.  But love is also forgiving, enduring and patient.  Even in our inperfection, we can still keep trying to emulate perfect love thanks to the power of forgiveness.

This article got a bit more heavy than I intended, so I wanted to leave you with some other fun ideas:

Sticky notes: Hide sticky notes with little sayings of things you like about your partner all over their car, house, workspace, bathroom, in their books, DVD cases.  I have done this before and Jenn would not find some of them for weeks.  Then out of the blue she would come into the room with a smile and give me a kiss and show me the note she found.  It’s like planting love seeds.  You forget you even planted them, and then you can reap thier rewards.

Poetry: I know guys, I know.  Its sappy, corny, cheesy…and it WORKS!  I’m telling you, even a short four verse poem (especially if its funny or has an inside joke) can work wonders.  Make her a binder to keep all of them in so that she can go back to them, or show them off to her friends (then that whole jealousy thing comes into play and you look that much better).

Candy: Because EVERYONE loves candy.

Flowers: Because every chick loves flowers. 🙂

Stuffed Animals: Do i even have to explain this one?

I hope this article has been helpful.  Add some ideas of your own if I forgot about anything.

-Neil

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