God explains “true love” in 1 Corinthians 13. There are seven positive (do) elements, such as being patient. There are eight negative (do not) elements, such as not being easily angered. True love is as much about what we do, as what we do not do. As you read them through, identify which aspect of love God has enabled you to be most skilled, and which the aspect in which you most need to grow.

  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Not envying
  • Not boasting
  • Not being arrogant
  • Not being rude
  • Not seeking what you want
  • Not being easily angered
  • Not keeping track of the wrong things your wife has done
  • Not delighting in evil and suffering
  • Rejoicing with truth and blessing
  • Protecting
  • Trusting
  • Hoping
  • Persevering

The more you do these things, the more you love your wife. The less you do these things the less you love your wife. Your feelings are not the measurement of your love. Your daily actions and attitudes are. I struggle with a lot of these, but patience would probably be at the top of the list. This character flaw in me is exacerbated when I am multi-tasking. If I am trying to check-my-email-help-clean-the-kitchen-watch-the-kids-and-keep-an-eye-on-the-news, I am frequently impatient with Amy. My impatience then can become rudeness.

One area where God has blessed Amy and me as we seek true love in our relationship is “not keeping a record of wrongs.” My mother, from as early as I can remember, taught me to practice Ephesians 4:26, “…do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” She never let my brother and I go to bed without resolving any conflict we may have had during the day and asking for each other’s forgiveness. There have been many times in our fifteen years of marriage where Amy or I wanted to hang on to our hurt or anger from the day. The forces of evil love to tempt us to roll to the far side of the bed, turn our back on our spouse and harden our hearts. It has required some very late nights of conversation, honesty, tears, and repentance.

For a serious challenge, ask your wife to share with you the three things on God’s love list that you do best, and the three in which she feels you need more growth. Thank her for her encouragement, and listen carefully to her concerns.

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