Friday, June 19, 2009

Contemplating Love

One of the first conversations my husband and I had turned into a philosophical discussion of the meaning of love. At some point, to my astonishment, he grabbed a Bible and read a passage from St. Paul's Letter to the Corinthians.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. " (13:4-7)

I remember how relieved and joyful I felt over his sincere agreement with this view of love. In my life, I had used this passage as an interior checklist to judge romantic love.

Being married ten years this month, I look at this passage with some additional wisdom that I did not possess on my wedding day at 24 years old. We have lived these ideas, time and life has broken them in like new leather shoes. I still say today with certainty that St. Paul's view of love is accurate, but I've learned that it is also a bar set very high. St. Paul is challenging us to love like God does.

Perseverance comes into play through darker times when feelings are shaken by life's tests, small and large. Then it becomes apparent how love is a choice of how to act rather than a feeling. Through those moments one must be patient. Martina McBride sings the idea beautifully:

"It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough. It's giving more when you feel like giving up." -(from In My Daughter's Eyes)

When both husband and wife faithfully attempt to live out St. Paul's view of love, it's easy at times, and difficult at others to stick to this way of loving, but it can be transforming. Something amazing happens when you persevere, when you include God in your relationship through prayer. God gives you grace. He lifts you above rough waters and strengthens the love between you and your spouse, so the easy times are that much sweeter. Then marriage changes you both for the better spiritually.

"If you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones..."
- (I Will Try to Fix You, -ColdPlay)


Kimberly said...

Beautifully written! We had this passage in our wedding ceremony, and your post made me start thinking about the significance of the words 5 years since we married. I think it's a great idea you have to look back on the meaning of love a couple has talked about to think about how the words and meaning have been present in the marriage over the years!

Loren Christie said...

Hi Kim. Thanks for the nice comment.

Caity said...

Aw, beautiful entry. We are also having that reading at our wedding next Friday! Congratulations on being married for 10 years! It really is great to read about such an amazing marriage as I hope to have one very similar. :)

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

This is so well said! Congratulations on making it for 10 years!

RAnn said...

Well said. Thanks for joining us at Sunday Snippets.

Anonymous said...

Interesting commentary. Other than the previously mentioned inspiration that you brought to that "Journeys of St. Paul" class I took at SJC, the other thing that continues to remain with me to this day was the discussion we had on this very passage.

Our teacher called this the most misued passage which is taken out of context every time it is spoken at a wedding (his thoughts certainly didn't stop me from using it at my wedding). According to the teacher, it is not about romantic love, but a missive on how we should be living our lives and treating everybody we come in contact with (a more detailed definition of "love thy neighbor" if you will).

I was not quite sure where he was going with that and what he had hoped to accomplish, because on a micro level, you need to be able to express that kind of love to yourself and to those who are closest around you before you can expand it on a macro level to everyone around you. Even if it does come out of context in a wedding situation, I still don't take issue with its use there becasue the message is a solid one whether it is applied to your spouse or the world at large...


Loren Christie said...

Hi G. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I had a teacher at SJC who turned Jesus' miracle feeding the crowd into a mundane incident of sharing. Of course I had to open my mouth in protest because I just couldn't help myself. I have great respect for the teacher although I disagreed there.

I think you are right, the passage is about God's love, in all it's phases, or roles, not just romantic love.

jen said...

Paul's letter is so amazing. I never tire of reading it or reading about your love for your husband. Feels so rare these days.

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Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


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