The Love Chapter, in 1 Corinthians 13, holds a special place in my heart. Not too long ago I spoke these words to my husband, as we stood in front of family and friends and pledged our lives to each other. I promised to love him this way, but I often fall short when it comes to this type of Godly love.
My selfish tendencies often overtake my desire to love my husband wholeheartedly. This problem is amplified when it comes to his career in the military. At times, I am anything but loving and supportive. I am anything but flexible.
I tried to look up the word “flexible” in the Bible, but nothing came up. And so, instead, I decided to look harder at 1 Corinthians 13. I found three phrases there that seem to correlate with the trait of flexibility:
These phrases tell us that love: “does not seek it’s own,” “endures all things,” “never fails” (NASB Version).
This is the kind of love I strive to have for myself.
But what do these above phrases mean?
Let’s delve a bit deeper and look at their original meaning the Greek.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is my good friend when it comes to looking up the original meaning of the words. Here’s what I found for each of these phrases:
1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that Love “Does not seek it’s own.” The Greek word for “does not seek” is zēteo. So this phrase is telling us that Love does not crave, or demand something from someone.
Wow, this is a tough one. I know that I often make demands of my husband that he can’t fulfill because of his job. I want him to call me during the day, come home early just to be with me, and spend the entire weekend going places with me, entertaining my every whim. But this verse seems to be saying that true love doesn’t look like this. It seems to be saying that I shouldn’t demand things from my husband, but should instead focus on doing things for him.
1 Corinthians 13:7 says that Love “endures all things.” I was so excited when I looked up these words. First, the Greek word for “endures” is hypomenō, which means to remain, to bear bravely and calmly. The word used for “all things” is pas which simply means “everything.”
True love remains through everything, good times and bad, times of deployment, and times of safety, times of stress and times of peace. True love goes through these times calmly, knowing that God will provide.
This isn’t easy, I’ll admit. At times, I am anything but calm. I stress, I worry, and I make like more difficult overall. God is slowly working on me when it comes to this sort of love. I know that I need to be flexible and love my husband through the tough times.
1 Corinthians 13:8 says that love “never fails.” The Greek word for “never” is oudepote which simply means never. The Greek word for “fails” is piptō which means to perish, i.e. come to an end, disappear, cease. In other words “never fails” means to never come to an end.
True love never ends. It always perseveres, through good times and bad. Our society today seems to believe that people fall in and out of love. God’s word tells us that agape love never ceases to exist.
My paraphrased version of theses three love above attributes is this:
Love does not crave or demand something from someone. It remains through everything. Love never comes to an end.
What does this mean to me? It means that I will need God’s help immensely in order to love my husband this way. I can’t do it on my own. If I tried, I would fail. But instead, I depend on God to see me through each day. I ask him to help me love my spouse, to help me remain constant through the touch times, and to put his needs before my own.
As I remain through those tough times, I ask God for flexibility. I ask him to give me a heart that can support my husband and whatever changes may come up in our day-to-day life. I don’t hold onto my own plans and goals too much, but instead, ask God to help me follow wherever my husband may lead.