Love is Patient, Love is Kind . . . Still
“Love is patient, love is kind…love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 8) Those famous words are quoted in countless weddings, and possibly even my own. I say ‘possibly’ because I don’t really remember much that was said, which gives me no little distress as the one who often does the talking at weddings.
Regardless the specifics, I know we heard a solid dose of biblical truth concerning God, marriage and love to which I nodded my head, sincere as could be. “Do you promise to love and cherish her?” he asked. “Oh yes, I certainly do,” I answered. I promised a great many things that day, all of them expressions of 1 Corinthians 13 love.
Today, 31 years later, I am amazed. I marvel at how little I really knew about love that day. I was like the disciples when they confidently declared their undying loyalty to Jesus. A short while later, he died and they bailed. Likewise, I pledged to love Kristin on our wedding day and yet failed her in countless ways that first year of marriage. The following 30 years have seen plenty of failure on my part as well. Kristin tells me I give people the wrong impression when I talk like this. I’m not saying that ‘failure’ is the primary word I would use to describe our 31 years of marriage. I am simply saying that I fall short on a fairly regular basis of what I promised on our wedding day.
Part of the reason for the poor showing is that the standard is perfection. “Love is patient, love is kind…” Whoa, stop! Don’t tell me any more yet; I’m still working on the first two. They are so simple to say, and yet they are a mountain I cannot even see the top of, let alone reach the summit. Much easier to hang them on the wall or put them on a card. (like I did today)
Nevertheless, we are still puffing our way up the mountain 31 years later. Today we are stopping to turn and enjoy the view, thanking God for his grace thus far and asking for more to bring us all the way home. I publicly thank my wife for her grace as I learn the lessons of love, and I thank God for being the One who truly never fails.