I officiated a wedding this past weekend for a friend of mine, and in preparing the sermon for the ceremony, I discovered some powerful things as I read, studied, and talked with other married and single people about their experiences in life and in relationship. Based around the passage from I Corinthians 13:1-13 about what love is and how love responds in relationship, as well as these conversations, I wanted to share with you all three insights I had while preparing the ceremony.
1. Remember what Love is! Now, it seems like that would be a simple thing to remember. I mean love is… well, love is… love is one of those words and concepts that is easy to understand emotionally and nearly impossible to define intellectually! To fully understand love means to not simply rely on what we can see, taste, touch, hear, and smell for meaning. To truly understand love you must also be willing to tap into what your heart is saying, and what the experience feels like. You would be surprised how often the clients I work with are attempting to solve emotional confusion through logical thought. It just doesn’t work. Trying to understand love without being willing to experience it works the same way. From the text we see that love is patient, and kind, it rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and most importantly endures all things. Remember those words as you continue to grow and mature in your intimacy and understanding of one another.
2. Remember what Love is NOT! Again this seems like it would be a simple thing to remember, but once again, like so many things it is easy to lose sight of what is important and focus on who left the dishes on the counter, who didn’t take out the trash, and who was the last one to clean the bathroom. Focusing on these details isn’t love, yet so often we fall into those patterns or communicating with one another in an attempt to be intimate or close. True intimacy, while desirable, can be uncomfortable to experience initially . Push through your resistance to truly being with one another and allow yourselves the freedom to be vulnerable with one another. Relationships are built on communication, trust, and safety. The beauty of vulnerability lies in its simplicity. Vulnerability can be far more powerful than anger or resentment, nagging or lists, vulnerability and having access to your emotions forms the core of how you can truly relate to one another. Use vulnerability generously with one another. While love is not irritable or resentful, envious or arrogant, it is, at its core, emotional openness and vulnerability. Love requires a deep level of trust, and yet fostering it increases dramatically the capacity to feel a deeper level of intimacy and satisfaction.
3. Remember to breathe! Once again, this would seem like an easy thing to remember, but let me explain what I mean. You will forget what love is. You will forget to be patient and kind, in fact you may rush to impatience, irritability or envy in times of instability. Remember to breathe! Remember that these are inevitabilities of any relationship. What will characterize your relationship is your ability to remember what love is, to gently, or perhaps not so gently remind one another of the vows you will take today and the principles upon which your marriage is founded. A good marriage and an intimate relationship is not founded on a lack of conflict, or an unwillingness to engage, it is marked by resolution of conflict and a willingness to be with one another regardless of their mood, condition, or disposition. That is what love is. This willingness, dedication and the breath of fresh air that comes as the two of you connect more deeply and intimately with one another is what love is.
My prayer for the two of you is that from this day forward you would remember what love is, what it is not, and how to breathe as you figure out the difference. Your willingness to truly be with one another is a reflection of your love. My prayer is that you would find unity in the perfect balance that you have created and are working to maintain.
I want to leave the two of you with a question, what will people see when they look at the two of you? What love will they experience from you?