Love, Marriage, and the Missing Element of 1Corinthians 13

Most married couples will go to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for a solid definition of love.

  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, 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.  Love never fails.

That’s a great place to start . . . but if you want the full picture of love in marriage, this passage is missing something. See, in its context, this passage is describing love as a spiritual gift.  It is describing how we’re to love others in the church.  Yes, love is all these wonderful things listed in 1 Corinthians 13, but love in marriage is more.

What element of “marriage love” is missing in this passage?  Passion.  Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 again. 

            It describes a committed love. 

            It describes the type of love you owe to others as your Christian duty

            It describes the unwavering dedication of true Christian love.

But it doesn’t describe the passion a man and wife should have for each other.  It doesn’t fully address the element of passion you need in your marriage to keep it fresh–to reach its full potential of excellence. My love for my mate should go beyond what my love for others entails, wouldn’t you agree?

Now check out what Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs says when it describes marital love in 8:6b-7.

“. . . for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. 
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

That’s passion.

Love is strong as death. Death conquers all, right? And so does love. It’s the “love never fails” principle from 1 Corinthians 13, but with the passion of marriage behind it.

It burns like a blazing fire. We’re talking a consuming fire here. It burns past all obstacles. Marital love should be hot.

Many waters cannot quench love. This flame of love can’t be doused. It goes back to the 1 Corinthians love that “always perseveres”, but in marriage, it isn’t simply some kind of duty. Passionate, unquenchable love is the goalAnd the reward.

In fact it goes on to say that giving up all you have for such love would not be some noble sacrifice. It would be totally worth it. Passionate, marital love is thatgood.

Passion is the missing element in the 1 Corinthians 13 description of love.  And it’s the missing element in many, many marriages as well.  So how do you get the passion . . . or get the passion back in your marriage?  Start thinking about that.  And I’ll collect some thoughts on that as well. Look for that in the next blog post. 

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