This topic could not have come at a better time in my marriage. Do you have a thing – that one thing – that comes up again and again? There are a few in our relationship, but when one, in particular, comes back up I just want to scream. In the past this thing made me want to walk away from him and just be done with marriage altogether. But as we’ll see today, learning how brave love bears all things in marriage will help us focus on God more than ourselves. This is what I really need today as that one thing is happening again.
Why Learn How Love Bears all Things in Marriage?
Love is a loaded word. On the surface, love seems to be emotional, full of feelings and hope. But when I dig deeper, I see that Biblical love is a choice that requires a daily commitment.
We are nearing the end of our study on a 1 Corinthians 13 love and shifting our focus a bit from a personal focus to a God focus. But first, do you remember that first feeling of “love”?
I was a scrawny blond-headed 5-year-old and he was the preacher’s youngest son. I used to chase him around the sanctuary, trying to steal a kiss. He thought I was crazy and full of cooties. That certainly was not the “love bears all things” kind of love we need.
The problem I face with love is that I always believed it would be a feeling, a strong feeling. When life is hard and my husband messes up, I don’t feel that feeling as strongly.
A wounded heart does not jump to love. So bearing all things feels impossible.
Why learn this Biblical love?
- It’s in the Bible.
- God says it’s the right way to love.
Both are true, but they aren’t enough on hard days. I need a better reason to keep pushing myself. Don’t you?
1 Corinthians 13 Love Is Active
We have been looking into 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and applying it to our marriage, striving to be godly wives in healthy godly marriages.
So far, we’ve seen that all the words in this passage are verbs, they require action to live out.
Something else fascinating about this first section of words is that they are for us personally. Each verb is a way to relate to other people, including our spouse. You are welcome to go back and review them – don’t worry, I’ll wait right here 😉
Related Post: 16 Characteristics of a Godly Marriage
Who Said Love Bears Everything?
Who said love bears everything? We see that in our study looking at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act disrespectfully or unbecomingly; it does not seek it’s own, is not provoked to anger, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, enduring all things. Love never fails.“
Each verb in this list builds on the previous word until I almost want to scream, “ITS TOO HARD!!!!!”
Does it feel like they are building up to something specific? This study has been the intersection of two stories, my marriage story, and Paul’s letter.
A Marriage Story Meets The Bible
As I began studying about love and marriage in the Bible I was in a desperate place. My marriage was close to divorce. I needed God to come through in a BIG way! Boy did He!!!!!!!
God began speaking to me in an intense way here in 1 Corinthians 13 – the most
boring I mean popular passage on love in the Bible.
This is where God first showed me the concept of a godly wife living to serve HIM in a godly marriage.
I had been married to Bud for 13 years. But never in that time had I opened the bible to see if God had a specific plan for marriage. I had just been doing marriage the way others around me did, following the cultural way of marriage. Failing in marriage.
Then, God began to show me that He has a way! So Biblical love was where I started. It turns out that marriage is just as messy in the Bible as it is in our world today. And in the middle of the messy, God laid some clear expectations.
Does God talk about how to “wife” in the Bible? He does!
Back to 1 Corinthians. This letter was written to a church full of Christians like you and me. These Christians were not getting along well (like Bud and me at the time). They were acting un-lovingly, selfishly, and a lot of other “ly” words (just like we were in our marriage).
So Paul comes along and says, “Do you all even know what love is?” (Tiffany Paraphrase). And He tells them all that we’ve seen so far about how love should look.
Then Paul shifts from talking about how Christians treat each other to focusing o how Christ treats us – and how we are to imitate Christ.
Jesus Christ consistently shows us that love bears all things because HE bears all things for us. We are called to imitate HIS love, especially in this way.
What Does it Mean That Love Bears All Things?
What does, “love bears all things” mean? The phrase, “love bears all things,” means this:
- Love covers with silence or endures patiently – all things.
Are there things you have to endure? Things that come up over and over again that require patience are just tough.
Biblical love, love that imitates Jesus’ example, covers and endures patiently.
More Love Bears All Things Scripture
I love the concept of love enduring because it is talked about in other parts of scripture, let me give you two.
“If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 9:12 (NASB)
We help advance the gospel of Christ when we endure (or bear) all things. That is what this love bears all things Bible verse teaches us.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 (NASB)
We receive the crown of life when we endure all things. The crown of life that is talked about in this bible verse love bears all things, is not something we hear about much today so let’s break that down a bit.
- The crown of life is a wreath put on an Olympian’s head to symbolize victory. Keep in mind that James is telling us that on the other side of endurance is victory and completeness.
What would that look like in our marriage?
Marriage Is Hard But God is Good
In my marriage, hard things happen often. What about you?
- Financial stress
- Health issues
- Hurtful words
- Thoughtless actions
The list of hard things could go on and on. Facing those hard things with love is a choice we have to make every day. When we get it right, it shines God’s love all around us.
Talk about putting an eternal perspective on the idea of love. I would call that a brave love that bears all things!
Why bother learning how to live out a love that bears all things?
What does it mean to bear all things? The true ‘love bears all things meaning’ is so deep. When we endure the hard times in our marriage we show the world around us that God is big enough to work anything out.
- We show the world that we have a helper to change things and make all things new.
- The world will see there is something in following Christ that is worthwhile.
- We demonstrate God’s love in a real way they can see and feel, and it draws them to Jesus.
How To Apply Love Bears All Things
Why let love bear all things? It shows God’s love in a deeper way. Okay okay, we already knew that answer. The real problem is not why we love, but how we actually show that kind of Biblical love. For that, we need a marriage challenge.
First, let me say -we can’t bear all things if we aren’t working on the first 10 verbs in the list from 1 Corinthians 13. Each of those came with a marriage challenge. If you skimmed them, go back and work through the challenges and then come back to this one.
Today’s challenge will take some prayer. You’re not shocked by that anymore right!?!? Here are the steps:
- Boundaries for abuse
- Make a List
- Pray through the list
- Check your love style
- Affirm where you can
Step 1. Abuse and Boundaries in Marriage
If you are in an abusive marriage or an abusive relationship, use caution.
There is NEVER a reason for abuse. Every kind of abuse is wrong.
- Physical abuse is not okay with God.
- Mental abuse is not okay with God.
- Sexual abuse is not okay with God.
- Spiritual abuse is not okay with God.
- Financial abuse is not okay with God.
Abuse is not your fault. Abuse is not okay with God. God does not, has not, and will not call you to stay and submit in an abusive marriage.
Leave. Get out. Get safe. Seek counseling. Heal. Protect yourself. Protect your children.
Submission is about a hierarchy and Jesus Himself told us that we are to love others as we love ourselves.
It’s okay, it’s godly, it’s Biblical to love yourself and take care of your safety and well-being.
None of what follows is meant to tell a wife in an abusive marriage to pray harder, have more faith, and submit to her husband to get him to change. The Bible doesn’t say that.
God Loves You and Values You
You, sweet wife, are loved and cared for by the Creator of the Universe. You are the daughter of the King of kings and no one has the right to abuse you.
Submission and boundaries in marriage go hand in hand.
Example boundary: You may not harm your spouse in any way. If you do, you have broken the covenant of the relationship. The abuser chose to end the covenant, but you have to enforce the boundary or it won’t stop.
Please walk in God’s love with firm boundaries and find help.
Everything that follows will help you personally, but should not be done still living in abuse. You can work with a counselor to set boundaries and still work on giving the hard things to God…
Step 2: Make a list
Statistics say about 20% of marital issues have to do with abuse. If that is you, start with boundaries. If however, you are part of the 80% where the hard things are not abusive things, the next 4 steps are for you. Learning to let love bear all things requires patience and prayer.
So for this challenge, you will need to take some time with God and ask Him to show you what you are not bearing well within your spouse.
Remember, your spouse is human just like you, there are things that just drive us crazy about each other. For me, the things I don’t bear well can be seen when:
- I try to change him
nagask him about them a lot
And so I ask God to shine His light on those things and make a list of them. Y’all, my list was several pages. My love does not bear all things. Instead, I was aggravated that his flaws affected my comfort. Sorry if that’s too honest but it’s true.
Do you ever feel that way?
Related Post: 19 Praying Women of the Bible Who Changed The World
Step 3: Pray through the list
Patience and prayer go a long way for a successful love. Once you have the list, ask God to help you love your spouse regardless of his flaws.
This was a big step for me and it took some time and a whole other study on forgiveness (we’ll circle back to that in a second).
This step is all about praying through the flaws and the sin and the selfishness and the thoughtlessness. All the things that hurt and make life hard together. Prayer helps us to heal in deeper ways and allows us to still talk through the hard things. Prayer actually brings the hard things in front of the ONE person who can help change things. But it comes with a condition.
Pray about it and stop nagging him about it. That’s right, stop bringing up your spouse’s flaws to them. Stop talking about those flaws to others as well (I’ll talk about that another week).
When something comes up that is hard, just walk away and pour out your heart to God instead. There are often times I need to spend time fasting and praying over those hard things to hear God’s direction on the issue.
Related Post: How to Fast and Pray In A Way that Pleases God
Step 4: Forgive
Circling back now. Some of the flaws I pray over hurt deeply. For a long time, I was stuck, unwilling to forgive him (and others in my life). I had to learn to release him from the debt I felt he owed me, so I could walk in freedom! I’d love to share that story with you below in this free email challenge.
Related Post: 7 Steps to Thrive Through Forgiveness in Marriage
Step 5: Check your Love Style
We all have some habits of love. What are yours? Are you loving through the 10 verbs?
- No jealousy
- No bragging
- A lack of arrogance
- No anger
- No record of wrong
- Rejoicing in the truth
I sure wasn’t!
Which of those 10 verbs would help you bear the things that are so hard in your marriage?
It helped me to find other verses about each thing and pin them up around my house. By meditating on the verses (or dwelling on these things) I was allowing God to change me from the inside out. This allowed me to check my love style against God’s Word.
Step 6: Affirm Where You Can
Yes, the hard parts happen in life. No, the hard parts are not the only parts of life. Marriage is hard at times and we both make big mistakes, but we are more than our mistakes. If, when the hard thing is happening, all we focus on is that thing, we mess up big time.
Right now my husband is making a big mistake. Well, technically he made the mistake months back but we are living in it and through it. It’s hard. There are real consequences for what he chose and they hurt. But my husband is not this mistake.
Bud is a good father who loves us, is faithful, laughs hard, loves hard, and does his best. If all I focus on is the hard thing we are facing as a result of one mistake he made the enemy will sneak right in. The enemy will begin to negate all those good parts of my husband and tell him he’s a failure because he made one mistake.
We must affirm our spouse where we can. If all we can see is this mistake we need to think back to before it and affirm what we saw then. At times I speak into what I see my husband becoming even though he’s not there yet. It helps him know I believe in him. Knowing I believe in him helps him ignore that snake when he whispers lies.
You are your spouse’s partner in life. Remember whose side you are on and who you are fighting against.
Will You Choose This Brave Love That Bears All Things?
Loving as Jesus loved may seem very passive. It isn’t!
You are not just bearing with his flaws and giving him a free pass to be a selfish jerk.
Rather, you are taking those flaws to the only One who can really change that man anyway.
The difficult part of our phrase, “love bears all things,” is waiting for God to work in your husband. But He already is! God is an amazing teammate in our marriage. He is for you and your husband (Jeremiah 29:11). We just have to turn to Him for help when it is beyond us (Jeremiah 29: 12-13).
Will you choose to walk in this 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love?
Just a reminder, what does 1 Corinthians 13:7 say? Love bears all things – endures all things – covers all things with love. How does love cover all things and endure all things?
- Love sets firm boundaries around abuse.
- In love, be honest about the hard parts.
- Love prays rather than nags.
- Love forgives.
- Intentionally commit yourself to love God’s way.
- Affirm when you can.
Will you take this marriage challenge today?
Do You Need To Go Deeper?
This is part of the 9-week Marriage Bible Study –Finding Hope & Joy in Marriage. Through this course, we will explore the 9 Biblical foundations of having a successful marriage God’s way.
This class will include:
- 10 video lessons
- You can watch live or when you have time
- 9 weeks of personal study
- 5 days each week that should take 10-15 minutes
- A private Facebook Group to discuss the homework and talk through the weekly challenges
- 45 Days of Prayer prompts
in HIS love,
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