Lessons on Love in Marriage

I’ve yet to attend a wedding where the 1 Corinthians 13 passage on “love” was not quoted by some well-meaning clergyman in a wedding. Unfortunately . . .

[Tweet “The overuse of this passage has made these powerful truths ring hollow and cliché. 1 Cor. 13”]

But if we scrutinize and take the truths explained in this iconic passage to heart, we truly do see that they are bursting with pearls of wisdom.

Love Lessons

So in this post and the next (in our series on how to “Persevere in the Lord” while in a discouraging marriage), I want to unpack the truths so that we know better “how to truly love” our spouses.

This week we will focus on the lessons found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6, and next week I will finish this up with an in-depth look at verses 7 and 8.

Ask yourself these questions . . .

“Love is patient.”

  • Do I tend to rub my spouse’s nose in any mistake s/he has made; or extend grace?
  • Do I come across as irritated when my spouse doesn’t do something quickly enough for me or to my satisfaction; or bite my tongue and remind myself that I love him/her?

“Love is kind.”

  • Do I rarely think about how to please my mate; or am I intentional about doing things that make him/her happy?
  • Am I too preoccupied to be generous and gracious with my mate; or do I regularly look for ways to give even when it costs me personally?

“It does not envy.”

  • Do I grumble because my mate has some aspect of life easier than me; or am I grateful for this blessing in my mate’s life?
  • Do I tend to compare my life negatively with my spouse’s and feel like a victim in my marriage; or do I feel grateful for the marriage God has given me?

“It does not boast. It is not proud.”

  • Am I more focused on my mate acknowledging and appreciating my efforts in our relationship; or do I make a daily point to notice and affirm my mate for his/her efforts in our marriage and lives?
  • Am I more focused on my needs and what I feel entitled to; or am I quick to brag on my spouse’s good qualities?

“It does not dishonor others.”

  • Do I typically nitpick and point out my spouse’s faults; or do I respect my spouse’s differences?
  • Do I feel it is my job to correct my mate and even do so in front of others; or am I protective of my mate’s self-esteem and feelings?

“It is not self-seeking.”

  • Do I spend more time seeking, protecting and defending my interests and actions; or do I regularly act as if I am “for” my mate like a teammate would?
  • Do I resist certain requests that my spouse has made of me; or do I regularly stretch out of my comfort zone for my mate?

“It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

  • Am I quick to feel and show anger to my mate, simply because s/he is my spouse; or do I redirect my focus upon the Lord to help me forgive my mate?
  • Do I blurt out my feelings without censure when I am offended; or do I seek God’s help on being humble and kind in my responses?
  • Do I keep a mental checklist of the many times my mate has done something wrong to me; or am I intentional about processing my pain with God—surrendering the hurts to Him?
  • Do I secretly gloat over the problems my mate encounters due to his/her wrong actions; or do I have compassion and empathy for my mate’s pain?

Scan back over each of these “lessons in love” and see which one you personally need to improve on.

Then ask yourself: How should I begin to pray for myself on this? What is one small way that I can improve on loving my mate today?

Be sure to come back next week for a few more pointed and powerful questions on love related to verses 7 and 8! FYI, I’ll be back to posting videos coming up very soon! In the meantime, check out the Messy Marriage YouTube Channel! 😉

[Tweet “Learn “how to love” your mate, even when you don’t feel like it. #persevereinmarriage”]


So, how well are you loving your mate?


What is your weakest action/attitude on showing love to your mate?


Linking up with these fine blogs –  Making Your Home Sing, Moments of Hope, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Word of God Speak, Spiritual Sundays, Carolina @ Cisneros Cafe, Sitting Among Friends, Family, Friendship and Faith, and DanceWithJesusFriday












  1. Gary Stefffaniak says:

    FYI: Your handsome husband doesn’t use the 1 Corinthians 13 passage in weddings. 😉

    • Yeah, Gary, I know that you don’t particularly care for that passage in a ceremony, since it is overused. I wasn’t referring to the weddings you’ve done, but I do think that just about every other clergyman has used it till the “cows come home!” 😉 Thanks for stopping in and leaving evidence of the fact that you read your wife’s blog! ha!

  2. Smiling because I think that ‘s the passage that Anne Lamott calls the “New York New York” of the Bible. Sadly, the same thing has happened to Psalm 23 at funerals.

    • Oh really?! And I can see that calling it the “New York, New York” of the Bible would be a creative way to identify its significance and wonder. But you’re right, Michele, this passage and Psalm 23 are often overused or perhaps not used to their full and best advantage, shall we say? Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  3. Thank you for this detailed look at 1 Corinthians 13. I’m sure you won’t be surprised if I tell you that my son will be using this at his wedding in two weeks. However, I appreciate your words of caution in how it can be misused. I will be sharing this weeks and next weeks post with him. Something for he and his new wife to keep close as they begin their new life together. Blessings.

    • I hope this helps give your son and new daughter-in-love some “handles” for loving better. We can quickly gloss over these and never apply them in real and practical ways to ourselves. I know this was very convicting of me in my relationship with Gary but also of others I am to love. Thanks for your kind words, Mary. It’s always great to have you drop by!

  4. As ever, you’ve presented us with some powerful questions to consider, Beth. And I realize once again that until we accept Christ’s gracious patient love for ourselves, we cannot love another with the same.

    • Thanks, Linda. Agreed on your point as well. I’m working on my book that helps us to find our worth in the Lord, but the most important take-away is what you just said–it must be Him loving in and through us or we will fail to love or feel loved as we should.

  5. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says:

    Great post, Beth. One thing I would add is that sometimes love has to be deaf, to pass over the things our spouses say that they wish they could take back.

    Can’t contribute more. Ghastly weekend. Any messages for Jesus? Think I might be seeing Him soon, the way things are going.


    • It breaks my heart to hear that you are still suffering, Andrew. But I suppose that is better (I think) than the alternative. Though I do love the idea of you personally talking with Jesus. I don’t know that I have any messages other than to tell Him I love Him and hope that I am living out His love to others, Andrew.

      Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, dear Andrew! Consider yourself cyber-hugged as well.

  6. Beth, love the questions! So practical and easier to help us apply the truth! Thank you:)

  7. Angela Howard says:

    It’s so easy to inflate our own altruism while diminishing our spouses. This scripture calls us to love in action so that we can really look at the condition of our own hearts. I loved your approach with the questions! Thanks for sharing. Visiting from #searchingformoments

  8. Beth, thanks for linking up on Mondays @ Soul Survival! Hope you’re having a great week!

  9. Kate Baxendale says:

    Every single one of these ring “needs mega improvement” for me – no wonder my marriage is struggling so much!

    My christian counselor had shared a short story she had seen on social media about how a couple was on the brink of divorce & every single day he asked her how he could make her day better – then he would go do that thing, right away. I told her I’m not Jesus enough for that.

    How do you let go of all the hurt from the past? I feel like I need improvement on all these points cuz of feeling like things aren’t fair (I feel like there’s a better way to put this, but I can’t think of one right now).

    • Well, that’s a good point, Kate. None of us are “Jesus” enough to do any of that, at least for any length of time. We all need to learn to let Christ do those loving acts through us. We need to look to Him for the love we lack in our marriages. He is, after all, your “Husband” (see Isa. 54:5), even as you still have an earthly and flawed husband as well. I cannot love my husband well enough with my own brand of human love. I look to the Lord to fill me with His love and then I let that love pour through me onto my husband. This is not easy, nor simple. I’m actually working on a book right at the moment about all of this. If you’d like I would be willing to send you the rough draft to my first two chapters. That might actually give you some idea of what I’m talking about. Also, if you haven’t already done so, subscribe to my blog and then download the free ebook on Forgiveness – Forgive U. That book is full of ways to understand how to find healing for your hurts–which begins with forgiving your husband. Let me know if you’d like me to get you the two chapters I mentioned above. I can send them to you through Facebook. Thanks so much for reaching out! I’ll be adding you to my prayer list, my friend.

  10. Hi Beth,
    When we break it down, it is really difficult to say we do all those things! Yikes! I have definite room for improvement! Thanks, Beth, for joining me at Moments of Hope!
    Blessings and smiles,


  1. […] I’m continuing my thoughts on activating and acting on love from last week’s post on “Lessons on Love in Marriage,” because that’s how we strengthen our ability to “persevere in the Lord” throughout a […]

  2. […] In the spirit of making marriage a priority, I chose my dear friend Beth Steffaniak’s post Lessons on Love in Marriage! Beth writes at Messy Marriages and has been a favorite blogger of mine for a while now. Her posts […]