- Even when provoked, endure without complaining.
- Give your spouse a gift (not necessarily monetary) as an act of kindness.
- Avoid intensely negative feelings toward your spouse’s success and jealousy over them.
- Avoid an exaggerated conception of yourself or an inflated ego.
- Don’t be selfish and self-centered.
- Don’t be easily stirred to anger and irritated toward your mate.
- Don’t keep score.
- Delight in the things that God promotes and delights in.
- Put up with annoyances and difficulties in your marriage.
- Have faith in your mate.
- Think positively about and anticipate the future with your spouse.
- Dedicate yourself to standing by your mate’s side, for better or worse, in sickness and health, etc.
No, that does not sound like what the world’s “love doctors” will tell you, but it’s a short summary of the 14 characteristics of love that Paul gives as part of the inspired definition of that word (1 Cor. 13:4-7). The love he writes about is that highest form of love, exclusive, totally committed, totally trusting, uplifting, edifying, unselfish, connected to faith and hope.
When we pore over those qualities and see how God defines it, it leaves us fully aware of the fact that each of us, in our relationships, has so much room for growth and improvement in our marriages. My prayer for each of us who is married that each of us will focus on how we can improve the love we demonstrate in our marriages.