Love is Patient

Love is PatientWhich standards are we singles using to find a spouse? It certainly goes beyond a stable income, vehicle and residence. Just being a Christian is not enough because many of us are unhealthy. Jesus explains in Luke 5:31 that, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.” Unless our most important relationship is with God, we cannot expect other relationships to thrive. Marriage is a life-long commitment, so we need all the wisdom we can get, but where do we find it?

Thankfully, the Bible defines true love. Two areas of scripture provide a great litmus test in our search for a spouse. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 asserts that, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance”.

Now replace the words “love”, “it” and “its” with “God”, “he” and “his”, respectively. This exercise reveals who God is and who he is not. God is love. In the same way that he does not force us into a relationship with him, true love also waits. Whatever contradicts this definition of love is a red flag. Two of the best traits might be patience and humility. Remember that this is also a great mirror for ourselves!

Galatians 5:22-23 outlines similar traits when the Holy Spirit is at work in someone’s life. Be on the lookout for “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.

Codependency is a big red flag to watch for because it causes many other unhealthy behaviors. Since codependents are uncomfortable with being themselves, they tend to control or manipulate to get what they need or want. Everyone is codependent to some degree, but it can become unruly. It usually stems from such behavior as abandonment and rejection in one’s family of origin. It may manifest itself in the form of depression, anxiety, rage, deceit, perfectionism, procrastination, addiction, abuse and/or narcissism. Sadly, victims of neglect and abuse often believe that they do not deserve better. As a result, they will keep choosing unhealthy relationships until they receive proper counseling and support.

So where do we stand now – are we basing our relationship decisions on scriptural truth or just a collection of opinions in our sphere of influence? We have a match made in heaven, literally! Let us not settle for less.
On second thought, why are we looking for a spouse right now? Life is not necessarily better when we get married – it is just different. Despite feeling lonely sometimes, single life awards more freedom. Despite some loss of freedom, married life awards a life partner. It is a blessing trade-off. If we are looking to be made whole, a (deeper) relationship with Jesus Christ is the answer – not a spouse.

We can embrace our single status while we still have it. It is wise to question our assumptions about marriage and single life. Rest assured that God does not give what we do not need nor withhold what we do need. He has great plans for us right now that we cannot accomplish while married.

Besides, are we mature enough to handle marriage? Ephesians 5:21-33 reveals that the designed purpose of marriage is to be a reflection of Jesus’ relationship to the church. The husband loves his wife and gives up his life for her. He takes care of her the same way he takes care of his own body. The wife respects her husband. She submits to him in everything, just like she submits to God’s will. It is a selfless, sacrificial covenant between a man and a woman. When ordained, confirmed and blessed by God, marriage is beautiful.

However, no marriage, family or any one person is perfect. Nobody will completely match the scriptural definition of love because we’re meant to complement each other. Only God is perfect. Nobody can compete with that. Nevertheless, we are worth it to set high standards and offer grace when we meet “the one”.

How are you taking advantage of your singleness while waiting for God to bring you your match? We want to hear about it! Email us at [email protected]

Sasha Richardson is a freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected]

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