This past weekend the Hubs was a groomsman in a wedding. As I watched from the pew as he read the first scripture reading during the liturgy, I was overcome with emotion as he read with deliberation and distinction each line of Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians.
I was amazed by how much more meaningful First Corinthians 13 is to me now that I’ve been married for a couple of years, compared to how it struck me as a single girl, as a Bride-to-be, or even on my own wedding day.
As my Hubs read the scripture passage, I felt like each word was an arrow shooting straight into my heart.
I wanted to go somewhere by myself and cry.
All I could think about was how unsuccessful I am at achieving the ideal of love St. Paul puts before us; How greatly I fall short; How deeply I fail; How often I choose a more selfish way.
Funny – as MacGyver and I walked hand in hand in the church parking lot, heading to the reception, he admitted that he felt the same way I did while he was reading St. Paul’s words.
Maybe every married couple feels like the Hubs and I do. Maybe we all fall short and feel like we fail at achieving the ideal of self-less, self-giving, self-sacrificing love that we are called to in the sacrament of marriage.
And maybe it’s this very struggle – the daily striving for perfect love, despite our failures – that makes marriage so beautiful.
Perhaps the best we can do is to read and reflect on First Corinthians 13 often, both individually and as a couple…to read it slowly, prayerfully, and examine our consciences in light of Paul’s words…to commit wholeheartedly to the struggle each and every day….striving to love more perfectly in ways big and small.
First Corinthians 13 (RSV):
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.