My alarm clock sounded at the unfamiliar time of 5:30am, and with every bit of strength I could muster I rolled over and hit the snooze button. I regretted with every ounce of my being the rash vow I had made the night before.
Did I really say I would cook my husband breakfast before he went off to the gym that morning? I had half gone back to sleep when I felt my husband’s hand gently rocking my shoulder,“Hun,” he said, “are you going to make me breakfast?”
I think at that point I may have said something about bananas in the waves, but I cannot really remember; it is all a bit fuzzy. I am known to say some pretty strange things in my semi-conscious state.
Somehow I managed to wake up enough to get out of bed and begin breakfast at 5:40, though rather grumpily. My husband was hovering, hungry and in a hurry to be out the door. I really had gotten out of bed too late.
“Why do I have to make your breakfast?” I kept thinking, “I’m so tired! You really should be so grateful for what I give to you!”
I also think I may have said this audibly. Maybe a few times. I definitely grumbled a lot.
As my husband went out the door (a little later than he wanted to, because I had not wanted to get out of bed) he asked me if I could take some boxes to the trash on my way out, as he would not have time. “Sure, I’ll just do everything!” I responded disrespectfully and sat down to finish my coffee.
It was after my wake-up coffee that I reflected on the morning’s events.
I had told my husband I would make him breakfast the night before of my own accord–he did not ask or compel me to do anything. I had then grudgingly made him feel like it was all his fault that I had to wake up early the next morning and make him the breakfast I had promised. I then had the audacity to expect him to be incredibly grateful for my great act of charity, when really I was being more of a stress to him than a blessing. I had acted like my “burden” was unfair one and that he was lazy and unjust for expecting too much of me.
I realised that my good deed had really turned out to be more of an unkindness.
It was at this point that I remembered this verse:
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3).
Oh dear. I had definitely not shown love in the way I had offered my food to feed my hungry husband. I felt ashamed. Looking further down I saw more that I had failed to apply that morning. The simplicity and clarity of the text and how it applied to my situation moved me, and the sorrow came spilling forth from my eyes in a flood of sorry tears. I hated that I had let him leave me with such feelings of resentment in my heart.
Oh Lord, “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit with in me!” (Psalms 51:10)
So my goal is to grow in love. Real love. The kind of love that 1 Corinthians 13 demonstrates – an Agape love, unconditional and abiding. A love that seeks the best for my husband without seeking return. A love by which will never have to regret a parting word or feeling of bitterness. A love by which I may always know that in my heart I have sought the best for my husband.
But what is true love, and how do I show it?
Reflections on 1 Corinthians 13
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal”
If I profess godliness and goodness but do not speak with love to my husband, it would be better if I did not speak at all. If I say “I love you” (which I do, frequently) but do not act like I love my husband, then what I say means nothing.
“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing”
If I know everything there is to know about how to live the Christian life and teach others about it but do not have love for my husband, I am not living the Christian life at all. If I know and believe with all my heart that God is real and the Bible is the right way but do not put it into practice, then what I am means nothing.
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing…”
If I get up at 5:30am every morning to cook my husband breakfast, do everything he asks and stay with him a life-time, but I do it out of duty, not out of love–then it will profit me nothing and bring neither of us joy. It would be better to not cook my husband breakfast, than to cook him breakfast and complain about it all the while. If this is my attitude, then what I do means nothing.
“…Love suffers long…”
I am to be patient with my husband and his differences. Not only has God made him different to me as a man, but we are both growing through our own imperfections.
This difference in our roles and abilities does not have to result in my disdain.
“…and is kind…”
I am to show kindness to my husband, even when I am tired. Love is kind. If I love my husband, I will be kind. If I am being unkind, though I may do things for him, through my unkind words I am showing a resentment and hatred for him and my duties that will cause my good deeds to be undone.
“…love does not envy…”
I should not envy my husband for having a different set of responsibilities, but take joy in my role as wife, helpmeet and homemaker. I cannot think that I have more work than he just because I keep the house. My husband has the responsibility of providing for the home financially and spiritually… I need to respect that and love him for the weight he carries on his shoulders!
Envy breeds discontentment and spitefulness—and my marriage definitely does not need that.
“…love does not parade itself, is not puffed up…”
I should not expect praise and recognition for what I do, but do it out of love. My actions should not arise out of self-righteousness, or seeking for a reward. My pleasure should come out of making my husband happy.
So yes, I suppose posting on Facebook, “I just got up and made my husband breakfast at 5:30! LOL!” to which everyone will respond, “What a lucky husband!” is seeking praise and I do not need to do that! 😉
“…does not behave itself unseemly…”
I am to always act in a lady-like fashion.
Even if I do not feel like it.
Even if it is 5:30 in the morning.
If I love my husband, I will always treat him with respect and behave respectfully—both in private and in public. Sarah called Abraham “lord,” (1 Peter 3:6) do I have that respect for my husband? Am I a daughter of Sarah?
“…seeketh not her own…”
I am to be unselfish, looking out for my husband’s good above my own. My attitude should not be, “I’ll do this for you so you do this for me,” but I should rather wish to do things because I care for my husband’s well-being and happiness. I should be happy that my husband will go away feeling loved with a happy tummy full of a healthy, hearty meal–rather than having to open a box of cereal.
When I think this is too much, I need to remember that my Lord did not think of Himself went He went to die on the cross for me (Philippians 2:5ff).
“…is not easily provoked…”
I am not to get angry easily. No matter how tired I am, I am to keep my cool. Am I keeping this command when I get angry about cooking breakfast or taking a few empty boxes to the trash can? No, I think not.
I am to be quick to hear, slow to speak my mind and slow to unleash my anger; because speaking and acting out of anger will not produce righteousness (James 1:19, 20).
“…thinks no evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth…”
I am to always think the best of my husband and help him to be the best he can be. I should praise all he does right, knowing that a man needs praise and admiration more than most things I can give him. I should never call him names or say he “always does” something or “never does” anything. No one does the wrong thing all the time. He should not feel that he is being constantly judged and criticised when around me, but should feel free to be able to share and show his faults without fear of being shamed.
“…bears all things…”
I am to patiently endure, “[keeping] out resentment as the ship keeps out the water or the roof the rain” (Vincent’s Word Studies, e-sword). I am to give what I give with cheerfulness.
“…believes all things, hopes all things…”
I should expect and desire that my husband as a man of God will do the best he knows how, so I trust him to make good decisions for our family. I am to let him know that I have faith in him, that he can grow and become a better person when he has discouragements, with encouraging and kind words. I am to be my husband’s cheerleader.
“…endures all things…”
I am to hold to my husband to the end, knowing that whatever comes our way, we can make it through with Christ’s help.
I know that if I put all these principles into practice, I cannot fail, because love never fails.
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