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. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 [NLT]
Our friends Scott and Jean told us an amazing love story. The hero and heroine are Scott’s parents, who have been married for over fifty years. Like everyone, they had their ups and downs in their marriage and family. And in recent years, life got really tough when Scott’s mom had to move into a nursing home because she had Alzheimer’s disease. Scott said he and Jean wanted his dad to live closer to them, but he wasn’t willing to move away from Scott’s mom.
“Does she recognize him?” we asked.
“No, but that doesn’t matter to Dad,” replied Scott, adding that she hadn’t recognized his dad for over four years.
“Does he visit her often?”
“Every single day. In fact, he has breakfast with her and feeds her from his own plate. He then cleans her up and gets her ready for her day.”
Even Scott would occasionally press his dad about why he kept up the daily visits. “He always answers with the same words: ‘She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.’”
Scott continued his parents’ love story. “She likes it when Dad sings to her. She especially likes to hear ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…’ So every day before he leaves her, he sings that simple song and places the sign of the cross on her forehead.”
A love so pure, a love so complete.
At your wedding, you might have committed to vows similar to these: “I, _______, take you, ______, to be my husband/wife. I promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful wife/husband–in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, in good times and hard times, with God’s grace and strength, as long as we both shall live.”
Scott’s dad recited those sacred vows over fifty years ago. And those vows are now on our bathroom mirror to remind us of that beautiful day when we committed our lives to each other. Your life, like ours, is probably a bit more complicated than when you were newlyweds. You might carry more worries of the world. But it’s good to remember the day you committed to love each other until “death do us part.”
We have never met Scott’s dad, but we are grateful to him for showing us lasting love. And we are committed to living out those vows like they were new and fresh. How about you?
• Why do you think it is difficult, at times, to keep our vows?
• How would you finish this sentence? “I could better keep my vows to you by ________.”
• How would you finish this sentence? “If I could ask just one thing from you, it would be ________.”
A STEP CLOSER:
THE BIBLE’S LOVE CHAPTER
First Corinthians 13 is often called the Love Chapter. Verses 4 to 7 are particularly inspiring:
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. [NLT]
Circle the words or phrases that each of you wants to work on this week. What is one action step that you will take to move from mere words to actions?
(Excerpted from Closer: 52 Devotionals to Draw Couples Together by Jim and Cathy Burns; Bethany House, 2009.)