Last time, we looked at five check-points from I Corinthians 13 to help us evaluate if we are loving our spouse, significant other, and other loved ones well. Today, let’s round out the list with five more points. Can we truthfully fill our names in the blank? More than likely, we all have some areas needing God’s refining work.
#6: I ______ am not self-seeking.
Do you take an interest in what interests your spouse? One of the best ways to show your SO that you care is to actively engage with his interests instead of demanding your preferences. For example, James enjoys watching cross-country biking. I honestly didn’t know that was a “thing” before we met, but guess who now knows the top racers by name? Yep, I do. Go ‘Merica and Kate Courtney!
When we seek others’ interests above our own, we cultivate the mind of Christ. In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul wrote these words:
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others (NKJV).
Although Paul was referring to unity in the church body here, I think the mindset of humility has far-reaching applications for our relationships. We can love well when we put others’ well being and preferences above our own.
#7: I ______ am not easily angered.
There is never a reason to raise our voice to someone we care about unless perhaps his personal safety is in danger. “Watch out for that falling tree!” Yes, that would merit screaming. However, our common speech should “always be with grace” (Colossians 4:6 NKJV).
Realistically, the people we love will anger us at times. We live in a fallen world, and anger is an emotion we experience. However, how we respond to that anger is up to us. If your SO makes you angry, express that you’re feeling angry and ask to talk after you’ve been able to work through your emotions. Responding in the heat of the moment will only hurt, not help, the problem.
#8: I ______ do not keep records of wrongs.
I once heard the story of a newly-wed asking for guidance from an older woman. The young bride complained, “My husband makes me so angry sometimes. How many times do I have to forgive him?”
The older woman said, “I decided my husband could do ten hurtful things, and after that, I would have a right to be angry.”
“What was on your list?” The young woman asked eagerly.
“I never wrote them down,” the wise woman replied. “But whenever he did something hurtful, I told myself that was one of the things on the list I needed to forgive.”
Such wise advice! Relationships aren’t sparring matches. Don’t try to count your love’s faults. Prayerfully examine your own. (See Matthew 7:3.)
#9: I ______ do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth.
A relationship that delights in evil is headed to the gutter. That seems like a no-brainer, but how do we rejoice with the truth?
When we face discouragement in our relationships (and we will), we should tune our thinking as Philippians 4:8 instructs.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (NKJV).
Let’s rejoice in the beautiful parts of our relationships and entrust the areas that need work to God in prayer.
#10: I ______ always protect, trust, hope, and persevere.
When James and I took our marriage vows, we pledged to have and to hold, for better and for worse. Daily, we must guard our marriage by making it a priority. We must trust, hope, and persevere even when rain clouds darken the sky.
I admit that we’re still in the newly-wed stage. However, the other day James reminded me that we will always get to choose our attitudes toward our marriage. Our marriage will be what we make it. By God’s grace, I’m trusting for a beautiful, though imperfect, story.
Love Never Fails
You may have noticed I left off verse 12 from out checklist, the verse that begins, “Love never fails.” There is only one Love that never fails, and that Love is Jesus Christ Himself. He is our Model and our Example.
In our earthly relationships, we are going to fail, but that doesn’t mean we should stop striving to love well. As a runner, I’ve always appreciated Paul’s metaphor of life as a race. I think it applies to relationships as well.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV).
Regardless of any past mistakes, let’s press forward and love well the people God has placed in our lives.
I hope this check-up list is helpful to you! Maybe you can use it as a dialogue starter between you and your SO. If so, click on the image to download the PDF of the full checklist.
May we all keep short accounts with those we love so we can be quick to root out and keep out any stumbling blocks to our relationships (1 John 2:10).
10-Point Check-Up for Your Relationship and Free Download- @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)