A Love Story Wake-Up Call

By Callie Kemmerer (Guest Writer)

At the majority of the weddings I have been to they read from 1 Corinthians 13. it is even used in popular television shows and movies. You may remember it from “The Office” when Jim and Pam have this passage read at their wedding. This is a spoiler for anyone who hasn’t watched it, but in the later season when they reconcile after a rough patch in their marriage this scripture is read in the background. Regardless of the context, 1 Corinthians 13 is usually looked at as the outline of true, committed love. In verses 4-8 it says:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV

It seems to represent everything that every marriage is supposed to be: a beautiful promise to love one another well. Three years ago when I was planning my own wedding this scripture was playing on repeat in my head. We fought hard to get this day through long distance. The perfectionist tendencies in me knew that this day had to be perfect. Being honest, Parts of the day were perfect, while other parts were a complete mess. I didn’t sleep the night before, I barely ate all day, my husband ironed his dress shirt with a hair straightener, and I spent a good chunk of my reception in the basement of the church having gotten my period by surprise. It was definitely not how I would have planned my wedding day ending. So how does all of this tie into the words of 1 Corinthians?

Here are three things I learned about the reality of this passage during the messiest parts of my wedding day:

  1. Love Doesn’t Fit An Expectation
    I believed the lie that if I don’t love in the way this scripture outlines, I have somehow failed. The day of my wedding when things happened out of my control, I was so disappointed in myself. I had expectations about the day and I couldn’t snap my fingers and make those messy parts disappear. I do remember crying and feeling sick and lonely when my husband of only three hours came downstairs and sat with me. He kept telling me it was going to be okay and that the expectations didn’t matter. He told me he just wanted to be with me, even if that meant watching Grey’s Anatomy, eating ice cream, and falling asleep way too early. In verse 5 it says: “It does not insist on its own way, “which is exactly how I felt that day. I put pressure on myself to turn the day into something it was never meant to be: perfect.
  2. Love Is Messy
    When we try to love one another, romantically or not, we are never going to do it right all the time. Even though my husband showed me amazing examples of love that day, he also messed up. One of the most frustrating parts of the day was finding out that he forgot to get his dress clothes dry cleaned and his best man’s wife was ironing his shirt with an extra hair straightener. Sure, we can laugh about this now, but in that moment we could not. The sleep deprived, hungry, “I just spent 6 months planning this wedding and you just had to show up dressed” bride was far from amused. The reality of the passage in 1 Corinthians is that you and I are never going to be able to achieve it. We are human beings filled to the brim with messy sin. We can read passages like 1 Corinthians 13 and convince ourselves that we can live outside of the mess. Let me settle that debate for you right now: we can’t We can try our hardest and the good news is that we don’t have to try alone. God carries us and through Him alone we find strength to love deeply.
  3. Love Is Who God Is
    After being married for only a short time, it is safe to say that I have a lot left to learn about love. In reality, though, there are no perfect answers or formulas for figuring it all out. One thing I have learned is that 1 Corinthians 13 might not be talking about us after all. There is a way to truly experience this incredible love and what it feels like right where we are. This passage isn’t simply just giving us a guideline that we constantly fall short of, but it’s telling us how deeply God loves us and how He does it.
    When I was in middle school one Valentine’s Day we were told that if we couldn’t change the word “love” in this passage to the person we were going to marry, than they weren’t the right person. This was simply not true teaching. I held on to that highly false method for years before I realized that “love” didn’t need to be replaced by anything. Scripture tells us time and time again that God Himself is love. So instead of feeling pressure to achieve the impossible in this verse, let it wash over you. Let Him engulf you in His patient, kind, not envious, not resentful, truthful, willing-to- endure kind of love. He is reaching out and ready to pour that love over you wherever you are at. That is what perfect love is. You were made to experience it with the Father.

Callie is in love with Jesus, married to her best friend, and a fur mama. She currently lives in Indiana. She has always loved written work because it allows her to portray thoughts in a way she can’t in person. She is excited to come on this journey with you and would love to chat or grab a cup of coffee! You can follow her on Facebook @Callie Kemmerer or Instagram @calicaaat.