‘Love is…’ – How 1 Corinthians works for dating
Love has many forms in the Bible. We know of ‘Agape’, (God’s divine love), ‘Philia’ (brotherly love), and ‘Eros’ (erotic love), for example. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is probably the most popular scripture reading at weddings but its instructions can be used for all of these types of love, and more. You can also turn to these verses when you are looking for a romantic relationship and apply them to dating too.
God’s ways are perfect and if we hold these instructions up to high esteem then love will be a lot smoother! Here’s how that passage from 1 Corinthians could apply to dating…
This means being patient with each other in a relationship, but also being patient on the journey to meeting someone with whom a great relationship can be built. Don’t settle for anything less than God’s best, if that is what He has in store for your life. Be patient, and seek God. Don’t try to rush things, but enjoy each stage as it’s a gift from God.
Be kind when you meet new people – they may not be what you expect, what you’re hoping for, or what you think you need in a partner, but they are still loved by God and we should aim to bless them even if it doesn’t lead to anything more. Have an open mind – people can surprise us in the best ways – but, whatever happens, kindness goes a long way.
Love does not envy
Don’t resent others for their relationships, what they have, or what they appear to have. You never know the full story or what their background has been. We can all be clever at showing what we want others to see, rather than reality! Rest in the knowledge that no one has it all together! Be grateful for what God has given you and find contentment in that – even if that’s not always easy. Do not resent the other person either when dating, but instead, encourage, build up, be pleased for them.
Love does not boast, it is not proud
Be mindful of others. Plastering a new relationship all over social media can sometimes be inconsiderate of those who are desperate to find love. However there is a place for the right sort of pride, when you’re thrilled for another person, or when you want to express that. Enjoy and appreciate your own situation; don’t fall into a battle of comparison. Celebrate, but don’t boast. Be careful that you are honest about who you are and your hopes without boasting when getting to know each other too. Be grateful for what God has given you and find quiet contentment in that.
Love does not dishonour, it is not self-seeking
Be honourable in your search for love. If you are meeting up with someone and it appears to be going well, then be respectful each other’s expectations and boundaries. Honour the person you are seeing and give them time and effort, for however long that should be. Be careful not to be selfish in your search either; we all have to compromise in relationships. Love is about the other person and not about you. If the other person thinks the same way, then that’s when a beautiful, godly, loving relationship occurs.
Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs
When dating it’s important to start a new page. The past is the past (unless there are red flags and things to be aware of). We all have a past and we all have a future…but we can’t have the future unless we accept the past has happened and move on and learn from it. God doesn’t bring up forgiven sins and nor should we.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth
Keeping a relationship centred on God is vital. Rejoice in the gospel together, put God first. Worship, pray and read the Bible together, don’t get involved with things that are not of God. Building a new relationship it is necessary that God is at the forefront, and honesty is at the core.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres
Boundaries and expectations are important to discuss and clarify when searching for love, from initial dating and beyond. Even if the relationship does not progress beyond a first date, be reliable; someone’s past and their hopes for the future are very personal and should be respected and protected. Dating means that you’re opening up and being vulnerable with the other person as you get to know each other. You need to know that you can trust each other, protect each other’s hearts and always persevere in making the relationship the best it can be.
God’s idea of love is perfect, as God is love. Love is a gift from God, so cherish it both when searching for and also when finding it. Alongside these verses from 1 Corinthians, what other Bible passages have you found helpful?