Why Is 'Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind' a Popular Wedding Vow?

Why is 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 a popular wedding vow?

Updated Jun 17, 2024
Why Is 'Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind' a Popular Wedding Vow?

Tired from my nearly four-hour drive, I sink into the hotel bed the second I walk into the room. My bags fall to the floor, and at the same time, the tears start to fall, too. I am exhausted and overwhelmed. In the midst of an argument with my husband, which doesn’t happen all too often, I had to leave for a long work trip—away from him, away from my children, away from all the messiness that had just stirred in my heart. 

Usually, when my emotions are strong, they’re trying to teach me something and, at the very least, open my mind and heart to things I’m too stubborn to internalize. As the ache in my belly clinched, reminding me of the excitement and stress of the upcoming days, an email popped up on my phone screen. I don’t think it was a coincidence that the message reminded me of my husband and my love for him. I was reminded of the day that solidified my marriage, our marriage. I was reminded of my vows and the promises my husband and I made together– the promises made before endless comfortability and the turmoil that life can throw at you.

While we didn’t use scripture, and we wrote our own vows, our words held all the same sentiments of a love that was new but strong and ready to endure anything that it faced– reflections of those of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8. 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 

Have you ever stopped to think of the power of those words? Phrases from scripture that are so well-known you can find them on anything from home decor, to napkins, and even stickers. This scripture is full of all of the fundamentals couples strive to have in any relationship, especially a lifelong commitment and marriage. It’s a portion of the bible, now so popular it’s referred to by some as the Love Chapter of Apostle Paul, and it boldly declares that love is kind, and true, and selfless, and patient, and more than anything, full of the grit to overcome any obstacle or tribulation, for it “always perseveres”.

Paul gave us tangible descriptions of what love should be and what it should look like: patient, kind, humble, forgiving, trusting, hopeful, and persistent.  

It’s the kind of love that most dream of yet never find– one I am blessed enough to know. One I’m thankful for, even in all of its imperfections. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

When you think of a vow, a promise, that you want to solidify the hopes, goals, and trajectory of your life and your marriage, you think of the bold promises of a forever love, a selfless love, a love that can and will endure anything that comes. You think of a love that is patient, kind, protective, and full of grit. You think of love like the one in Corinthians 1. 

The influence of this passage emphasizes the essential and transcendent qualities of love. Though Paul wasn’t literally speaking about romantic love, we can, and should, still use the qualities of love to inspire the ways in which we care for others. 

As this passage consumes my mind, I pull out my bible and read the entire portion of this message. The impact of the words is visible by the continuous tears that are flowing from my eyes and the way it suddenly feels hard to catch my breath. While my husband and I did not stand at the altar and become husband and wife while hearing Corinthians 1 read aloud by a family member or friend, their strength and the potential of their declaration are ones I think we live by. 

We vowed to grow together, knowing each one of us would grow differently through the years. We vowed to protect each other's hearts, not wound them with words in anger or frustration. We vowed to embrace the imperfect because we’re both so delicately and beautifully imperfect. We vowed to be the hope-keeper when one of us is weary and to hold strength and perseverance when one of us is stagnant and paralyzed by temporary challenges.

We vowed that our love would be patient and kind. We promised not to envy or boast. We vowed to remain steadfast in our protection of a love that trusts, hopes, and perseveres. And in thinking about that, it’s easy to see why so many newlyweds solidify their marriage with words from scripture that honor and teach all of those things. 

Years into marriage, it can be easy to forget the romantic sentiments and statements from your youth if you aren’t intentional about them, about the promises you made in front of God and all of your family and friends. The key is to remember that scripture is much too powerful to be left at the altar or simply painted on wooden home decor. It must be remembered, utilized, and lived. 

There is infinite power in “Love is patient, love is kind.” So much power that I lift myself off the hotel bed, I pick my phone back up and call my husband. 

I tell him I love him. I tell him I’m sorry. I tell him that silly arguments cannot and will not distract me from the gratitude that I feel when I look at him each and every day. I tell him that I trust and know the love that we share, and it's bigger than any disagreement and more powerful than anything we can or will face. I tell him that he is the love of my life and, more than anything, that I’m so glad we have a love that will persevere. 

Our love is built upon the ambitions and hopes of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. And if you’re blessed, yours will be too.

There is immense power in “Love is patient, love is kind.”

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Hiraman

Chelsea OhlemillerChelsea Ohlemiller is an author and speaker passionate about raising awareness of grief’s impact on life and faith. She has an active and engaging social media presence and is well-known for her blog, Happiness, Hope & Harsh Realities. Her first book, “Now That She’s Gone,” will be released in August. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband and three children, who are the driving force behind all that she does.

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