First, let me say thank you to those who responded to my questions from yesterday. It was interesting to find that some people shied away from 1 Corinthians 13 because it is used so often. It may be one of the most powerful pieces ever written about love in any literature and it is easy to understand why it is so popular. Keep sending me your favorite readings and lessons. There is another powerful word in the group of words that bind us together – HOPE. In Hebrews 11:1 it says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” There is certainty in hope when hope is grounded in trust. That is the second most important word in marriage. Hope is not wishful thinking. Hope is based on confidence. We can inspire hope in a relationship or give reason to doubt. You may find yourself in a relationship where you feel you can never please your spouse. Nothing you do seems to make the other happy. You put all your effort into pleasing them and – nothing. What happens to hope in that situation? It is dashed, trust is broken, and discouragement moves in. When a couple shares faith and hope they build a relationship on mutuality not just pleasing the other. I like what Bill Cosby once wrote, “There is hope for the future because God has a sense of humor and we are funny to God.” Humor and hope are cousins at the very least. Couples with a sense of humor seem to have more hope than most. It may be because they don’t take themselves so seriously. They see each others flaws with humor rather than disdain. Hope senses that our Creator has given us a purpose, relationships, and meaning so that we can learn, laugh, and grow in life. Life has a deeper more profound meaning than we see on the surface. The depth of life is fueled by faith and hope and one other ingredient that holds it all together.
I had a close friend who used to say, “There is someone for everyone.” It took him a very long time to find a mate because he had a list of qualities in a woman that he could not find easily. For those who are unmarried I think one of the greatest things to learn is, “Don’t rush it – don’t demand it – don’t force it.” A lasting relationship built on faith, hope, and love involves a compatibility that is rare and wonderful and should be celebrated and not entered into frivolously or lightly. Satisfaction with yourself – understanding yourself – being happy with yourself – learning to serve others – these are things to learn before you get married. Self-discovery is not found in lust and that too often drives marriage (that and the imaginary clock ticking). “Know thyself – before getting married because it is harder to do that after you get married,” is what Aristotle said (or should have). When you find the one who stirs your faith and encourages your hope you are on your way to a lasting relationship. However, it begins with you. Learn what it means to give away faith and hope and love and the world will open up so many possibilities to you. Being single is not the worst thing that could happen to someone. Trust the one who created you to also guide you – but follow the path – don’t force it.