8 Characteristics of True Love


We’ve heard these words before. We hear them at weddings as couples proclaim their love for each other and their commitment to remain in that love forever. Even then, we miss the bait and switch that is hidden within.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

1) Love is patient

We fail and we falter. We make mistakes and we are thoughtless. Love knows and loves anyway.

2)Love is kind

Life can be hard, life can be lonely. Love is kind because it understands.

3) Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude

Our joys and our triumphs are so much sweeter when we can share them honestly and openly with someone who is just as happy for us as we are. Our failures and struggles are so much easier when we can share them honestly and openly with someone who holds our pain gently. Love shares our highs and lows and wouldn’t miss either one.

4) It does not insist on its own way

Love can never be forced or demanded, it must be invited and welcomed. Love allows us to come of our own free will and it is all the sweeter for it.

5) It is not irritable or resentful

Most of us don’t live up to this one very well, but love is consistent in the loving and gives of itself without restriction.

6) It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth

Love wants what is best for us. It hurts when we hurt ourselves and rejoices when we live in the truth of who we are.

7) It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. Love is ready for all of these things and more and believes that each one will draw us closer to each other in the end.

8) Love never ends.

Here is the head-fake. You may think this passage is about our love for each other, and you would be right. Mostly.

Another translation has this last verse as “Love never fails.” I don’t know about you, but I fail in love all the time. I am impatient, I am resentful, and I insist on my own way much more often than I care to admit.

And yes, this passage is about our love for each other, and especially about love in marriage, but only inasmuch as our love reflects the true source of Love.

For us, these are goals that we will never attain completely. But in God, they are perfect, and they are directed towards us. This is the love that never fails. The more we are rooted in that love, the more we can express and live it ourselves.

Read it once more and see how it changes. If you’re like me, you’ll never hear it the same way again.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas