LONGsuffering in Marriage

March 16, 2012 at 11:53 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 8 Comments
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And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I Corinthians 13:3-4 (emphasis added)

Christian love in marriage must be a love that suffers long. Suffering means:

1. Taking injury with a resolve to absorb it without getting even for it.
2. Taking injury without it affecting your own inward peace.

Suffering includes:

1. Inward self-control
2. Outward testimony of peace within the marriage union

I Corinthians 13:4 not only says that true Christian love suffers – it says that it suffers long. Suffering long means:

1. Putting up with deep and frequent injuries
2. Putting up with injuries for a long time without defending ourselves

Longsuffering demonstrates God’s love to the world.

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Exodus 34:6

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Romans 2:4

Forbearance and longsuffering are extremely hard for fallen sinners to practice, because the “common sense” view is that forbearance and longsuffering only lead to more abuse. But, according to the Bible, when God is at work, forbearance and longsuffering actually lead to repentance – a change for the better!

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

I Timothy 1:16

Christian marriage should show a pattern of God’s love toward the world.

Longsuffering produces gratitude, reminding us how much God puts up with from us. It also reminds us to be humble.

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Ephesians 4:2

Furthermore, it helps us to see God’s hand in trials and circumstances.

And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.

II Samuel 16:5-13

We don’t like suffering, much less longsuffering, but longsuffering is a Godly habit. It is vital (paradoxical, but vital) to get into the true depths and richness of marital love.

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  1. […] need to be longsuffering toward my spouse if I am going to have any reasonable expectation of God being longsuffering toward […]

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  3. […] discussed this before when I wrote about I Corinthians 13:4 (“charity suffereth long…”), but here the Bible is […]

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  5. […] need to be longsuffering toward my spouse if I am going to have any reasonable expectation of God being longsuffering toward […]

  6. […] obvious figure of speech, meaning that a Christ-like testimony in the face of opposition and even persecution within the household can often be instrumental in winning an unbelieving spouse to Christ. […]

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