After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the garden with her than inside it without her. —Mark Twain, The Diaries of Adam and Eve
There are very few permanent things in this temporal world. Love can be one of those when experienced God’s way. In the context of marriage, an abstract idea becomes a concrete, visible way to spend two lives.
[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a)
Always, always, always, always, never. These are absolute terms that tell us love has a very clear, set definition.
I want to start with the never: Love never fails. The Greek words translated as “fails” are ec pipto. Ec means “from” and pipto means “to fall.” So when you put them together, it means “to fall from, to fall away, to fall apart.” Ec pipto: Love never falls away.
Ec pipto is used in Acts when Peter is thrown in prison. He is locked up in chains, sleeping, when an angel of the Lord comes. The angel kicked him and woke him up, and when Peter stood the chains fell away (12:7). They were separated from him.
Again in Acts, Paul’s ship is near destruction. To prevent this, the soldiers onboard cut the cords holding the safety boats, and they fell away from the ship (Acts 27:32). That’s our term – fell away.
So when two individuals get married and become one, but then become two again, they fall away. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul is saying this never happens in true love.
When Jesus was questioned about the permanence of marriage and the permission to divorce, He answered, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate”. (Mark 10:8b-9)
One plus one equals one—only God can do that. Jesus is crystal clear: Marriage is for life. But in our imperfect, broken world, that dream isn’t easy to apply.
One True God, becoming one with another person is way harder than it sounds. Some days it seems easier to quit. Separation, however, isn’t what You desire for us. So love my marriage through me. Unify it. Make us one. Amen.