All right love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous. What’s next? Well the next two are related to each other, Paul says love is not boastful or proud. Love is not boastful or proud. I think the best way to think about this is that love is self-effacing. True love is self-effacing. True love is all about the other, not oneself. That’s why love can’t be boastful or proud. What do boastful and proud people have in common? They’re all about themselves. You can’t be boastful and proud without being self-centered. When you’re boastful and proud, it’s all about you. Love isn’t like that. Love is for the other.
There is a healthy kind of boasting, but it’s not proud boasting. It’s not self-boasting. It’s others centered boasting. Paul wrote about that in Galatians 6:14 and applied it to his relationship with Jesus. Here’s how he wrote about what healthy boasting looks like. He said,
14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Healthy boasting is others centered. What’s this mean for our relationships? Can you remember the last time your partner praised you? Can you remember the last time they used their words to build you up? If not, that’s toxic. God gave us the power of language so that we can build each other up. That’s what your relationship needs more than almost anything else. That you and your partner would build each other up with your words, not tear each other down. That you would boast about each other. Kayli and I have a rule about this in our marriage. We never talk bad about each other to our parents. That’s so important. She told me that on day one of our marriage. She said, “I’ll never talk bad about you to my parents.” Not that she would ever have anything bad to say to begin with! But I thought that was so honoring. When we talk about each other we’re boasting about each other.
All right we’re really getting a pretty full picture of what love is and isn’t now and we’ve still got a few more of these ahead. Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous or boastful. Then Paul transitions and says love is not rude. Man this one is so important. We hit it a bit earlier when we said love is kind. Rude is the opposite of kind. Love isn’t that. Dr. John Gottman is a psychologist and researcher who’s done a ton of work in toxic relationships. One of the things he’s most known for is his predictive work on divorce. He developed a method where he could tell almost instantly whether or not a couple was going to become divorced or not. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about it in his bestselling book “Blink.” Dr. Gottman had a number of factors that he looked at, but do you know what the most significant marker of a couple that was heading for divorce was? It was contempt. Here’s how that’s described by the Gottman institute.
When we communicate with contempt, we are truly mean. Treating others with disrespect and mocking them with sarcasm and condescension are forms of contempt. So are hostile humor, name-calling, mimicking, and body language such as eye-rolling and sneering. In whatever form, contempt is poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust and superiority, especially moral, ethical, or characterological.
Paul takes all of that and boils it down into one word. He says that love is not rude. How’s your communication with your partner? How often do you walk away from interactions with them feeling hurt? Love is not rude.