It is not at all uncommon to hear Paul’s famous ‘hymn to love’ proclaimed at wedding ceremonies:
Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offence, and is not resentful… (1 Corinthians 12-13).
The husband and wife who try to instantiate this ‘marriage manifesto’ should be well placed as the ‘journey’ of marriage unfolds.
Less well known is the latter part of the text that is even more concrete:
When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and think like a child, and argue like a child, but now I am a man, all childish ways are put behind me.
It must be helpful to marry an ‘adult,’ not a ‘child,’ or at least someone who is committed to the ongoing, never-ending task of ‘human maturity.’
It surely does matter that we speak, think and argue like adults.
But the degree of difficulty, however, is increasing.
Public discourse is on a ‘slippery slope.’ Simply having a different opinion than another evokes violent reactions.
Respect is waning. It’s not good.
The effect on young people, and thus on marriage and family, is of deep concern.
So, it is fitting to recall the deep connection between love and human maturity. Nothing perfects us more – matures us more – than love.
No doubt Paul is speaking from his personal experience of the love of Christ.
He received it. He became increasingly conscious of it. He treasured it. He responded to it.
The great philosopher Aristotle made the distinction between personality and character.
Personality is what we are given. Character is what we become.
It is good to rejoice in the former.
It is good to foster the latter.
When we do, we put ‘childish ways’ behind us.
We begin to speak, think and argue like adults.