What is your 1 Corinthians 13 story?

1 Corinthians 13 has touched so many lives and relationships. Let’s start sharing some of these stories! We’ll start with mine…

My 1 Corinthians 13 Story:

It all started with my wedding followed by my co-worker’s wedding:

As much as 1 Corinthians 13 plays a part in my life now, I mistakenly declined to have it read at our wedding ceremony.
My wife Kathy and I on our wedding day.

My wife, Kathy and I planned a lot of unique aspects for our wedding. We both are creative and enjoy big productions and parties so when it came to our wedding we knew we would throw a fun production. I wrote a song for the wedding, my wife designed a logo. We made many favors that that defined who we were, built the brand of the wedding and included all the special people in our lives.

When it came to planning our ceremony, we had both our childhood pastors be part of the ceremony. Our siblings each played a role in the ceremony tapping each of their talents.

But we were lost when it came to the bible verse we would use. Kathy suggested 1 Corinthians 13, but with no hesitation I shot it down. I told her that it was overused and that everyone uses that verse. So we found some verse that I can’t remember. An unfortunate decision.

The wedding went great but we have no memory of the reading from that day.

Co-Worker’s Wedding

About a year later, a co-worker of mine was getting married and asked me to read at her wedding. She wanted me to read 1 13. It is frustrating for me to hear someone read at a ceremony and struggle through the reading because it shows me they did not prep. I feel it is an honor to read at one’s wedding and I better get it right. So the week before her wedding I read and reread 1 13 over and over out loud to make sure I would get the reading right.

As I read it over and over the amazing messages and rules of the chapter became clearer to me. The noise of it being overused dissipated and I was able to focus on the many messages this chapter had. I immediately began to recognize the mistake I made discounting this verse for my wedding.

I practiced and practiced until I was confident I would be able to read it clearly. It went well – after the wedding, a lot of the guests came up to me and complimented me on the reading.

From that weekend on, I had a newfound appreciation for 1 Corinthians 13. Whenever a wedding of a close friend or family member, or to read it during a church service came up, I volunteered. For my sister’s wedding, I gave her a sales pitch to try to convince her why she should select 1 Corinthians 13 and have me read it. (I was able to convince her.)

My 1 Cor 13 Passion Grows

A few years after my discovery of 1 Corinthians 13, I went to the funeral of one of my parents’ friends. His sons read 1 Corinthians 13 and I know they were going through a lot – they just lost their dad to a long battle with cancer, but they read the chapter like they would have read an operating manual.

I found myself frustrated. Why would they let such a beautiful verse, with so much power, so much beauty, be read with no passion for such a significant event honoring their father? That moment taught me how moving this verse can be and how easy it can be to neglect it. I have also been disappointed multiple times at other weddings and at church listening to others read it with no inspiration. This has fueled my fire for acknowledging what a special reading this.

My struggles

As time passed on, our family grew. Over five years, we went from the two of us to five as we welcomed three daughters.  We were grateful, but every transition in a marriage can highlight the differences in each partner. My wife and I were not always on the same page which caused a lot of frustration for both of us.  There was a lot of finger-pointing of what each other was doing wrong.

My career faced the ups, downs and stagnation that many face. I felt as though my peers were passing me by as they got promotions. My side projects seemed to always fall flat and never achieved the success I aspired.  In addition, I gained a lot of weight as I used food and alcohol to bring me joy.

For many years I found myself focusing on how unhappy I was. Magnifying the frustration I had with my wife, career, side projects, hangovers, lack of exercise, lack of accomplishment and every other area I was coming up short. I found myself focusing on the “If only’s..”, If only my marriage was this way, If only my career was on this path, If only I lived there, If only had this exercise equipment… It went on and on. I was a big ball of self-pity. I was disgusted with myself because I wasn’t where I wanted to be. This went on for years.

Getting back on track

I started to read blogs and listen to podcasts that identified how one can improve their lives, like Barking Up the Wrong Tree. I began to journal to help me identify what was going on.  I started to focus on what I was grateful for. I then began to minimize my short-comings. I started the process to love myself more and reduce the negative self-esteem cycle I had been spinning.

As this change was happening, I was cleaning up our basement and wanted to put some pictures on the wall. I grew up a Chicago sports fan, but I didn’t want to be like many of my peers who had pictures of the local sports teams. We have plenty of pictures of our family throughout the house so we were good in that area. I wanted a decor that brought calm and could also inspire my family.

That is when I found a 1 Corinthians 13 poster at Hobby Lobby. My wife was working on a craft project and needed some supplies. As she was perusing the aisles for her materials, I went to the poster section to see if I could find inspiration for my basement project.  When I came across the poster, I put it aside but did not purchase it that day.  Was this the art I was looking for to put in the basement?

That week I found myself reflecting on 1 Corinthians 13. I remembered how I read it at weddings and my frustration when I hear it read poorly. I also remembered how I lit up when I discovered the promising words and messages it holds.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to have that poster.  On the way home from work one day, I dropped by the store and purchased it.

Over dinner, I declared to the family that this was the poster I wanted to be put in the basement. They all were kind and gave me their support.  None of us knew how much that purchase was going to change me and put me on this path.

After the 1 Corinthians 13 poster purchase

I found myself reading the poster frequently.  I started to do more reading about 1 Corinthians 13. I saw how the positive messages in 1 Cor 13 were similar to the positive guidance I was reading and listening to. I asked myself how much I was living the 1 Cor 13 virtues with my self, wife and family and realized how short I was coming up.

I slowly began to change my approach and live the 1 Cor 13 virtues with my critical relationships. I stopped keeping records of wrongs, I focused on patience and making love a priority. My self-esteem improved. I lost weight. I was happier.  My career got better. I was getting to a place that I aspired to.

1 13 4ever

As I researched more to learn how others were using 1 Cor 13 in their lives I was glad to see how popular it is. I also saw an opportunity to highlight how others are using 1 Cor 13  and was fascinated with how it is presented in art, decor and tattoos. I also saw an opportunity to show how we can make this chapter more part of our every day lives.  It has impacted me so much I have built a site dedicated to it.

Now I am in the middle of this journey.  Building this site and making videos on YouTube – all about 1 Corinthians 13.

So that’s my story.

What’s your 1 Corinthians 13 story?

How about you? We want to learn how 1 Cor 13 has impacted others. We know this chapter is popular and has been read at millions of wedding ceremonies, but we want to hear your story.

Take a few moments to fill out this form. We’re not sure how we will use the stories submitted.  If you don’t want us to share, that’s ok. We’d just like to hear your story.

We’ll reach back out to you for any follow-ups.