These words are from Dr. Tim Muehlhoff, professor of communication at Biola University, as he discusses the way we are to love our spouses, even when none of us is perfect:*
“In contrast to the deeds of the flesh [in Gal 5:19-21], Paul explores what is commonly known as the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Since “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8), Paul starts his list with the attribute of love. Just as God deeply loves us and crowns us with love and compassion (Ps 103:4), we are to treat others in the same way. Consequently, his list describing the fruit of the Spirit (love, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, and gentleness) replaces the hatred, jealousy, rage, and selfishness found in the previous list. The result of following the Spirit’s lead is a deep-seated joy. This joy is not based on the size of our bank account, the success of our careers, or even the health of our marriages. Joy is rooted in God’s unchanging love and goodness. From this love, we extend love to others–especially to our imperfect spouses.”
*Tim Muehlhoff, Defending Your Marriage: The Reality of Spiritual Warfare (Downers Grove: IVP, 2018), 49.