"Seven Virtues and Your Marriage: Patience"


In my country (USA) we have lost this word.  It is almost obsolete.  The dictionary defines patience this way, “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Let’s just break this down.

Tolerating delay.  If we go out to dinner and the waiter is not right there to attend to us, we get upset.  If we are in the drive thru line at a fast food restaurant and have to wait more than a minute (that may be too long for some of us), we get angry.  If we have to wait in line to checkout at the supermarket, we are looking for a shorter line, thinking the checker is too slow, or wondering why they don’t have all the checkout lines open.  Our patience is a very short fuse at best.

Accepting trouble.  Really?  We go to great extremes to avoid trouble.  We try to ‘trouble proof’ ourselves.  Trouble takes time and we do not have the time to give.  We run from trouble.  Long ago we lost sight of the fact that people can grow through facing trouble.  There are lessons to be learned but we really do not want to take the time to learn them.  Trouble is off our radar and if it does come on, we will do almost anything to get away from it.

Accepting suffering.  If we are going to extremes to avoid trouble, we will go to mega-extremes to avoid suffering.  If it does find us, we find all kinds of options to ease the pain.  We may know in our hearts that people grow and become stronger through suffering but we want to leave that to those other people.

Now let’s bring patience into our marriages.  Just what does that look like.  I think it means taking time to listen to your spouse and interact with them when you really need (by your definition) to be doing something else.  It means not getting upset when your spouse is late showing up.  It means taking the time to explain something to your spouse that you know and they want to know.  It means putting them before you.  It means doing all of the above and more without getting angry or upset.  It is daily living out James 1:19b with your spouse: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

Patience.  Find it and put it in your marriage.

Dr. Kim