Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
You knew that in a series on marriage that passage would come up eventually, didn’t you? Today we’re talking about long-suffering, which is defined as “patient endurance.” I find it interesting that the very first characteristic of love listed is “patient.” Is it perhaps that patience helps us to also be kind, not arrogant, not irritable and so on? I think maybe so.
Some of the things we’ve discussed so far are things that I can do fairly well, and some of them are things that I don’t do well on at all. With this one, it’s a little bit of both. I’m pretty good about being patient on long term things, patiently enduring the struggles and the hardships of life and working through them. But in the little day to day stuff?? I admit I am not so patient.
Do you know what being impatient with other people gets you? Fights. That’s pretty much the only thing I can come up with. It doesn’t help; it doesn’t get you anywhere any faster; it doesn’t solve any problems. Being impatient does set a bad mood, encourage impatience and frustration in return and immediately pit you and the other person against each other. Why would we want to do that?
Especially when it comes to my husband, I don’t want to start fights or pit us against each other. I know that quite frequently when I get impatient and snap some comment at my husband, he usually interprets my impatience in that moment as a bad mood, anger, or some kind of gripe or complaint. He thinks I’m mad at him. Of course, when I snap back “I’m not mad!” I don’t sound very convincing.
On the other hand, being patient with a person is a very good way to love them. Being patient and giving the other person time to respond, act or make their move is respectful. Patiently overlooking another person’s little mistakes, bad days or impatient looks is gracious and forbearing. Being patient with someone, the way that WE want to be treated, is one way to love someone as we love ourselves.
How can I work on this? Start small.
- Pay attention to my tone of voice and the look on my face when I’m waiting for something
- Leave plenty of time for a person to respond, act or move.
- Hey, you can even let the other person speak, act or move first.
- Overlook and forgive unintentional grievances without comment. (I say it that way because sometimes you do need to address big or intentional grievances.. but even THEN.. patience is a virtue!)
What are some ways that you can work on being more patient – can you think of something specific that you need to work on?
If you would like to join in, the rules are simple. Link up an encouraging post about marriage with the direct url to the post. Next week’s word is “Merciful” Join us then for more Marriage Monday!