Marriage can make you very aware of your spouse’s faults.
“Once the novelty of marriage wears off, it’s easy to focus on the less desirable qualities of your spouse. When that negative attitude creeps in, it’s easy to lose your patience.”—Jessena.
Impatience can cause you to speak before you think.
“I express what I’m feeling very readily—almost too readily. If I were more patient, I could put things in perspective and move on without needing to say anything.”—Carmen.
The Bible says: “Love is patient and kind.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) It seems only reasonable that two people who love each other would show patience. But this is not always the case. “Like any good quality,” notes John, quoted earlier, “patience decays more easily than it grows. It takes effort to keep it growing.”
How can you show patience?
When a sudden incident tests your patience.
Example: Your spouse says something unkind to you. Your impulse is to say something unkind in return.
Bible principle: “Do not be quick to take offense, for the taking of offense is the mark of a fool.”—Ecclesiastes 7:9, footnote.
How to show patience: Pause. Before responding, try to attribute your spouse’s remark to something other than a deliberate attack. “Most of us react more to our interpretation of what was said than to what our partner meant and actually did say,” states the book Fighting for Your Marriage.
Even if your spouse was trying to provoke you, your showing patience by restraining yourself from retaliating can ease the tension rather than add to it. “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out,” says the Bible.—Proverbs 26:20.
“When you get the urge to view your wife as your opponent, stop and think about why you love her and immediately try to do something nice for her.”—Ethan.
To think about:
How do you respond when your spouse says or does something unkind?
How can you show greater patience the next time this happens?
When a recurring issue tests your patience.
Example: Your spouse is always late, making you wait—and fume.
Bible principle: “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely.”—Colossians 3:13.
How to show patience: Try to put the needs of your relationship above your personal needs. Ask yourself, ‘Will making an issue over this help our relationship or hurt it?’ Also, remember that “we all stumble many times.” (James 3:2) This means that you too have things to work on.
“Sometimes I show more patience with a friend than with my husband. I think it’s because I spend more time with my husband and I see his shortcomings. But patience is an aspect of love—really, a sign of respect—so it’s essential in my marriage.”—Nia.