I learned something about marriage this week. Marriage and patience go hand in hand. Let me rephrase that, a solid marriage and patience go hand in hand. Before we move on, I’d like to write the definition of patient…
Adjective: able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
Noun: a person receiving or registered to receive medical treatment.
One evening last week when my husband came home I could tell he was processing through something. When I asked him about it he said, “Yes, I am processing through something, but I don’t want to talk about it…at least not yet.”
I hate it!
This drives me C.R.A.Z.Y.
If I bug him I’m a terrible person and a non-understanding wife all rolled into one. Maybe it’s just me, but do these types of requests drive anyone else crazy? My first thought was, “Could there be something terribly wrong with him?” Well, I’ve got to ask that question at the very least.
“Honey, are you okay?”
End of discussion. Well, at least I know he’s not dying or getting ready to pack up and flee to Alaska.
For the rest of the evening, and until the following evening, I had to wait to find out what he “was processing.”
The waiting game.
It was a bit grueling. I was thinking through all of the things I was going to tell him once he told me whatever it was. Next time, sweetheart, love of my life, please don’t tell me ANYTHING. Next time, don’t make me wait so long. Next time, give me more info so I can wait patiently.
And there it is, the word patient. I was turning myself into a patient (noun) rather than being patient.
I’m reminded of the time my then, five-year-old son was taking too long to get ready.
“Joey, please hurry we’ve got to get going.”
“Be patient Mom.”
“I’m all out of patience.”
“But Mom patience it one of the fruits of the spirit: Love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control”? There’s nothing like being put in your place by the Spirit from a five year old!
The next evening when Mike told me what he had been “working through” the “could have been a problem” scenario was
and worked out
and taken care of.
All I did was listen, and supported him. But here’s the thing…if I had heard him before he had gotten to the solution phase I would have been concerned. He saved me the turmoil of knowing the process. He spared me.
But did I exercise patience?
I did not.
This was foolish.
It all boils down to trust. I needed to trust my husband and know that him holding off on communicating what was going on until he was ready was a good thing.
It was better for him AND it was better for me…it was better for us.
He knew what the best time to talk with me was, and I needed to trust him. The problem is I don’t like the waiting game.
After, when I thought through all of those next time objections–I had oh so carefully crafted–I realized I would have been even more wrong had I verbalized my impatience.
First, I had been the one to ask him if something was up.
Second, he needed time.
Third, it was best for him, me, and our marriage, for him to wait to talk with me.
Why is it so hard to be wrong…again?
I really do need to be more patient in my marriage. I need to be “able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.”
I need to trust that God has it, and I need to trust my husband.
How about you?
Do you find yourself becoming anxious when you are playing “the waiting game”? Do you find yourself frustrated with your spouse when they need time before talking with you about emotional or taxing information? Is it hard for you to wait patiently?
One thing I did do was pray. I prayed for me to be calm, and I prayed for my husband. But the next time I find myself in this dilemma I will remember this incident, and that the best thing is to wait and trust. Sometimes the best thing for your marriage is to be still and do nothing. So, the next time you find yourself playing “the waiting game”…