“You have to be patient.” I didn’t like hearing that advice as a child and I’m not a big fan of it as an adult. It’s difficult to be patient. If you don’t believe it, check out the video The Marshmallow Experiment.
We’re one week away from moving into a new house. We still have some packing to do, but we’re so close it’s hard to be patient. There are things we want to do, but we can’t because we’re not there yet. We have to be patient.
What I’ve learned about marriage from buying a house is there are times in marriage when you know what you want, but you’re not there yet and you have to be patient. For example…
- You would like to quit renting and buy a house, but you’ve not save enough money yet.
- You would like to go back to being more carefree and spontaneous, but you have kids now.
- You like where you live, but until you build some seniority your career calls for moving.
- Although your spouse is better at considering your needs, they’re still not great at it.
- You would like sex to be more free and spontaneous, but kids and fatigue prevent it.
- You would like bigger and better vacations, but your budget won’t allow it right now.
These things relate to seasons in marriage. You can’t hurry seasons. You have to be patient. Too many marriages suffer because people push too hard and too fast for things they think they should have now, rather than being patient and allowing things to develop more naturally.
So what do you do when there’s nothing you can do but wait? Is there something that will make being patient easier? Here are three suggestions that will help you with patience:
- REALIZE how far you’ve come. I’m not trying to be some glass-half-full kind of guy, but we spend too much time looking at how far we have to go, rather than looking at how far we’ve come. For example…
- You may not have the money to get out of an apartment, but you’ve come a long ways from living with your parents.
- Your house might be small, but it’s an improvement from the small apartment you once lived in.
- So kids have taken a bite out of your carefree and spontaneous lifestyle. At least you’re not alone wondering if you’ll ever be remembered.
- Yes your career is requiring you to move, but remember when you couldn’t find a job?
- Maybe your spouse could be better at considering your needs, but there was a time when you didn’t even have someone committed to you.
- Sex may not be what it used to be since the kids came along, but remember when it wasn’t even an option?
- So you can’t take an extravagant vacation. There was a time when you had no paid vacation at all.
- RECOGNIZE how much you have. If you haven’t learned to appreciate what you have, then you probably won’t appreciate what you get…even if it’s bigger and shinier. (See Luke 16:10-12.) When you take time to realize how far you’ve come, then it’s easier to recognize how much you have.
- You may not be making the money you would like, but you recognize that you’re making more than you use to.
- You may not have the house you want, but your recognize that you’re fortunate to have what you have.
- Your spouse may not be everything you want, but you recognize they’re more than you probably deserve.
- You may not have the spontaneous life you once had, but you recognize you have the regular and routine privilege of loving and caring for children who love and trust you.
- You may not be able to vacation in the Bahamas, but you can have a picnic at the lake that will be remembered for a life time.
- REMEMBER it’s just a season. There’s a great phrase in Scripture… “It came to pass.” The phrase does not say… “It came to stay.” The truth is, nothing in life stays the same. Life is always moving. There’s a great line from the movie “Phenomenon” that says, “Everything is on it’s way to somewhere else.” Scripture says it this way…”For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1 NLT) Remembering this can help you be patient when you’re in certain seasons of marriage.
When I went to grad school, I had left a very good job with a major oil company. I moved my wife, a 2nd grader, and a kindergartener to a place we had never been before. The living conditions were less than ideal. We had very little money and a whole lot of stress. There were times when we didn’t know if we could do it. In those times, my wife and I would tell ourselves … “It’s only temporary. It won’t always be this way. This is just a season.” This was our mantra. It helped us have the patience we needed to get through a difficult season of life. When you need patience to get from one phase of marriage to another, remember…it’s just a season.
Some things in marriage can’t be rushed. Realizing how far you’ve come, recognizing how much you have, and remembering it’s just a season can help you get to the next best place of marriage. You just have to be…well, you know.
Think of some of the stages of marriage that have required patience. Leave one of those in the comments. It will encourage someone else.
Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg