Marriage and Patience
May 12, 2015
Filed In: Marriage
A few weeks ago, Alison and I went to a live radio show. That sentence felt weird to type, but it's true. We traveled into Washington, DC to be a part of the studio audience for "The Catholic Guy Show" with Lino Rulli which can be heard on SiriusXM's The Catholic Channel. During the show, I got up on the guest mic and for reasons unknown to me, admitted to an international listening audience that my biggest struggle in the married life is with patience. The fact is, it's true, although I didn't plan on sharing that part of my life when I got on air. There are plenty of times when I get really impatient at even the smallest inconveniences. Yet, I know that I'll never be happy in my marriage or in my life if I'm impatient.
Teams work together and they recognize that there will be errors from time to time. They don't judge, they don't blame, they get frustrated for a moment and then get back in the game. It's when a team doesn't get their focus back that the errors compound. The same is true for us. Each time we act in an unloving way, we need to knock it off and get our head back in the game. This is especially important when we're inconvenienced in a very minor way.
The fact is that all of our time is valuable and you can respect your wife's by giving her the immediate attention that she requests. For example, if you're working on a project and she needs to ask your opinion on something, take a moment, give her your opinion and then get back to work. This course of action will leave both of you satisfied and will be far less detrimental to your forward progress than a reaction of anger and frustration. Sometimes impatience isn't a result of anyone's actions but your own. If you manage your time well, then you'll be able to better adapt to fluid demands on your schedule. Work in the time that you've allotted, get your chores done when you plan to, and avoid pushing up against deadlines. All of these strategies will reduce the chances of your becoming impatient with someone that you really love.
Despite our best efforts, it's unrealistic to expect that your patience won't be tried or that you'll never act impatiently. I've found that impatience creeps up quickly and at inopportune moments. The key to really becoming a more patient person is to be constantly working towards it. Accept small failures, but learn from those encounters ways to improve and get better. Try new strategies and setup new responses. For example, decide that whenever your wife asks something of you, you'll stop everything that you're doing and give her your full attention.
Patience is formed over time. With a little work and a lot of intentionality, you'll be able to better respond to your wife's needs and you'll both enjoy a lower-stress marriage.