Love Lesson 1: He Designed Love to be Patient
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -Ephesians 4:2 NIV
Love works. I believe that God created us with a lifelong thirst for love. Our hearts desperately need it like our lungs need oxygen. Relationships become meaningful with it. No marriage is successful without it. Love inspires you to become a patient person. When you choose to be patient, you respond in a positive way to a negative situation. You are slow to anger. No one likes to be around impatient people.
Impatience overreacts in angry, foolish, regrettable ways. But the irony of anger toward a wrong is that it spawns new wrongs of its own. Anger almost never makes things better. In fact, it usually generates additional problems. It will trample on long-term relationships while reacting to short-term mishaps.
Patience stops problems in their tracks.
*Patience is a CHOICE to control your emotions rather than allowing your emotions to control you, and it shows discretion instead of returning evil for evil. *It brings an internal calm to an external storm. If your spouse offends you, do you quickly retaliate, or do you stay under control? Do you find that anger is your emotional default when treated unfairly? If so, you are spreading poison rather than medicine. If you were to take off its mask, you will see that anger is often an emotional reaction flowing out of our own ignorance, foolishness, or selfishness. *Patience makes us wise. It says, “Help me understand,” instead of, “How dare you!”
*It doesn’t rush to judgment, but puts our feelings on pause so that we can fully listen to what the other person is saying. It stands in the doorway where anger is clawing to burst in, but waits to see the whole picture before determining its best response. The Bible says, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29).
Impatience will turn your home into a war zone, the practice of patience will foster peace and quiet. “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute” (Proverbs 15:18). Statements like these from the Bible book of Proverbs are clear principles with timeless relevance.
*Patience is where love meets wisdom. And every marriage needs that combination to stay healthy. Love helps give your spouse permission to be human. It understands that everyone fails … daily. So when they make a mistake, it patiently chooses to give them more time than they deserve to correct it.
So test yourself. How long is your fuse? How quickly do you adopt a bad attitude? Are you willing to wait with a smile? Can your spouse count on having a patient wife or husband to deal with? Can she know that locking her keys in the car will be met by your calm understanding rather than a demeaning lecture that makes her feel childish? Can he know that being found watching a football game won’t automatically invite a loud-mouthed laundry list of better ways he should be spending his time? What would the tone and volume of your home be like if you tried this biblical approach: “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)? Few of us do patience very well, and none of us does it naturally. But wise men and women will pursue it as an essential ingredient to their marriage relationships. This journey is a process, and the first thing you must resolve to do is to demonstrate patience on a daily basis. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. But it’s a race worth running.
Go, conquer anger & impatience and do have a patience-driven day.