In this podcast I talk about what patience is, what it means to be patient, how we can develop patience, and how important patience is in our marriage.
So this year in our Stake (which if you are not LDS, a Stake is a geographical boundary comprised of several congregations) we are focusing on a different attribute of Christ each month, and this month that attribute is patience. So on Sunday, we had a couple of talks on patience and it really got me things about what patience is, what it means to be patient, how we can develop patience, and how important patience is in our marriage and in our families.
I was thinking back to when I was a young mom and I was really patient with my babies and my toddlers. I didn’t get angry at them when they couldn’t do something for themselves or they didn’t do something right when I asked them or if they did it wrong because they were still learning. They didn’t KNOW things yet. So it wouldn’t have been ok for me to get upset at them or mad at them for things that they didn’t know yet. So I was a lot more patient with them because they didn’t KNOW it.
Now, as they have grown and have learned more, I’ve become LESS patient with them because when they don’t do something, or don’t do it right away, or if they do it wrong or they do something they are not supposed to my THOUGHTS are you SHOULD be doing this or you SHOULD know this or you SHOULD know better. And that is when I get upset. That is when I am not patient.
I want you to think back to when you first began your relationship with your spouse. You were probably a LOT more patient with them in the beginning than you are now because they didn’t KNOW your expectations or all of your wants and likes and needs. But are you less patient with them now because you THINK they SHOULD know?
I also think we are a lot more patient with ourselves when we are learning. Let’s think again about a toddler when they are trying to learn new things. Think about when your toddler was learning to dress themselves. They wanted to learn how to do up their own buttons, even if it took FOREVER. They had patience because they wanted to learn. But how many times are we impatient with ourselves or others because we think we should be able to learn it faster? Sometimes it just takes a lot time to learn things.
In one of the talks on Sunday she said, “we show patience when we let the Lord work in our lives instead of us trying to force it.”
And I think that is so insightful. We aren’t patient with ourselves or others when we are trying to force the issue instead of it working itself out in its own time. In Mosiah 3:19 it says “becometh as a child, patient.” Just as a child is patient to learn how to do up all their buttons on their shirt, we too can be that way when we just let things be learned in their own time, as the Lord does with us.
In D&C 92:26 it says “Bear it patiently, your reward shall be doubled” – so when we are patient, the reward is even greater that if we had tried to force the issue ourselves. Think about how excited the toddler is when they did it all by themselves. But if you force the issue, and take over because you can do it better and faster, and they never learn, you miss that.
So I’ve mentioned before that I have a 16-year old daughter, Carly, who is bi-polar. Being her mother is so rewarding, but it definitely has its challenges. Over the years I have had to learn great patience. And really, its only been in the last couple of years that I’ve seen huge changes in myself with this. For years, I prayed for patience with her and I think the Lord just laughed because I really wasn’t doing anything to make that happen. So he wasn’t just going to give me patience. I had to work for it.
I used to wake up in the morning and pretty much gear up for a fight. Every single day was a struggle with her. But when I started my day with prayer, scripture study, and meditation, my mind was more more clear and when the fights came, I didn’t escalate with her (which is what I had done in the past). I had really wanted the Lord to help HER change and what needed to happen was for me to change. For me to make changes to put my mind in a more peaceful place. I also needed to gain more understanding and compassion for what she was going through.
She would throw HUGE tantrums, long after she should have been throwing tantrums.” and my thoughts were “You are too old to be doing this. You should KNOW better.” Which caused ME to be impatient with her. But when my thoughts changed to “what are the thoughts in your head that are bringing out these emotions and how can I help” instead or “there must so much going on inside that you don’t know how to control this” and began to really see that she DIDN’T know how to control it, I began to be much more compassionate and patient with her.
Now, let’s think about this concept in relationship to your marriage. When you are IMPATIENT with your spouse it is because you THINK they should KNOW better and should DO better. Right? But what if they don’t? What if they haven’t learned that lesson yet? What if trying to FORCE the issue is making it worse? What if you were to drop all expectations of your spouse and the only reason they were there was for you to LOVE them? Now, I know, I know you are like WHAT???? Of course I have expectations of my spouse. But what if you didn’t? What if you just LOVED them for them with no conditions or expectations? What would happen in your marriage? Now, having no expectations doesn’t mean you can’t make requests. It doesn’t mean you can’t sit down with your spouse and figure out who is going to take what responsibilities as equal partners in marriage. But what if it just meant that you wouldn’t try and FORCE any of the issues? That you just acted out of LOVE all the time because you know that always gives you your best results? What if when they did or didn’t do something that you don’t like, you didn’t make it mean things about you? Like – “if he loved me he would do this….or he would just know I need this” or “if he loved me he wouldn’t do that” because I guarantee that most of the time they aren’t purposely trying to hurt you. They are just oblivious and unknowing, even if they really should know.
When your toddler is acting out or doing something, you are acting out of LOVE when you try to help them. Why can’t it be the same way with your spouse?
So that is patience! Patience is not trying to force issues, but just letting them work on in their own time. Patience is all about LOVE. And when we are acting out of Love we are always our best self.