Patience is a key element to any relationship if you ask me.
From being a friend, parent, child, co-worker, spouse what would any relationship look like without patience. Over the past few months while working through and facing my husband’s affair and rebuilding from the inside out, it has played an even greater key role in my daily life. I have relied on patience with myself, my husband, and our relationship. I have prayed for more. I have cried out with anger that I have not had enough at times. I have had to learn what true patience is. I thought I was a patient person. I thought I had an understanding of what it meant to live a life waiting on God’s timing and God’s plans for me.
Then the hurt hit!
I was facing my husbands affair and inappropriate relationships and the most gut wrenching relationship recovery I NEVER thought I’d have to face. And patience became hard at times. (ok a lot of the time)
I was impatient with myself: I wanted answers, solutions, healing, consequences, less pain, the end of tears, for this whole situation to be over RIGHT then and THERE. I didn’t want to wait or be patient. I didn’t want to hear God tell me to be patient anymore. I didn’t want days, weeks, months, to go buy with what I thought was unanswered prayer. I wanted healing and perfection fast. I didn’t want to be patient and work from inside the trench of this reality anymore. I wanted this whole ugly, messy, painful truth to be so far in our past it didn’t make my heart stop or my stomach jump into my throat every time I thought about it. I wanted simple, black and white, cut and dry solutions and answers. I wanted peace!
I was impatient with my husband: I will be honest, I struggled to patient with my husband’s journey through this. My patience with my husband was thin…filled with hurt and anger that was completely one sided at times. Why didn’t he change faster? What was taking so long for him to figure out what lead to his choices? Why didn’t he get what I was saying the first time we talked about “this”? And why did it feel like I was the one always bringing it to the table for discussion? Why did I have to explain myself again? Why did I have to focus on his pain at all? Why was I being faced with patiently waiting for him to hear God and let God change his thoughts, feelings, actions? He was the one who broke our vows. He was the one who took the selfish action and did what he did.
I was impatient with God: Where was He? Why wasn’t He fixing my husband? What was He waiting for? Why wasn’t God bringing my husband back to the man He created him to be? Why was He letting me still have nightmares and anxiety attacks? Why does it still feel at times that we take 1 step forward to just fall back 5 more? Where were the answers to my prayers?
Then I heard this audio clip one morning…
I was like a 2×4 to my heart and head. I was being selfish, in all the wrong ways. I was expecting my journey to be my husbands journey through this. I wasn’t considering ALL the factors that were at work in this situation. God truly wanted to heal our marriage, our hearts, our relationship, our life. He wanted to make it all go away but what good would any of that have done had we not spent time in the trenches and allowed each other to work on our stuff.
What if my husband hadn’t allowed me the time to even be impatient? How would things have worked out if he hadn’t been patient with me when I said I can’t say I forgive you yet? What if God had decided not to be patient with me when I was screaming and yelling and begging Him to tell my why this all happened? What if my husband didn’t shown me patience after weeks of sleepless nights because of nightmares only to wake up and feel like he was reliving the moment the truth came out all over again?
What if God said, “I don’t have the patience to wait for you to see all I have done for you and all that I have given you. Eternity and salvation is off the table” ?
I was reminded through that audio clip that I make mistakes all the time. In fact I am sure I have made mistakes as I sit here and type out this blog. And I rely without ceasing on God’s patience with me. I take that patience for granted and without acknowledgement.
Nothing perfect comes without being refined and given time to become what it was created to be. And who would want any relationship that wasn’t built on solid healthy foundations. Which take time and patience to form. Even the seasons of each year have to take their time and complete each of their tasks. There is really no beginning or end to the rotation of each year, one leads into the other and each has a crucial roll in allowing the next to follow over and over again. That’s how I see my marriage now and the patience I need to have while we wait through each “season” and more specifically this season of recovery and rebuilding.
Behind my choice to practice patience is also the promise of my heavenly Father to walk this journey with me, my husband,…with both of us.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
I have chosen to love my husband and myself enough to make patience a goal with all I do and all I offer to our recovery from this messy ugly truth. What could be more amazing than to let God love my husband through all this with my patience. How much more tangible will God be if I seek to live a life of patience gained only from Holy Spirit living in me.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
Does this mean I am a victim or allowing my husband to rule over me, or make this journey more about him than me…HECK NO! This makes it about God, who is bigger than what we are facing. This makes it about looking for God in the moment and letting Him regain control of walking us through this process of healing and rebuilding.
The choice to practice patience allows our marriage and the relationship we are now striving for to be a safe haven even if we make mistakes.
To let being vulnerable and completely true to how we are feeling at any given moment be shared without fear.
This choice gives us the gift of accountability without judgement. It takes away pressure to feel as though we are supposed to have this all figured out and fixed just because we want it to be.
It gives us grace to just be in the trench of recovery!