…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:3-4, NKJV).)
Some things take time to perfect.
I had an interesting conversation recently with my oldest daughter. We talked about marriage and how, after several years of marriage, she has finally gotten to a real place of appreciating her husband and the value he adds to her life. She is also aware of the value she adds to his life.
As we shared our different experiences in marriage, we came to a final conclusion which was this: Too many couples aren’t willing to go through the struggle of truly learning each other. If, after a few years things aren’t perfect, they’re willing to throw in the towel. Most of the time, things aren’t perfect because they are not putting the difficult work involved in making a marriage work. They rush the process.
Most people are aware of how often marriage ends in divorce, but they still, somehow, hold on to this fantasy that because they are so “in love”, everything will be easy and breezy. The truth is that the only marriages that work are those that WORK at making it work, and are willing to not rush the process.
There’s a reason they call early marriage the “honeymoon phase”. It’s because it is only a phase. A phase is a distinct period or stage in a series of events or a process of change or development. In other words, it doesn’t necessarily last. Typically, after a couple gets “hitched”, they go on an extended vacation away from all the responsibilities of life and concentrate on each other, allowing themselves to be totally enraptured in each other’s love. Their eyes are full of fairy dust, and everything is seen through that. Unfortunately, soon after arriving home, real life begins. Now it’s easy to get distracted by tasks that take your attention away from each other; and in the process, it’s easy to lose patience or become short tempered with your mate. Suddenly, all your mate’s flaws are smacking you in the face. It’s also easy to forget that this, too, is a phase.
Marriage goes through many, many phases, and if that is not kept in mind, it’s too easy to think that the current phase is a permanent one. It, indeed, can become a permanent one if the two parties refuse to make the essential changes that allow them to transition into a different stage.
In the beginning, we want our mates to be just like us. It has been said that if you both are alike, one of you is unnecessary. It is so much more rewarding to learn to understand and appreciate your differences. It’s a lot more interesting, too.
It truly takes time to cultivate a good marriage, but if patience isn’t developed, it can’t happen. Expecting perfection from your mate is an impossible pursuit. Even if you find the “perfect” person, the relationship is going to be imperfect because you’re in it. Oops! Was that your toe I just stepped on. Sorry, not sorry.
Here’s the bottom line: if you rush the process of becoming an “US”, and choose, instead, to separate or divorce, you will miss out on some of the most wonderful joys marriage can have. And should you decide to marry someone new, you’ll have to start all over again, getting to know each other, learning each other’s idiosyncrasies, what makes you laugh, what makes you cry, what brings you great delight. Those things take time.
Let patience truly have it’s perfect work in you. If you are a child of God, you already have it in you through the Fruit of the Spirit; so you don’t even have to ask God for it. Instead, ask Him to help you develop that fruit, and be expectant that He will. And, by the way, remember to be patient with yourself as you grow in your relationship with God and your spouse. (Pam)