Marriage,  Patience,  The Virtuous Life

The Virtuous Life: How Patience Can Affect the Course of Your Marriage


We’re continuing our series on The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife. Today is part one in the discussion on the virtue of patience. Find the table of contents at the end of this post.

If there was one thing about my husband that I could improve, I’d have to say it’s his wife.

Ask me that on a bad day and my answer might be different, but today I’m looking at life with a glass half full of grace. Michael’s not perfect, but trying to change him has never been effective. Working to transform ourselves however, has changed the way we live and the way that we love.

Living with another person isn’t so easy–I learned that 40 years ago when I shared a bed with my sister. It takes a whole lot of patience.

What is patience? It’s the bearing of provocation or misfortune without complaint. In other words it’s holding your temper when you’re angry, and biting your tongue when you’re about to say something you shouldn’t.

I’m reminded of those earlier years when computers were new. Sometimes I thought they were ridiculous, and other days I wanted nothing more than to toss them aside and go back to the old way of doing things. Paper and pen made sense, windows and programs didn’t. I can’t tell you how many nights I spent on the telephone with technicians trying to figure out how to perform the most basic functions. One of which involved simply turning the computer off and turning it back on. Who knew?!

Ever minimize a window and exclaim, “Oh no! What did I do?!” Yeah, that was me.

It wasn’t until I understood computers and had a little experience with them that I finally learned to fully appreciate their value. Now I get it. I still need my kid’s to help me now and then, but I appreciate everything that one little machine can do.

Patience was a necessary virtue in learning and growing.

In the same way there have been frustrating days when like thousands of women around me, I wanted to give up on my marriage with Michael–times when I’ve seen his imperfections and he has seen mine; times when “glorious without limit” seemed challenging without end. Thrive or survive—the choice was ours.

We’re complicated. It takes patience and time to understand each other and to fully appreciate our value.

Instead of giving up, we dug our heels in and stood firm. We held onto our marriage with a fierce grip. We saw the way that patience and grace can affect a marriage, while bringing glory and honor to God. It was good!

I write this blog with a message of hope—don’t discard something so precious. When we learn to respect, honor and cherish our spouse the way God wants us to love, marriages are transformed. Husbands treat us differently when we treasure the men that they are, and we respond better to them when they lovingly cherish us back.

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:2-3

“Longsuffering” here means: patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, and slowness in avenging wrongs. (Strongs G3115)

This goes against our natural tendency to be impatient, spiteful, demanding and hot-headed. Patience is a virtue that must be exercised if we ever hope to mature.

The best example of this is found in scripture when Jesus prayed on the cross. “Father forgive them,” He said, “for they know not what they do.”

He had every reason to be angry, spiteful, impatient, and hostile, but He chose patience, forgiveness, and grace.

It can be hard, but we’re never past hope.

There is no such thing as hopeless when our eyes are fixed on God. God transforms the impossible into the possible. He offers the unpromising a promise. He gives strength to the weak. He encourages the discouraged. There isn’t one troubled marriage that God cannot fix. Is anything to hard for the Lord? Absolutely not!

Don’t give up too quickly. Don’t quit too soon, lest you leave before the harvest comes in.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~ Galatians 6:9, NIV

I have seen the harvest that times of patience has brought, and with sincerity of heart I tell you: it is good–very good!

The Daffodil Garden

I’ve shared the story of the daffodils before, but since it’s such a good fit for this topic, I’d love to touch on it again. The beauty of the garden holds a lesson to be learned. It’s definitely worth repeating–let me tell it to you my way…

In 1958, (Alma) Gene and Dale Bauer started planting a garden of daffodils, planting them one by one by one… throughout the years. Today the daffodil garden in Running Springs, California is said to be the largest daffodil garden in the world. One look at the magnificent hillside immediately draws you in.

This mountain hillside, which was once a wilderness of poor rocky soil is now drenched with daffodils. A breath-taking experience to the tourists it draws.

The countless daffodils reflect care, as stewards of God’s creation, labor in the land they’ve been given. Man and woman, side by side. But the unmistakable miracle we see—made by the hands of only two—is that perseverance yields fruit to those who are trained by it.

Gene Bauer planted the first 48 bulbs in 1958, describing her persistence by saying, “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet and a body minus a brain.” In forty years she’s planted close to a million bulbs!

The daffodil garden illustrates the God given potential that each one of us holds when we plant seeds one by one. Seeds of discipline, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control—seeds that will blossom in our garden one day, a breath-taking garden that draws others to Christ.

In 1988, my husband and I planted a garden when we stood at the altar, saying, “I do.”

It’s been 24 years of planting one bulb at a time. Nothing too big, just one bloom here and there among countless flowers.

One prayer at a time, one day at a time, one understanding and patient moment at a time… precious blooms  in the garden of marriage.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. ~ Galatians 6:9

The schedule for this series
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2 – Purity Pt. 1
Week 2 – Purity Pt. 2
Week 3 – Self Control Pt. 1
Week 3 – Self Control Pt. 2
Week 4 – Love Pt. 1
Week 4 – Love Pt. 2
Week 5 – Diligence Pt. 1
Week 5 – Diligence Pt. 2
Week 6 – Patience Pt. 1

You are loved by an almighty God,

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