Let Patience Have Its Perfect Work in Your Marriage
By: Jennifer Waddle
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:4)
My husband’s signature display of impatience is a low, deep sigh that sounds like a bike tire losing air. I feel free to share this only because his quiet display of impatience is nothing compared to my own foot-tapping, cabinet-slamming, under-my-breath complaining type of display. (Not proud of this, by the way.)
There is, perhaps, nothing more constant than the day-to-day requirement of extending patience in marriage. From the slightest of irritations, to the monumental issues that squeeze every ounce of patience our of us, the call to forbearance is much needed in order to keep our marriages surviving and thriving.
The first chapter of James reminds us that in this world there will be trials. And in those trials our faith will be tested. However, that testing isn’t meant for our harm but for our good. In fact, James encourages us to count our trials as joy…joy!
I don’t know about you, but joy doesn’t usually exist in my vocabulary when trials come. Worry, doubt, fear, and anger rise to the surface. But joy? I usually have to dig a little deeper to find it.
However, what if we began to follow James 1:4, by allowing patience to have its perfect work in our lives and our marriages? Instead of angrily reacting, we could calmly respond. Instead of immediately jumping to conclusions, we could take a moment to pray for wisdom.
Letting patience have its perfect work in us will lead to a sense of completeness, a sense of contentment, and a sense of peace. On the other hand, when we prevent patience from working in us, we miss out on the spiritual growth God desires.
Consider these practical ways of letting patience have its perfect work in your life and marriage.
- When you sense that your faith is being tested, ask your spouse to pray with you. Don’t isolate yourself and let the enemy create division. Go to the Lord together and allow Him to mature your marriage relationship through the period of testing.
- When trials come, (and they will), communicate with your spouse sooner rather than later. Don’t let resentment build. Discuss a game plan to navigate the trial and move forward together.
- When your spouse repeatedly tests your patience, stop and remember the many times you’ve tested theirs. Marriage is never one-sided. Both parties require love, kindness, and patience.
An important thing to remember is that patience is a divine attribute of the Holy Spirit. And in our lives, it is a fruit that is produced by walking in the Spirit. Without remaining in step with Him, our patient strivings will quickly run out of steam. It is only by His power that we can allow patience to have its perfect work.
Hang in there! Whether you are the cabinet-slamming type, or the bike-tire-letting-out-air type, you can rest in the underlying joy of God and let patience have its perfect work in you.
Jennifer Waddle is a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where “Discouragement Doesn’t Win.” She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
For More Great Resources for Christian Couples, Visit Crosswalk's Marriage Channel.