This is Part 2 of our weekly patience series. Beth has been married for 18 months. After a career change, a cross-country move, and several family and personal trials, she shares what she has learned about having patience with herself and her spouse in marriage.
From the moment I met Kent, I knew he was special and would play a significant role in my life. We started dating and almost immediately became inseparable. The funny thing was, we weren’t each other’s “type.” Kent was outgoing and fun-loving, and I was an introverted film buff, but something drew us together. His family, back in California, was going through some significant trials at the time, and since neither of us had close friends or family in the city we were living in, we relied on one another and became closer and more vulnerable than we might have been normally.
We had a pretty smooth dating experience without any significant or large arguments, and nine months later, we were engaged. During our engagement, Kent accepted a new job, which meant a cross-country move shortly after we got married. I quit my dream job in the city without any prospects on the horizon and packed up our first home. Within the first few months in our new city, things didn’t flow as easily as they had while we were dating. I was under a lot of stress to find a “perfect job,” my grandfather passed away, and I had trouble making friends and connections. Along with that, Kent and I were fighting more and more. His habits started to annoy me, and I realized just how different we were. I started questioning whether or not I had made the right choice in marrying him. We felt like strangers who fell asleep together at night but had difficulty holding a conversation during the day.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my body started working against me, and I developed a chemical imbalance. My doctor diagnosed me with depression, and I was terrified. However, throughout the process, Kent’s support and love for me never waned. He was incredibly patient and kind when I’d have anxiety attacks or bouts of deep sadness, and knowing that inspired me to be more patient with him when he did things that I might not agree with or that annoyed me. His behavior inspired me to have patience with myself as well. I recognized that it was OK to admit that I needed help with counseling and medication. I now have a constant hope that things really will get better one day, but it’s OK that I’m not 100% where I want to be emotionally right now. I know that God wants me to be patient with myself so that I can fully heal.
I love the description of true love, or charity, in the scriptures—love is patient, love is kind. Patience is kindness—it’s an easy forgiveness of your partner’s (or your own) faults and a willingness to see your partner as the being of light and hope and potential that they are—to see them as beloved children of God. That’s what Kent did for me, and I try every day to do that for him.