Monday, February 13, 2012

A Letter to Joy: Patience

Joy and I are writing each other on our blogs each Monday, as part of a Marriage Letters series started by fellow blogging couple Seth and Amber Haines. We're doing it to celebrate our marriage, and encourage couples everywhere to keep fighting for their own. Today is our 5th installment in the series, on the topic of "patience."

Dear Joy,

'165' photo (c) 2012, >littleyiye< - license: the long summer months leading up to our wedding day, there were a LOT of things I looked forward to about being married to you. Patience, I reasoned, was something I would need to exercise until that day, and not a day later.

Six hundred fifty miles separated us during our engagement (which, by the way, was both a blessing and a curse). To pass the time, I would dwell on things like the impending thrill of exploring you with playful, naked abandon; never needing to say good night and go our separate ways again; sleeping and waking next to you, spitting cherry pits with you, living with you, laughing with you. This was what consumed me. But for now, I needed to be patient.

This letter is starting to write itself, huh?

Yes, our wedding day was just the beginning of God’s inner working of patience in my heart. Those vivid fantasies of satiny romance and rose petals, while definitely strong at the start, have been a grueling gig to maintain. Real life kicks in, and with it comes real conflict.

In those first few years, we saw so many things differently that we never saw coming—from financial decisions, to bedtime routines, to organizing strategies, to laundry philosophies. We’d lock horns. Ice would enter the room. And I quickly realized that my pre-marital patience was actually another word that starts with “P” and ends with “E”: practice.

Now thirteen years later, every day is still a bending-over-backwards exercise in pleading for the Spirit-wrought fruit of patience. While much has been ironed out, plenty of wrinkles remain.

Just this afternoon, we had a painfully difficult conversation about a matter on which we continue to see things quite differently. For the thousandth time, our hearts' gears ground, and those muscles of patience flexed further and further for both of us. It will not be the last time, because we are in this for life.

God has been so patient with both of us through the years. Without His perfect patience pouring out of us in those moments, we would be dry wells of bitterness and begrudging scowls. The patience we find is not native; it is from above. And so we get down and plead for more.

I hope I have been half as patient with you as you have been with me.

I love you so much.

Patiently yours,


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