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Fruit of the Spirit in Marriage: Patience

The photo above was posted on and shows the patience of John helping Linda re-learn the alphabet after losing her memory. You never know when or how patience will be needed in marriage—but patience is near the top of the list for marital health and honor.

Patience in the simple things

When and how in your marriage is patience needed? For us patience is displayed in the simple moments of life, like when one of you asks on a near-daily basis where their keys are (and they are almost always next to the purse) 🙂 . Or when one of us grabs his iphone 🙂 every time it buzzes.

Those are the little things that over time we simply learn to shake our head and smile inside quietly at the idiosyncrasies of our spouse. The proverbial rolling of the toilet paper off the back of the roll instead of the “right” way, where they squeeze the tube of toothpaste (we each have our own!), etc. You look for the compromise or you graciously look the other way and let it go.

Patience in the moderate things

Of course, there can be things our spouse does which were initially endearing when we dated. They way she loved telling and re-telling the details of her interactions with friends. How he did “manly” things like hunt and fish. She enjoys life and has a measured pace about her.

Only now she talks more than you’d like; he’s gone way too much from home and is over-invested in his hobbies; and she’s constantly late.  C.S. Lewis said, “Everyone is benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment.”

Patience in the difficult things

Some things in marriage are just difficult. Our spouse hits a health crisis that requires our constant care. Or you’re a buoyant person and your mate is struggling with bouts of depression. Perhaps you became a Christian after you got married, and your spouse doesn’t share your beliefs or values. They may smoke or drink more than you’d prefer, but at this stage in their life there is no change on the horizon.

Is there any hope?

The hope comes from within as you choose to partner with God’s Spirit in you. One of the evidences (fruit) of God’s Spirit at work is patience. In the original language the word for “patience” means long-suffering, or a calm willingness to love through irritating or painful situations; patience guards our hearts from being easily offended, it doesn’t retaliate—rising or lowering to the other person’s attack. This is what God Spirit produces in the husband or wife who yields to Him.

So here’s where to start:

  • So that you don’t focus on the negative, first think of 10 things you can thank God for in your spouse.
  • Tell God that you want to live and express His patience to your spouse.
  • Analyze in which category your annoyance lies: simple, moderate, or difficult. Pray and ask Him if you should address it or have peace and trust Him to grow your patience through it. Ask Him to help you see your spouse through His eyes.
  • Lovingly and patiently address your spouse with respect and honor…or let it go and show grace and patience as you build your marriage!