Love is patient. Love is kind.
Through a few early setbacks in our marriage, the patience God already put inside me was made self-evident as love, for the beautiful woman He entrusted to me. But things weren’t always that way.
One of our very first arguments was over a wet towel. As I completed my warm shower, I expected to besiege the remaining warmth in my body by surrounding it in a dry, warm towel. Once said shower had ended, I found that my expectations had been dashed. Deceived by the lack of a dry, or for that matter clean, towel anywhere. That patience that I have grown into now was nowhere in site. I shouted a battle cry and demanded that she denounce her wicked deed and change her ways, right then and there. Find me a towel woman!
I am extremely slow to change anything and everything, from light bulbs to trashcans, from waking up on the wrong side of the bed to waking up at all, even when it’s time to get ready for church on Sunday. Not only slow to change but resistant to new things like rearranging the furniture or moving to a new place. While my wife loves and embraces opportunities to adapt, she has had to endure the arduous task of patiently waiting for me. During that first argument, I wanted something different, and I wanted it fast. But quick answers don’t always produce the results that God desires.
Our generation is used to immediate responses to our wishes. We spend many hours of the day working online and are accustomed to seeing things advance quickly. So when it takes days, or months or in some cases, years for a shift in our spouses in real life, we can feel annoyed, irritated, disillusioned or just simply impatient. But real change, God’s kind of change does indeed take time.
As my wife has had to stall many of her ambitions to reach her hand backward for me to catch up and grab hold of it, I’ve learned what love is. Love is patient. And as we continue to grow together I look forward to allowing God to show me more and more each day the very best ways to keep growing in this, together.
Patience I have. As the last born daughter in a family of 10, mother of 6 and wife to 1 amazing man, patience is a way of life. I think that I’ve always had a patient streak, cultivated early on by default of my birth order. God must have known that I would need it for the life that He would give me, but kindness? Well, that is another issue all-together.
That very first argument over the warm, cozy towel was indicative of who we are. Though I responded by finding a towel (and even in the subsequent years buying him a towel warmer) my actions were certainly more honorable than my thoughts.
“A warm towel - seriously?” I thought “Who does this guy think he is? Why is he fussing over this nonsense when I am in the middle of…”
You can imagine the rest. In some regards, actions speak louder than words, but the Word of God tells us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The complaints of my heart became the unkind words in my mind and would eventually spill out into what I said and how I responded to my husband.
But just as he has learned patience through my actions, I have learned kindness through his. Obviously, greater concerns have arisen than that of a wet towel in the last 17 years. But time after time I am amazed at his ability to temper his words with kindness. To show restraint before responding. I see my husband make the simple yet effective choice to love. To share a kind encouragement, smile, or affection instead of the harsh words that I know he has the right to give. And because of his actions towards me, I find that kindness is becoming more and more of my thing too.
Now, when I exhibit an act of patience, the contrary murmuring in my heart isn’t quite as loud, or quite as often, or quite as sharp. My spirit quiets my restless sinful soul and reminds it over and over again of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. I am reminded by his example that it is not just enough to exhibit patience. I am reminded that tender kindness of the heart is essential to making that patient act a Christ-like one too. And I am grateful that together we work towards completing this first requirement of love.
It is patient, yes.
And kind, Amen!