Every Monday, Amber and I join Joy and Scott Bennett in writing Marriage Letters. It is an effort to encourage other married couples to fight the good fight, to do the hard work. Did you write one this week? Visit Amber’s blog to link it. This week's topic--Patience.
"Love is patient..." ~1 Cor. 13:4
"Love is patient." That's what the scripture says. And before marriage, perhaps we had some vague notion of what that meant. It was a conceptual notion, though, with no roots in life-narrative.
We've had our dark days, and I won't recount those here. But through the struggle, I learned the look of patient love. It digs deep roots, stands firm like a Louisiana live oak. It's slow and long, provides shade for sinners and grace for community. Patient love understands that brokenness is all-afflicting, recognizes the sickness in self. I think patient love is humble.
I've learned all of this from you. But we've also seen the truth in the narrative of our friends. The couple who lost their child a few years back. They clung tight during the dark days. The woman with a stranglehold on hope while her husband exercised his wanderlust. The old-timer who suffered joyfully through the cancer bout with his wife. These are our saints.
These days, marriages are falling like Bruce Lee victims. We're watching them bleed out, watching them succumb to divorce, affairs, apathy. They tell us that we don't understand, that they're not happy, they're not in love, or that there are trust issues. We watch them broken-hearted and beg them to be patient, to seek wise counsel, to hang in there. Some do. Some don't. It's the way of our world, I suppose.
I wish we could convince them that patient love is sanctifying, that it has the power to save a soul. I wish I could convince them that patience is more than a virtue; it is vital. And maybe there's no guaranty that patience cures all, but at least it's worth a try.
Thank you for bearing with me. I suppose it takes a special woman for that task. If I knew I was marrying a saint all of those years ago, I might have been a bit more grateful along the way. But even in that, you've been pretty patient. And for that I say...
You are still my best,