I’m sure Mark and I aren’t the only couple that sometimes struggles with impatience. At least, I hope not! Mark readily admits that patience is not one of his strengths, and I certainly have my own struggles with frustration, usually when I’m busy and over-tired (like, I admit, today). When things don’t go according to plan, your spouse doesn’t act in the way you expect, and the kids are being crazy, falling into impatience is a common response. But just because impatience is common doesn’t make it okay, especially when it means lashing out at your spouse!
We had to learn how to control our impatience the hard way–years of trial and error!
1. Understand what triggers impatience
While there are some obvious triggers like being too busy, not having enough rest, or not feeling well, there are more subtle triggers, as well. One of the triggers in our marriage is a disconnect in our styles of communication. My husband is Mr. Wordsmith, carefully crafting his thoughts before speaking them. Meanwhile, I just blurt out whatever is on my mind, often not really thinking through my words. This can cause us both to become impatient, because we feel like we’re not on the same page when we’re trying to talk.
2. Recognize when you start feeling impatient
It’s so important to stop a small frustration before it turns into an outburst. There is usually some buildup, so learn to recognize when you’re starting to feel impatient and take steps to calm down. During this period, it is important to remember what not to say to your spouse.
3. Realize you aren’t in control
This is a big one. At the end of the day, impatience usually boils down to not having control in the way you believe you should, even subconsciously. If you can step outside of the moment, remind yourself that it’s okay if things aren’t going according to plan because plans often go awry and you aren’t in control. Giving up an attempt to control circumstances will go a long way toward helping you develop greater patience.
Listen to the full podcast here if you want more help learning to practice patience in your marriage.