Used to be that when I heard the phrase “equally yoked,” I didn’t hear any patience undertones. I do now, and I’m not just thinking of all the time you spend waiting for me to finish in the bathroom. We’re approaching 14 years of marriage, and we’ve both discovered just how much work it takes to remain side by side, headed in the same direction, pulling together.
Our marriage isn’t perfect. Our faith journeys have diverged, and it isn’t comfortable or easy or pleasant. We’re still walking it out on unfamiliar terrain without a map.
This place we’re in needs waiting. It takes every ounce of patience we can muster and more. My prayers are filled with pleas for help, direction, and patience. Will we find our way closer together again or will we stay akimbo? How long til we know? What do we do in the waiting? What if our paths remain apart?
You’ve shared your frustration and discouragement with me, and your questions and fears for the future. I am no different. The waiting, the uncertainty, the sense of spiritual homelessness… it is miserable.
I think our instinct not to force anything is right. Me pushing you or you pushing me would lead to drawing lines in sand, violated consciences, soul wounds, and that marriage-murdering poison called bitterness.
In the meantime, we both find ourselves stuck, unable to do what we’re used to doing, and unable to see a way forward…yet. But I could never ask you to violate your conscience, and I cannot violate mine either. So we wait. We talk long and lean into the discomfort. We love each other as hard as we can. We find and celebrate and bask in the places where our paths converge.
Spiritual journeys take time. All change takes time. I remind myself of that often, especially on days like today when the strain begins to wear on us. I hope you know that I am your biggest fan, no matter what.
While our feet find different footing, we stumble and trip and wobble, trying to learn new steps to stay together. No-one talks about how to agree to disagree with the person you love most, when both of you believe so strongly but so differently.
I know I can be cynical, but today I choose hope. I believe that we’ll find a way through. I believe that a path forward lies just ahead if we’re patient and keep looking. When we find it, maybe we can write a book together. We do write together well.
I love you. That I do know. Wait for me, ok? I’ll be right here.
On Mondays, Scott (don’t miss his letter this week) and I join Seth and Amber as they fight the good fight for their marriage where we can all see. They call this weekly series “Marriage Letters” and pray that it encourages each of us in our own hard work of marriage. This week our topic is patience. You can join us any time with your own letter to your spouse, whether you both write or blog or not. Amber hosts a link-up on her blog, so we hope you’ll share your letter there!
How have you had to practice patience in your marriage?