As Christians, we’ve all heard the joke "never pray for patience, or you’ll get it." Ironically, our prayers sometimes come out sounding a little like this: "Hurry up, God, I need patience NOW." Nobody likes to wait. We prefer getting things quickly, and with each successive generation our tolerance for waiting seems to diminish. Take, for example, the coined phrased "microwave generation." We want what we want, and we want it as soon as possible. We don’t want our desires or dreams or goals to "bake" in the oven. We want to "nuke" our plans and get results immediately! That is the urgency people feel today, fueled by the media, propaganda, and plain selfishness from within.

Waiting for the Little Things

The vocation of marriage frustrates our natural hurriedness by forcing us to wait – a lot. You wait for your turn in the bathroom. You wait to use the sink to brush your teeth. You wait for your spouse to get home to eat dinner. You wait to use the phone. You wait for your turn to use the computer. You wait for them to finish getting ready so you can leave. It seems nothing is on your time or your schedule anymore – because life is no longer about you.

Everybody waits, but not everybody waits patiently or with grace. What makes patience so difficult? Patience stems from a deep level of unselfishness, something that doesn’t come naturally to most of us. As unnatural as selflessness may feel, being selfish in your marriage is a surefire way to cause problems. These everyday frustrations offer a wonderful opportunity to cultivate a selfless heart. Why not wait with a good attitude, since you’re going to have to wait anyway? When life throws an opportunity to wait at you, put a smile on your face and adopt a carefree expression in order to avoid an argument over something that is beyond your control anyway. "A harsh word stirs up anger, but a soft answer turns away wrath." Psalm 15:1. In time, these little opportunities to learn grace will strengthen your character when bigger challenges come along – and your spouse will thank you for it.

Waiting on Material Things

Not only do we find ourselves waiting on trivial, every day matters, but as married couples, we’re often waiting for our worldly dreams to come true. My husband has wanted a boat, a jet ski, a four wheeler, and a new truck ever since he was five years old! I personally would love to have a horse again, and a new house in the country with a private office for my writing – oh, and maybe a trip to Europe! But it doesn’t take long to learn that married life isn’t an automatic invitation to material wealth. Married life frequently brings on new responsibilities and expenses, and we find ourselves setting aside our childhood fantasies for the sake of the other.

Newlyweds in particular may struggle with tight funds the first few years and most of the things they want are simply not realistic purchases. It’s more important to pay the house note and put food on the table than it is to put money aside for a recreational vehicle. Paying your car insurance beats out purchasing new clothes, every time.

The good news: All this isn’t to say you’ll never have what you want. It’s a matter of time, and once again, patience. If you start saving now, you could buy a boat or horse several years down the road. God wants us to be good stewards of our money, and I believe that involves saving and planning. My husband started a separate savings account with his credit union about a year ago. A small percentage is deducted from his paycheck and automatically deposited into this account. We never see or touch the money, and it slowly builds up week after week. We pretend it’s not there, and have promised never to use it unless there is a real emergency. The purpose of the money is for us to take an extended vacation somewhere really fabulous in about three years. By then, the money will have built up, with no harm done to our budget, and we’ll have a nice trip together, all expenses paid.