Patience is one of nine fruits of the Spirit listed by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22–23, all of which are essential for marriage. Patience sustains sacrificial love because it allows us to wait for God to move rather than demanding results on our timetable. Patience is imperative when our communication styles vary or we come from different ethnic backgrounds. Because transformation cannot be hurried along, patience also means committing to stay—in a difficult conversation and also in the difficult seasons of marriage.
Humor functions like Miracle-Gro for sacrificial love. It nourishes and strengthens our scrawny seedlings of love, allowing them to grow increasingly robust. Assuming that we don’t use humor as an escape from the hard work of growing and maturing, laughing at our limitations and mishaps helps us not to take ourselves too seriously.
It’s taken me a while, but I have gradually learned that finding humor in my profound limitations reduces their sting. The other morning, I could not help but laugh at myself when I woke up. I had earplugs in, an eye mask on, one pillow over my head, my pajamas on inside out so the seams wouldn’t irritate me, and a boot on to ease my plantar fasciitis. (It’s a good thing it’s still dark when Christopher wakes up!) If humor feels inaccessible, ask God to help you move in that direction. Then make a bowl of popcorn and watch Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, Carol Burnett, Gilda Radner, or Lucille Ball.
Dorothy Littell Greco is the author of Making Marriage Beautiful: Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start with You. She is a writer, speaker, and photographer. © 2017 Dorothy Greco. Making Marriage Beautiful: Lifelong Love, Joy, and Intimacy Start with You is published by David C Cook. All rights reserved. Used by permission.