What is in it for me?

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Do you ever wonder what the purpose of marriage is? Do you and your spouse sometimes wonder how other couples seem to have it easy, while you struggle to keep your relationship afloat? How about wondering if you will ever grow old together if both of you are blessed with a long healthy life? Is it an option or a possibility? Let us explore these questions together.

Today morning, after mass, I walked into a lady friend of mine who was celebrating their 58th wedding anniversary. Her husband is always busy at our church and he barely has time to salute anyone. I congratulated her on such a milestone, I asked her for a manual on how she and her husband navigated the ship. Her answers left me thinking deep and sincerely reflecting on my life. She answered, “The manual is very simple. As Bill and I got married and lived together, we had very many stones. I did not throw the pebbles away but instead kept them. As time went by, the pebbles turned into gems! I am grateful for every small pebble that was initially uncomfortable under my feet because it is now precious gems for me to wear and share.”

Fifty-eight years of collecting pebbles is not a short time by any means. But my friend has learned to turn the pebbles into gems. I thought, “so, if I don’t have pebbles, I will have no gems at the end of the day…"

Alas!! I always learn something new each day. What makes me uncomfortable today, can be a nudge to change my attitude, my viewpoint, my thought processes from negative to positive, and make gems out of it.

Inevitably, relationships will always have challenges, and if handled well, something better will always come out it. Pebbles will not turn to gems if you think selfishly, vengefully and devoid of love. It takes both parties to work to do this magic. She added, “ If you are going through a tough time, which you will, you might as well learn something from it anyway.” I also asked her, what she used to do this magic. “Patience,” she answered. It takes a lot of patience for yourself and your spouse. Without patience, it is impossible to get anything done. I got myself thinking, No wonder the divorce rates are through the roof!! We lack this virtue. We are the microwave generation, where everything is pre-packaged for us and we take the shortest time to cook it, without even turning on the stove!!! We shop online, date online, flirt online… We are so visually stimulated that other senses have been numbed. We want to date the prettiest or the most handsome of them all, the richest of them all, the sexiest of them all, just for selfish and lustful reasons.

It takes a lot of courage and patience to understand your partner, love your partner for who he/she is, to teach each other what we most desire and how, to patiently wait for them to understand us, as we go through a myriad of physical, emotional and mental changes. The “what's in it for me” is so overrated and abused. Marriage is all about “What’s in it for us.”

Patience keeps the love flame from burning out. Patience keeps our rages in check. Patience fans the flame of romance and friendship. Patience helps in achieving the goals you set out to do as a couple. Patience is the antidote of the instant gratification which is much sought after. Patience is the anti-selfishness, ‘anti-what’s-in-it-for-me’. I must admit, that this virtue is one I desire very much. I am not the patient type, especially with my beloved ones. I am always working at it. I am a deeply loving, very faithful and loyal wife and mother, but when my patience is tested, I instantly bring down the castle I have been building. This is why I never stop praying for myself and those around me. I am a work in progress. I also expect too much from myself and those around me ( for selfish reasons, of course). I am now learning to let each person be themselves and to let them do the best they can, without me being the center of it all. To be patient with those I love. How about you? What is your working point? How do you make it through it? How do you repair the damage you cause in your relationship? I would like to know. Let us discuss this below.

To a more patient, loving relationship


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