Waiting for the person whom we will love into eternity can sometimes be daunting. At times, the longing can seem unbearable and impatience can set in. While being single can at times be difficult, this time in life can also be one filled with hope and important life lessons that lead to fruitful relationships.
During the meeting with families in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, Pope Francis reminded us that Christian marriage is built on love, mutual forgiveness, and patience.
There’s no better time than the present to grow in all three… especially patience.
We’ve all heard it said, “patience is a virtue” and as with any virtue, it grows within us through prayer and practice.
Father Pat Connor, author of the book “Whom Not to Marry” describes patience as a “valuable quality which allows us to wait for what we want, to understand that sometimes we have to look beyond the present moment to realize the satisfaction of true fulfillment. More than that, however, patience is the ability to wait without complaint for what we desire-and what we know in our heart we deserve.”
Patience, one of the basic principles of love, teaches us to love as Christ loves his bride the Church (Ep 5:25).
Here are a few more benefits of growing in patience during your single years:
1. No one is perfect… and that’s okay
We all dream of the perfect relationship but this is unrealistic. Even more unrealistic is the idea of the perfect spouse. We are all flawed and this is okay. As Father Pat writes, “Patience recognizes that often, not only is there space between what we want and what we get, but between who we are and who we want to be. That means that sometimes we’ve got to cut each other some slack.” This advice applies to any relationship, including the one we have with ourselves.
2. Patience Bears Fruit
During the meeting with families, Pope Francis met a couple who has been married for more than 50 years. In his speech, His Holiness said, “When I asked don Aniceto and his wife which of them showed more patience during these last 50 years, they replied, “Both of us, Father”. Because in order to get to the point they have reached after 50 years, you need patience, love, and mutual forgiveness.”
According to Father Pat, patience bears fruit in the form of endurance, staying power, tolerance, and persistence.
3. Trusting in God’s time.
Don’t let the wait discourage you. View this time as an investment in your relationship. “God readies us for our next steps,” says spiritual director and writer Becky Eldredge. Remember, nothing worthwhile is easy, and part of this process is about trusting God and his timing (Ec 3:1).
Despite what the word waiting suggests, being single doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive. Pray about your heart’s desire to enter into the Sacrament of Marriage. Pray for your future spouse. Pray for yourself. Cultivate your relationships with family and friends. Go out. Meet new people who share your interests and trust that God will reveal his plan for your life at the right time.
4. Commitment Takes Patience
Sadly, the divorce rate around the world seems to increase with each passing year. Society yearns for forever but lacks commitment. The idea of being “tied down” or losing freedom fills people with terror. Without patience, there is no commitment. Father Pat says, “And when it comes to marriage, patience is vital in helping you understand the complexities of committing your life to another person.” Remember, love is for better or for worse.
It’s also very important to be realistic about any relationship and pay attention to red flags or as Father Pat calls it, actions that lack a commitment. Know what you want in a relationship and what it is your heart deserves. Most people believe a relationship should be 50-50, but a lasting relationship requires 100-100 from both sides.
Want more ideas on how to find your soul mate? Check out 8 Ways to Find Your Soulmate.