Being impatient is part of being human. But in some areas of our lives, especially when it comes to things we’re working hard to accomplish, impatience can seem to become almost unbearable at times. Dating and the search for a spouse can be an area like this.
Maybe you’re still coming up short after putting together your online dating profile and meeting people off the screen. When you still feel like you’re in the same place you were a few years ago, impatience can start to take over.
If you’re finding yourself overcome with impatience in your search for a spouse, here are three things to consider that might make the wait and the work just a little more bearable.
1. You can only control your efforts, not the results
All of us need to come to grips with the fact that we cannot control all the results of what we put work into. This can be particularly difficult for more type A, control-oriented personalities to grasp.
Perhaps you’re hoping to find that someone special. You even have a plan for how you can make the search more successful. Plans are great. But remember, there is definitely a possibility that it will not work out as simply as you hope.
Even after you do end up finding that life-mate to build a family with in the future, chances are that you will still end up with other areas of your life that you put great effort into for little to no results. Your married future could hold struggles with infertility, disappointing lack of advancement in your profession, or the inability to be financially stable in the way you envisioned.
But while all this might sound bleak, there is a real silver lining: learning to surrender the results of your efforts to God now will help you to bear anything like this in the future.
There’s a quote from Saint Therese of Lisieux to her sister Celine that can be really helpful in its application to situations in which we must put forth great effort but have very little or even no ability to decide the results of those efforts:
“Always lift up your little foot to mount the ladder… but do not imagine that you will be able to ascend even the first step!… Very soon, won over by your useless efforts, He will come down and take you in His arms. He will carry you up.”
It can be difficult to acknowledge that even our strongest efforts will not cause the results we want without God bringing those results about. But once we acknowledge that God is truly in control of the results, it can actually free us from the feelings of impatience, frustration, or even failure.
2. Don’t miss what is right in front of you
Marriage and family life are a good things. We know this. So any desire for this and any impatience we might have for it are not disordered or wrong at all. But don’t let a hyper focus on this desire keep you away from the good things in your life right now.
Single life has obvious drawbacks like loneliness and related problems. But a single season also allows for things like travel, a full night of sleep, or the ability to give time to worthy causes. Appreciating these advantages does not mean that you don’t want to be married. On the contrary, doing all you can to make the most of your single years might actually help you be a better spouse and parent in the future.
Don’t let your longing for the good of marriage and family life become all-consuming. You might miss out on the blessings found in this season of singleness.
3. It will be worth waiting for
It can feel like your years of being single and your efforts to find someone are dragging on forever. You might even feel at times that the heartache of failing in your efforts isn’t even worth it.
But a happy marriage is worth waiting and working for.
Think about any happily married couples you might know. Have you heard any of them complaining a lot about how difficult the search for their spouse was? Have you ever heard one of them say that their single years were such torture that they wouldn’t do it again? Probably not.
Will that pain totally go away? Not necessarily. But the heartache and trials will certainly fade and pale in comparison to the strength of the happy life you will have then.
So if you’re struggling with impatience for that happy marriage to come, try to remember that, like many good things in life, the blood, sweat, and tears it took you to get there will one day feel worth it to you.
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