Patience in a Relationship: Why Waiting On Change is Hard


Patience in a Relationship: Why Waiting On Change is Hard

Patience in a relationship isn’t always easy to come by. When our partner does things we dislike, we ask them to change. Change takes time, and the wait can be hard.

Patience in a Relationship Can Be Hard, Even When You Know Your Partner Will Get There Eventually

It's hard having patience in a relationship, because we want things to improve NOW.

I was visiting a friend recently and she just got a puppy. The dog is about four months old and is full of puppy energy. My friend was apologetic because the puppy was not well behaved. I thought to myself, “Of course this puppy is not well behaved. She’s still a little baby!”

Her frustration was evident. Even though she is a very good trainer, the dog was still not following her directions. I observed this situation and I understood that this animal would grow into the well-trained dog that she wants, but it will take time.

When We Suffer Every Day, It’s a Struggle to Stay Patient With Our Relationship

And maybe that’s what we all suffer from when we wait for things to change in our relationships. As I work with couples they tell me about the difficulties that they encounter and by the time they come in for counseling they are often times at the end of their ropes and they don’t have any more room to wait.

Kind of like my friend with her dog. I have a long view that eventually the dog will grow into himself and become well-trained. But when she has been living with him and his wild puppy energy, she can’t hold on to “some day.” She wants the “some day” to happen right now.

Anticipation Makes It Harder to Have Patience in a Relationship

Patience in a relationship is hard when you're anticipating change.

And isn’t that how we all are really? When something isn’t going right in our relationships don’t we want things to change for the better and we want that change to happen immediately. It’s so hard to hold the long view that a lot of things just take some more time.

And we might not be very different from that puppy either. When we get an idea to try something new, which is what can happen in counseling, the idea first gets introduced to our head. We think about this new idea and we might have a feeling that if we tried this new behavior or way of speaking we could change the situation and feel better.

But our habit has been something else entirely. We have been doing something for a long time that hasn’t work. So when we hear of something new we first think “Hey that could be better.” But that’s just the first step. When the situation arises where that new behavior or way of speaking is supposed to take place, it often doesn’t. It doesn’t, because we are stuck in our old habit.

Relationships Need Us to Take the Long View and Be Patient

This is where each partner needs to grow the long view. Change will happen. It happens to all of us, because this is the way changes occur, a little at a time.

So in relationships we might have to remember this long view, it will get better, even if we want it to be different right away. The behaviors can improve. And that puppy will likely grow up too.


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