Learn to Put Up With a Few Things!

Last week, I had my mom and dad over for supper. I mentioned to them that we should start thinking about how to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, which is coming up next spring. "Sixty years!" my mom exclaimed, turning to my dad and giving him an affectionate hug. "Imagine that. You've put up with me for 60 years!"
Laughing, she turned to my sons and advised them, "If you're going to be married for 60 years, you have to learn to put up with a few things!"
She's right. The Bible calls it forbearance. And it's an ingredient that's sadly lacking in a lot of marriages. Forbearance is an old-fashioned kind of word. It means toleration, gentleness, leniency, patience, or refraining from the enforcement of a right or obligation that is due. Related words are courtesy, clemency, mercy, indulgence, restraint, and temperance. Forbearance is the opposite of being judgmental, vindictive, and paying back tit-for-tat. The literal meaning of forbearance is "holding back." In classical Greek, it is used of a truce of arms.
Forbearance means that when my husband does or says something that I don't particularly like, I don't snip back at him. Instead, I cut him some slack, give him grace, and overlook the behavior.  I am kind and courteous toward him, even when he is being grumpy. Forbearance means having a soft spirit and a soft tongue. The Bible teaches that this will get us a whole lot further than impatience. It says, "By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue breaks the bone" (Prov. 25:15).
 In Titus 3:2, Paul instructs us to speak evil of no one, avoid quarreling, be gentle, and show perfect courtesy (forbearance) toward all people. Have you ever noticed that women can have a wheelbarrel-full of "softness" and courtesy toward outsiders, but when it comes to interacting with their husbands, forbearance is a trait they sadly lack?
So there you have it girls—sage wisdom from my mama's 60 years of marriage experience: To make your marriage work, learn to put up with a few things! Learn how to forbear. Learn how to respond with a soft spirit and a soft tongue.
Why don't you try it? Be courteous and soft toward your husband, even if he doesn't particularly deserve it. How do you think he'll respond? How do you respond when others are courteous and soft toward you? Can you think of any instance when your forbearance has "persuaded a ruler" and a soft tongue has "broken the bone"?

About the Author

Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian is an award-winning author, an internationally renowned speaker, and a frequent guest on Revive Our Hearts. She has written more than a dozen books and Bible studies including Conversation Peace and The Right Kind of Strong. … read more …

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