Patience Marathon

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I remember a few years ago I had set a goal for myself to complete a marathon.  In order to reach this goal I knew it would take sacrifice, commitment, and discipline.  After training for one month, I felt I was ready and tried to do a long run equaling the distance of a marathon. 

Was I able to do it?  Of course not!  I actually did more harm to my body than helping it.  In our family lives, how often do we try to find shortcuts to the marathon of marriage and parenting?  Below are three tips on how to improve your marriage and parenting.

1.      Accept where the other person is before you try to change them.  Your children and spouse are not the same person as you.  If you try to change anyone too quickly you will continuously meet obstacles that create distance.  Changing individuals takes maturity and a conscious decision of the other person.  Don't try to create the ideal family according to your expectations, but try to create the ideal parent/spouse in yourself for your family.

2.      You can't always change others, but you can change your way of thinking about situations.  So many times individuals will get upset at events that occur, but very few have the maturity to admit how they contributed to the situation and not just the other person's faults.  As a parent or guardian you are one of the biggest influences on your children. 

As a spouse you are one of the biggest influences on your partner.  If this is true, can you really be completely independent of family situations?  Learn to point the finger at yourself first and then discuss the challenge with the rest of the family.

3.      Patience is a virtue.  A family is something to be cherished.  Underneath all the new discoveries of living together you will find the real treasure of patience.  Patience is valuable because by using it you will gain maturity, experience, and stronger commitment. 

Don't try to run a marathon when your mind, body, and spirit are not properly trained. A family is a large boat that needs time to turn around.  It is not a speedboat that can be turned around almost within an instant.  Learn to accept patience and not just seek instant gratification.

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