Patience, Relationships & Divorce

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Patience is a Virtue” most of your life. Patience is something that people generally seem to struggle with. We have all lost our patience in situations that have probably caused other people problems, just as we have ourselves have likely been the victims of other peoples’ impatience. Being more in touch with our own emotions and understanding what is causing a lack of patience can give us the tools to train ourselves to be more a more patient, and likely a more fulfilled, person as a result.

Types of Patience

The article refers to three types of patience; while you may see some overlap between the three in your own life and experience, identifying what type of patience is required is a good first step.

  1. Interpersonal Patience –
    People and relationships require patience. This may be the most apt type of patience when discussing divorce and relationships. It takes patience to change, and it takes patience to ask for other people to change as well. Patience is truly the currency of a strong and healthy relationship. If you find yourself losing your patience with a spouse or loved one, think of the times that they have had patience with you.
  2. Life Hardships –
    When faced with hardships in life, simply getting out of bed or getting through the day can seem like an insurmountable challenge. When we face difficulties, we need patience to remind ourselves that the strength to go on and work towards a better life comes one day at a time. A death in the family, a divorce, or any other major event requires both the patience to work and grow through the emotional challenges, but also being patience with this process, which can feel very slow.
  3. Daily Hassles –
    Tiny annoyances can feel enormous when we are under stress. From your phone not working to not being able to remember where your keys are to a phone call from your parents; the tiniest things seem to set us off on certain days. This can make it challenging to even identify when and how you need to focus on patience because it feels like “everything is driving me crazy”

Identify & Understand Triggers

When we “lose our patience” it’s usually our “Fight or Flight” response coming into play. The feeling is caused by the chemical in our brain that is the “fight” element of our “fight or flight” response. This chemical, or rather when it’s released is extremely simple and does not have the ability to distinguish between a minor annoyance and actual danger. That means the that becoming bothered by standing in line can release the chemical that would be triggered by realizing you are on a plane that’s about to crash or are about to be attacked by a bear. The key is identifying when you feel this way and identifying the situation that triggered the feeling.

Interrupt the Cycle – Evaluate the Risk

Once you have identified something that has caused you to lose your patience, think back to it when you are calm. Were you in any danger? If you were upset by waiting in a line, how much time did it really take from your day? Was the stress actually rooted in you not leaving the house as early as you should have? You were distressed – your brain was releasing a chemical indicating you were in danger – was there really any danger? Most of the time, there was not.

Train. Don’t “Try”

It’s easy to say that you’ll TRY to be more patient, but the article suggests that we need to make a conscious effort to train ourselves to be more patient. There is almost no situation where losing your patience is beneficial, and while you want to be assertive when you need to and hold others accountable, losing your patience is hardly ever the appropriate way to do so. Challenge yourself to be more patient, and when you are not, make note of it so that you can be more aware, and hopefully train your brain to be more patient in the future.

Patience in the Divorce Process

As a divorce lawyer, I talk to people about patience a lot. There are cases where a marriage can be saved, either through more patience with your spouse, or the collective patience of both spouses to work through counseling or therapy together. If you have decided that divorce is the best course of action, you will still need to be long on patience as the process can be long and challenging. Wherever you are in the process, I hope to be a guide and help you work towards the best possible outcome. Contact me for more information.