How To Be More Patient In A Relationship

Paul: Vicki, you have got to know some stuff about how to be patient in a relationship. You've been living with me for how long? You know, when we don't feel patient, it's because of a violation. A violation of an expectation, that makes sense?

Vicki: Yeah. Whether expressed or not expressed. Even realized.

Paul: This is one of the benefits of metacognition. When you can think about your thinking. And back off from and say, “Okay, why am I feeling impatient?” There are 2 elements actually. One is a violation of an expectation, you expect it to go a certain way and it didn't and so you're feeling a little tipped over. And the other is a connection to timing.

Vicki: Timing is a big one.

Paul: Which is really part of the definition of being patient, is that you disconnect yourself from the timing of any particular thing happening. That's also an extension of the expectation because you expecting it to take x number of days or whatever.

Vicki: Exactly. You know, you say it's because of an expectation, but it's not wrong to expect things though, right?

Paul: Right. You're not wrong for doing it.

Vicki: What we are saying is become aware that maybe you're expecting something to go a certain way or to fall within a certain time parameter and that's part of why you're feeling this impatience.

Paul: We're not here to tell you to stop having expectation. We just want you to see that you are having the expectation and that's contributing to your feeling of impatience. So, how do we address that? Now, thinking about the expectations and the timing element that leads us into a strategy that could help you to have more patience in the relationship. Let's start with the expectation. Do you have to expect what you are expecting? Is that a weird question?

Vicki: Yeah. Well, you don't have to expect the exact thing. You're expecting you're going to have some type of an expectation, right?

Paul: This is why we wanted to call your attention to it because it sounds weird when I say, “Do you have to expect that?” And you stop and you're like, “Okay. Well, I guess I don't.” And then you get to take an honest look at it. “I've been expecting my spouse to…” whatever. The other tool… Do you remember when we were listening to Brené Brown on Netflix and she talked about “Well, the story in my mind is…”

Vicki: I really like the way she approaches that. She says, go to the person that you trust, obviously, we're talking about a relationship with someone you trust and you say, “When this is happening, the story I'm telling myself is (fill in the blank).” And that kind of opens up what your expectations are. You might find out that your partner had absolutely no clue that's where you were going to go with it.

Paul: Tying it to a story helps you to see more clearly what your expectation is. And then you may or may not adjust it. My point is you can adjust your expectation. But you can't even do that until you're aware that you have it. So, there's different levels that were approaching here. Now, let's look at the timing piece.

Vicki: This is so hard because we live in a world where everything is supposed to happen right now right away.

Paul: And paradoxically, the solution here is to remain in the now. Because right now everything's cool. Right now, we're good. If you're feeling anxious, it's because you're tying your expectation to something that should happen in the future. And you're afraid that it's not going to. Or if you're feeling disappointed it's because you think something should have happened in the past but it hasn't. When you come to the now… Just connect with that for a minute. Do you have enough, whatever right now? Do you have an enough air? Well, yeah. I mean that seems ridiculous, right? Do you have enough food? Even if you're hungry, do you have enough right now? And if you're worried, “Well, if I don't get something to eat soon, I'm going to be starving.” Well, that's the future. Come back to the now. “Yeah, I'm okay right now. But I want to get some food soon”, okay? –

Vicki: In a relationship you can stay in the now too. Even though I may be frustrated because I was expecting you to spend more time with me when I got home and you didn't, well, that was my expectation. But in the moment is your present.

Paul: Yes. Present. I love that word, Vicki, because it has multiple meanings in the English language. It means here in this place. So, I can be physically present with you. It means now in this time and it means gift. Because present is something you give to someone for their birthday. Right? It's really a gift to be here and now with a person. For example, we're going to a restaurant a little later today. We like to give ourselves a little reward for spending some time with you on the camera, and so we are going out for dinner. I've seen so many people at a restaurant who are physically in the same place, but they are not mentally in the same place because they're scrolling through their phone or they are texting someone else. What if you were to just put that aside and be here and now. This is the remedy for the time problem. You can be present and that helps you to adjust your expectation and brings you to the now and it increases your patience.

Vicki: You know, there's the word accept and it is different from expect. So, obviously you have an expectation. Once you recognize your expectation, you can accept what the other person gave you. Whether it's their time, their behavior.

Paul: Their presence.

Vicki: Accept at that moment and truly come to understand that people are doing the best they can at the moment.

Paul: And with what they know, what they have.

Vicki: As you come as you pull off on some of the impatience, it puts you in a place to maybe be able to say, “You know, here's how I'm reacting. Here's what I was thinking.” And you can learn some things. But I have a great quote from Maya Angelou that I love to share.

Paul: Oh, I think I know are you going.

Vicki: Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I think just giving people the benefit of the doubt that they are doing the best that they can would be so calming. Honestly, wouldn't you do better if you actually knew better? And so, as you know more and you share with someone you can come out of the impatience so that you can kind of teach and train each other and then you'll do better.

Paul: There are great resources at Live On Purpose TV on YouTube, check us out there and in fact, you might want to watch the video: “How to build a healthy relationship?”