Larry and I recently celebrated our 57th wedding anniversary. As we sat having breakfast over-looking a beautiful blue ocean with clear blue skies up above, I asked Larry: “What one factor has contributed to our long-term relationship of 57 years?” He immediately said, “Forbearance.” I was a little shocked. I expected him to say; “We are best friends,” or “We communicate well,” or “We make each other smile,” but I didn’t expect him to say “forbearance.”
Now, I know Larry has an interesting sense of humor (which sometimes I do not appreciate.) And I knew Larry was trying to be funny, but his comment led me to do a little research: I found these words describing “forbearance:” self-control, tolerance, patient, and endurance.
While researching, I learned from a pastor that forbearance in a marriage or relationship is being a gracious overlooker of those traits in another that annoy you but are probably not going to change or change quickly.
So, I’ve been thinking about how the “living” of this word has contributed to the longevity of my marriage. It means that when viewing your partner, you realize that he or she is not perfect. At times she or he is really going to irritate you. Perhaps forbearance means that you acknowledge that your partner has more pluses than minuses, and so you try to overlook the lesser irritations.
Yes, Larry and I have been married 57 years, but. . . that doesn’t mean we have it all figured out. A partnership, whether it’s 57 days or years, requires work. Thank you, Larry, for your loving forbearance. I’m so glad it’s been 57 years and I hope that we journey together (with forbearance, if needed!) for many more years to come.