"Better a patient man
than a warrior,
a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."
Restraint refers to the ability to control impulses. Where our normal tendency might be to vent anger, we can restrain that tendency by channeling anger into a useful purpose. For example, we can choose to say constructive instead of destructive words. Our ability to restrain tendencies is one of the qualities that sets us apart from animals. It's a key component in creating closeness.
Perhaps the power of patience is needed most in our tendency to express every feeling that surfaces. Let's look at the following responses typical in some marriages. In these conflicts, which response reflects your usual reaction?
Hair left in the sink
(A) Honey, I love your hair-but not when it's in the sink.
(B) Hey Pig Pen! You did it again! Can't you learn to clean up after
Snoring in the night
(A) Shut up! You sound like a Harley! I can't sleep!
(B) George, you're snoring! Please blow your nose and roll over on your side.
Late for an appointment
(A) Aren't you ready yet? You can't change what nature's given you. No one's going to look at you anyway! Let's go!
(B) Hey, the meeting starts at eight. I'd really like to get there on time. Can you be ready to leave at 7:15 as we agreed?
A public school teacher took a course on closeness that my wife and I were teaching. After hearing about the advantages provided by restraint, she wrote:
I have a terrible time switching roles from school to home. At work
I take charge, I teach, I delegate, I discipline, I supervise. When I