Restraint


"Better a patient man

than a warrior,

a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."

Ancient Proverb

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

yourself ?

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.