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This is a real conversation between Mr. FAF and me a while back:
[Mr. FAF messaged me at work.]
Mr. FAF: There’s an event this Saturday. Do you want to go?
Me: What event?
Mr. FAF: [His company’s name]
Me: Really? What event?
Mr. FAF: Company celebration 2017
Me: I mean what are they going to do at the event? Any free food? What time? Location?
Mr. FAF: [Physical address of the place where the event will take place]. I think so.
Me: What are they going to do? Music, dance or potluck? Can you just copy and paste the invite in here? What time?
Mr. FAF: It’s internal.
[1 more minute went by]
Me: What are they gonna do at the event? Any free food? What time? Location? I’m asking a very simple question: What is that event? You sent 5 messages, and I still have no idea what it is. This is a communication problem. When I ask a question,
I expect a direct answer.
Mr. FAF: Food. No idea what they are gonna do.
Me: What time?
Mr. FAF: 12-3
Me: Ok let’s go.
If you can’t tell already, I lost my patience and my temper in that 3-minute chat with Mr. FAF. And no, it’s not because we weren’t talking in person. This type of conversation has happened multiple times in our marriage.
I would ask Mr. FAF a very simple question, to which he won’t answer directly or won’t answer at all because he assumes the logic is there, so I should know the answer already. But I don’t. And that’s why I’m asking him.
As a married couple, we should be able to communicate without any or much trouble. But sometimes I feel like I have to fight with Mr. FAF to get more information from him, which is frustrating.
And that’s when I realized we have an issue in our marriage. Mr. FAF is not good at communicating, and I am impatient.
Today, I will focus one of my biggest weaknesses that I’m trying to improve: Impatience.
What is impatience?
When someone is impatient, they are “not willing to wait for something to happen and becoming annoyed at delays,” according to Cambridge Dictionary.
The main problem with impatient people is that they want something to take place immediately and don’t want to spend time waiting for the outcome. And that definition fits me perfectly in both positive and negative ways.
1. Efficiency at work
One huge positive impatience has on my behavior is that I want to maximize my productivity in a certain period of time whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour.
Sometimes I’m just exhausted and don’t care about productivity. But most of the time, I want to keep track of what I have accomplished (i.e. finishing a task at work, writing a post, doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen) in a certain period of time.
It makes me feel productive and happy. I am known at work for getting things done fast while not compromising the quality. There are cases where I act a bit hastily and should have consulted with other people on the teams before taking action.
But in general, my bosses (yes, I have multiple bosses at work) and co-workers are pleased with the speed at which I proceed. And that’s because my motto has always been “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
Over the past 30 years of my life, I have never pulled an all-nighter. I am paranoid about falling behind the deadlines. And it’s also because I just can’t get anything done when I don’t get any sleep.
When given school work or a job assignment that we don’t like, some people choose to put it off until the last minute. For me, I try to finish it as fast as I can so that I don’t have to think about it anymore. And I try to do it well so that I won’t have to do it again.
Related: 6 Tips On How To Be Productive
2. Paying off debt fast
When I have a debt under my belt, I want to pay it off fast. I once paid off $14,500 of student loans which came as part of my financial aid package after 4 years of being a graduate student living slightly above the poverty line.
Getting rid of that student loans motivated me to live on a bare bone budget and prevent me from many unnecessary splurges. Mr. FAF and I have no consumer debt. And I am just itching to pay off the mortgage on our primary residence.
Impatience has also caused 3 major headaches in my daily life.
1. Detrimental to my marriage
I fully understand that no one wants to have an irritable spouse who can blow up at any time of the day. Yet, I have to admit that I am that spouse.
The conversation in the intro of this post is a prime example. Mr. FAF wasn’t communicating his plan well. But I was just so eager to get his answers to all of my questions that I couldn’t wait for him to complete his thoughts or cobble together his piecemeal responses.
I wanted all of the answers in one sentence sent in one message, not two or five of them. I felt like I spent 4 whole minutes of my life trying to get the information that Mr. FAF could easily give me in 10 seconds. That, to me, was a waste of time and efficiency.
As his wife, I shouldn’t have to go back and forth with him so many times just to learn more about a social event. We have more important decisions to make in our marriage.
Yet, I just couldn’t proceed without knowing the full picture of what it was that we might possibly spend hours on on a Saturday. I wanted to know, and I wanted to know fast. That ensued, however, was a feeling of guilt and loss of efficiency.
Related: Are House Repairs Bad For Marriage?
2. Losing productivity
After I said “Ok, let’s go.” I just assumed that Mr. FAF was mad at me. He didn’t respond back, so I kept checking to see if he had sent me any new messages. I could apologize for losing my temper, but I was too proud to do that. I didn’t want to admit that I was wrong and have him use it against me in our next argument.
I could have asked him if he was mad, but I didn’t want to suggest that it was ok for him to be mad at me. Instead, I just waited for him to say something and couldn’t stay focused on my work.
By getting impatient, I wasted the next 5 minutes of my life worrying about my marriage. Mr. FAF soon messaged me back with a totally random story. It was a sign that he wasn’t mad, so I moved on with my life.
And later on, that incident served as an impetus for this post.
Related: The Costs Of Marital Conflict
3. Ruining the fun
Mr. FAF is a forgetful man. When we first started dating, Mr. FAF asked me these questions multiple times on a daily basis: Have you seen my glasses? Can you find my glasses for me?
It went on for months until I could no longer take it and told him I was done looking for his glasses, and that he should try to find them himself. Besides the glasses, he would constantly look for his wallet and his phone.
One time, Mr. FAF spent half an hour looking for his phone and later realized that he was holding it in his hand (?!). If you don’t think that’s a waste of time, then I don’t know what is.
What is frustrating is that he would often try to involve me in some of those “treasure” hunts in which I unwillingly had to participate.
Oftentimes when we’re about to head out for a family activity, Mr. FAF would delay our trip at least 15 minutes by trying to locate his wallet or car key.
While I try to find them for him, part of me gets infuriated at how disorganized and forgetful he is. My excitement for the fun trip by now has gone down by 50%.
Related: 6 Tips On How To Be Productive
What I have patience for
Despite categorizing myself as impatient, there are in fact many aspects in life that I have a lot of patience for.
I am very patient when it comes to saving and investing money. I’m happy to save 1 cent, 5 cents, and even a dollar and see the total amount accumulate overtime.
I don’t believe in get-rich-quick schemes. Anything that sounds too good to be true is probably not true (i.e. hitting a jackpot, becoming a real estate mogul overnight).
Related: How To Save Money With Substitutes
2. Problem solving
I also have a lot of patience when trying to solve my problems.
For example, when I was troubleshooting a technical issue with MailChimp, I spent more than 10 hours researching the problem and how to tackle it.
I only gave up when I realized that I had spent a huge amount of time on the problem without getting my results.
3. Building relationships
I personally don’t believe in flings and short-term relationships since I consider them to be a waste of time.
If there’s no future, why bother to get involved with someone in the first place? If I want to get serious with someone, I will spend sufficient time trying to get to know them.
One time Mr. FAF did something great for the whole family. I asked him what I could do to reward him. He responded with three words: “Control your temper.”
I was both happy and guilty when I heard that. I was happy because his wish was so simple and didn’t cost any money. But I was guilty because it’s something I still can’t do successfully although it seems so simple.
Mr. FAF definitely has some weaknesses he can improve upon. But I know that it’s not an excuse for me no to do anything about mine. After I got married and especially after I had our son, I’ve found temper to get worse.
I’m not sure if it’s the stress of building a family or if it’s something I just let happen. I think since Mr. FAF is now my other half, I want to get him on the same page as I am: do things fast and don’t waste time.
But I need to understand that we are two different individuals with two different personalities and two career trajectories. There are things that I do that Mr. FAF is not good at such as communication.
But there are also lots of things Mr. FAF is good at that I’m not such as coding. I have no idea to code anything even if someone gives me a $1 million dollars as a reward for coding on the spot.
I am writing this post to express my thoughts and also as a reminder to myself that being impatient with my spouse is not good. That I should find more constructive ways to express my feelings rather than getting angry at Mr. FAF.