How long is long suffering?
Suffering is allowing hardship, pain or a distressing situation, but how much suffering should one allow before the line is drawn? Patiently tolerating suffering is considered long suffering. I cannot help thinking of longsuffering in relationships, especially in marriage, where it is not uncommon for one spouse to be more tolerant than the other, and enduring hardship for what may be considered an unduly prolonged period. Where and when is suffering long enough and a line need be drawn?
When the purpose of an object, person, relationship or anything is not defined, abuse is often inevitable! The challenge therefore, not uncommonly in relationships, is boundaries not being defined or ill-defined. An employee’s duties is clarified in a contract to avoid abuse and/or exploitation by either party. Any relationship that will stand the test of time needs clear boundaries to ensure mutual respect and avoid abuse in any form, no matter how sweetly packaged.
Respect recognises every one has weaknesses, we are all work in progress’ striving to be better as best we know. Mutual respect therefore makes allowance for the other’s weakness, whilst encouraging the areas of strength. Tolerating weakness should however not be to the extent of allowing abuse, and detrimental acts to anyone’s well being. Leslie Vernick gives deep insight on boundaries in relationships and drawing the line between long suffering, healthy tolerance and abuse.