All growth and change requires patience. A good gardener knows this. The weather is respected, the soil is prepared, the seeds are planted and nurtured – and the harvest will come. A gardener tends to the garden at each moment, and lets nature move at its own pace. That is patience.

In relating, patience is a vital part of growth and change. It is the ability to persevere and remain available when changes in a relationship don’t happen as quickly as you’d like. Over time, a fulfilling partnership reaps many harvests. Personal growth blossoms. Awareness and self-reflection deepen. True needs and wants are clarified and honored. Skills for healthy communication are developed. There is emotional healing and the realization of wholeness.

To expect everything to happen at once – on demand – is unrealistic. In nature, each living thing requires a period of time to blossom, mature, and ripen. Throughout this time, it needs to be nourished. Human development is like this, too. From the seeds of change to the fruits of manifestation, whether it’s personal growth or the growth of a relationship, ongoing patience is a necessity. The gardener continues to tend the garden through all kinds of weather.

Are there things that you would really like to change in your relationship? Having a desire for change is like having a seed. How you communicate about this desire with a partner prepares the soil – and makes all the difference in whether the seed will sprout. Since the weather is crucial to planting, be aware of your timing and sow your seeds with care. When and how you ask for a change determines what kind of response you’ll get. Nourish the seeds by communicating with respect. When you ask for something, be polite. Ask as if you’ve never asked before, even if you’ve asked many times! It takes many repetitions to learn new ways. Seeds will not be nourished by urgency or blame. Picking at them after they’ve been planted, to see if they’re taking root, damages their growth!

Give the process of growth all the time it needs. To repeat, growth requires patience. Patience is remaining steadfast, present, and available, accepting things as they are now, instead of insisting that they change immediately. Patience is letting the bud blossom in its own time. Forcing change will not work; that’s like picking a bud apart to make it blossom in a hurry.

Patience is not the same as rolling over, compromising too much, giving up, or just waiting. Being patient does not mean letting a partner act in disrespectful ways, or staying in an abusive or incompatible relationship. You honor your deepest desires for change, but you don’t use them as excuses to reject the present moment or to make your partner “wrong.”

The card PATIENCE asks you to allow yourself and your partner all the time you need to learn and integrate new ways of being. Realize that there may be times of confusion, and relapses into old ways, but that those times are just the passing weather. They don’t have to mean that something is wrong. Rain doesn’t mean that it’s time to dig up your plants and toss them out. Remember, rain nourishes growth! With patience, you will more easily weather each storm – and your growth over time will continue.