The Secret: Part II

The purpose of this series on the fruit of the Spirit is to explain how God has given us many gifts with the intent of making our lives happy. God designed us with free will so that we might choose to love and obey Him (Genesis 1:27). He planned that we would choose to treat each other as we would have hopefully treated Christ while He was on earth. God presents us, through the Holy Spirit, nine specific gifts that affect every part of our lives (Gal.5:22–23). These gifts are meant to bring us comfort and hope by giving each of us a small glimpse of God’s grace and love. It is by understanding and applying these gifts to our lives that we will discover the path of happiness.


Last month I wrote about the first three elements of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, and peace. We talked about how these three gifts enhance and promote healthy and happy relationships. Love is stronger than anything on this earth. It is by love and grace that God sent His only son to save His sinful creation (John 3:16). Likewise, love is necessary in a dating or marriage relationship. Without love you will not be able to make it together. Next, we mentioned joy, which is a natural medicine of life. It brings laughter and fun into the relationship and helps you both enjoy your time together. The third and final piece of the fruit was peace. Peace means harmony and bliss. Both people in the relationship should strive to compromise and encourage calmness between one another. For a more in-depth overview of the first three gifts, take a look at last month’s article, The Secret.

Patience is a virtue

Now let us move on to this month’s addition. The next gift from the Holy Spirit is patience (Galatians 5:16–18). This particular gift can be difficult for some people to grasp and use in their daily lives. The definition of patience is “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” Under certain circumstances this can be a very difficult gift to practice. For example, if someone is rude or just hard to be with it can be tough to be patient with them. In a dating relationship, you should not have to deal with a rude boyfriend, but sometimes you still have to discipline yourself to be patient with him.

If you are dating a boy who is not very experienced at expressing how he feels you will definitely have to work at being patient with him. Resist the temptation to get frustrated and angry, because sometimes they can’t tell you how they feel at the exact moment you want them to. Be careful, however, if he never wants to talk about his feelings, or is consistently avoiding any serious discussions. This is a character flaw that will only worsen after marriage. Sometimes, though, you may just have to be patient and give him time––time alone to think about it and figure out how to put his feelings into words. And when he is ready, he will explain to you what’s going on in his life. If you can do this, you will be practicing the gift of patience by giving him time to think and then listening to how he is feeling. Every now and then it may be hard to be patient and you will accidentally mess up. When this happens you should ask your boyfriend for forgiveness and ask God for forgiveness as well (James 5:15–16). Patience with yourself to grow and learn and patience with someone you love to grow and learn will make your lives and relationship much happier.

If you can’t say anything nice…

The fifth gift is kindness. Kindness can make or break almost every relationship in your life. If your friend was never kind to you, would you want to be her friend? If your boyfriend was mean to you would you want to continue dating him? Probably not. Kindness is a very important ingredient to a happy relationship. I know that two qualities I have always watched for in a boy were if he respects his elders and if he is kind to others. It is very important to me and obviously important to God, since He gave it to His Creation as a special gift.

When you are dating someone, you should always go out of your way to show them kindness and appreciation. You should never be cruel or mean to them when they don’t do exactly what you want. You should be understanding and show them kindness by accepting that they have a lot of commitments in their life and will sometimes not be able to give you all that you desire.

One example that comes to mind right now is a situation that I once had with my boyfriend. I was feeling hurt because he wanted to stay home instead of going to watch a play with me. I was really disappointed and sad, but I also knew that I was over-reacting. About twenty minutes after we got off the phone I realized how unkind I was being. He had spent every day after school at football and he had gone every night that week to our congregation’s gospel meeting; he had not had any time at home in awhile. He deserved a break and he deserved some kindness and understanding from me. So I called him back and apologized for being upset and told him I was glad he was choosing to take a night off. Even though I had made the mistake of over-reacting and not being kind, I quickly realized that that was not how God wanted me to treat someone I loved. That is just one of the everyday experiences my boyfriend and I have in our relationship using the gifts from God and the Holy Spirit.

Goodness is, as goodness does

The last piece of the fruit for this month is goodness. Goodness encompasses many different aspects. It means practicing purity and encouraging others to do the same. It means that you think of God’s will before even considering your own. Goodness can be a tough skill to conquer, and chances are it’s not something you will always be able to accomplish (Romans 3:23), but remember that God forgives us when we truly repent of our wrongs.

When you are in a relationship with someone and you are both striving to be good to each other and everyone around you, you will find that the gift of peace is much easier to acquire. If you are good to one another, you respect, honor, and take care of each other. This is something that makes us all much happier.

Some examples of what you can do in any relationship to show goodness are being reliable, trustworthy, enjoyable, and noble. One way you can demonstrate goodness in a dating situation is by always being reliable and trustworthy. Allow them to lean on you and confide in you by always keeping your word in a godly manner. When they are willing to tell you something that is personal, they are showing you that they trust you; don’t destroy that trust by telling others a secret. This is, of course, something that a genuine Christian boy should also do for you. He should be someone you can trust and rely on for all situations in life. Goodness toward others will make your life simpler and others treating you with goodness will assist in making your life a happy one.

Now you know!

This month we have reviewed love, joy, and peace and have introduced patience, kindness, and goodness. I sincerely hope that after reading these articles each month that you are taking away the desire to develop God’s gifts and are creating a more content life for yourself. Always remember that the secret to a happy life is simple: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Shelby Garrett

Shelby Garrett


  1. Shelby, you are a remarkable young woman! You are wise beyond your years. It is commendable that you can sit back and analyze your actions. It takes a strong person to admit when they are wrong and to make it right; as you did with your boyfriend. I always enjoy reading your column because you have such depth of understanding of God’s will and of relationships. All of the fruits that you have talked about so far are exactly what it takes to have a truly great relationship. If more people would live their lives the way God tells us to, then many more people would have happy, healthy relationships. He made the divine plan! Great job Shelby! You are a blessing to the magazine!

  2. Tracy Garrett says

    Shelby….you are doing a fabulous job on this site! I know you spend a lot of time on it even tho you are overloaded with school work! I am so proud of you!

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