A marriage that works
ALL those compatibility tests in magazines and newspaper articles tell my husband and me that our marriage shouldn't work. He's some years older than me, and we were married while I was still in my teens. He's reserved; I'm quite outgoing. His favorite color is anything brown; I like vivid blues, pinks, and yellows. In a restaurant he'll choose German food; I'll order an Italian meal. In our home he turns the furnace thermostat down just when I'm about to turn it up. Sometimes we laugh and say, ``This marriage can't possibly last.'' And yet it has -- for well over thirty years. Why? Because we love each other? Yes, that's certainly part of the reason. But when our temperaments clash, I've found that something deeper than human affection is required to maintain my equilibrium and a steady appreciation for my husband. The answer for me has been to turn to God and find the basis for the deepest kind of loving -- a loving that transcends human differences.
The Bible points toward this loving in the Apostle Peter's words ``Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.''1 Such gentle kindness is certainly a major necessity in maintaining a happy marriage. Yet Peter's words also suggest a basic spiritual truth -- that it is possible through prayer to find a oneness of thought that brings loving compromises and good solutions.
Such unity proceeds from the understanding Christian Science gives us that, contrary to all appearances, God, divine and infinite Love, is actually the only Mind. God is All, the intelligent and wholly good creator of man and the universe. Man is God's own expression, the very manifestation of divine intelligence and Love. Therefore the true identity of both husband and wife is not that of two mortals trying to get along together, but rather the individual spiritual expression of the one infinite individuality, God. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, puts it this way: ``The one Ego, the one Mind or Spirit called God, is infinite individuality, which supplies all form and comeliness and which reflects reality and divinity in individual spiritual man and things.''2
As we learn to pray and reason from the standpoint that the only Mind in the situation is God, not two personal egos apparently in conflict, we find it easier to yield our own personal opinions to God's guidance. Often it helps me to remember Christ Jesus' sublime effort to let go ofhis personal reluctance to go throughthe crucifixion experience. How humbly he prayed, ``Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.''3 Because Jesus understood that God is Love and Life itself, he placed full reliance upon God to take care of him. And his trust was fully rewarded in the resurrection and ascension.
In a much simpler way, we also can yield our human desires -- desires that say, ``But I want to do it this way'' -- to the divine will. That doesn't mean we're surrendering our own individuality to someone else's ego. We are in effect, however, saying to the Father that we're willing to trust Him and that we know we can lose nothing truly good in that trusting. And especially we're trusting that the divine Love we're striving to express can bring about that state of happiness so beautifully described in Science and Health: ``Marriage should signify a union of hearts.''4
Of course it isn't easy, as any married person knows, always to feel that union of hearts. But I've discovered that as I turn to God to see both my husband and myself as Love's expression -- and also to express a sweet reasonableness in cherishing my husband's individuality -- he shows an equal love toward me. He doesn't object anymore if I paint the walls yellow, and I just put on a heavy sweater if he keeps the house colder than I like. We're still learning to yield our personal desires to the greater good of trusting God. But as my husband said the other day, ``I have faith in our ultimate compatibility.'' And after all, isn't that what love is all about?
1I Peter 3:8. 2Science and Health, p. 281. 3Luke 22:42. 4Science and Health, p. 64.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. I Corinthians 7:3