Happiness in marriage

Despite the high divorce rate these days, there are many who are making a real success of marriage. If two people are willing to work together to establish their lives on spiritual and moral values, they canm have a happy, mutually supportive relationship.

Christian Science shows us the true basis of happiness. In harmony with the Bible, it teaches that God is infinite good and that God's image, man, expresses all of His goodness. Therefore joy is inherent in each one of us as God's offspring. So are peace, well-being, freedom.

I know a couple who have been happily married for almost fifty years. Because they had both come from broken and unhappy homes, they had not entered into marriage lightly. They were determined not only that their marriage was ''for keeps,'' but that it must provide a happy, stable home for their children. Their prayer was to treat every problem that lay ahead as an opportunity for spiritual progress. Then they would squeeze the good out of every situation and thus strengthen the relationship.

Happy marriages are not just ''made in heaven.'' They have to be worked at and cultivated. They are the result of continuing effort. To discern the real man, God's perfect image, in oneself and one's mate - this is the challenge.

In Galatians we read, ''The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.'' n1 These God-derived qualities help us to withstand the materialism of our times and to more consistently behold our partner as God's image. Worldly, materialistic thinking makes marriage tenuous indeed.

n1 Galations 5:22, 23.

To accept, and begin to feel deeply, our unity with God, divine Principle - to realize that He alone is the source of our satisfaction and well-being - helps us to deal with the tempting suggestion that we may have to change partners to find fulfillment. We see the lure of greener pastures for what it is - a mental pitch that the kingdom of heaven is out there somewhere rather than within us, right here and now, as Christ Jesus taught. Don't we really need to become more aware of our sweet unity with God, the source of all our good? This is where we find enduring satisfaction.

Marriage is one of life's most important proving grounds. It need not break up because of adversity. Many a marriage has proved seaworthy and escaped shipwreck on the shoals of adversity. Trouble of any kind should turn us more to God, so that we establish our marriage on a spiritual foundation. Then we will steer a steady course through disappointments and heartaches, knowing that divine Love is with us, guiding thought toward permanent peace and joy.

To base our efforts on the spiritual facts of God and man is to find harmony. For example, as we identify ourselves as God's perfect expression, know this to be the truth of our being, we can destroy undesirable character traits. Selfishness can be replaced with unselfishness, not just temporarily but permanently. Lack of cooperation can give way to wholehearted collaboration; impatience can yield to sincere respect for one's partner; friction can melt in God-ordered living. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points the way: ''Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love. If you maintain this position, who or what can cause you to sin or suffer?'' n2

n2 Pulpit and Press, p 3.

It is axiomatic that every marriage faces its challenges. But there's comfort in knowing that whatever the problem, there is a solution. We can find the answer in God, the divine Mind. Like Jacob, who wrestled with the angel until he was blessed by it, n3 we can pray until we find our blessing.

n3 See Genesis 32:24-30.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us . . . . Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband Ephesians 5:1, 2, 33

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