WE had been married less than a year when my new husband calmly informed me that he wished he had married his old girlfriend instead! I cried for two days. I didn't know what to do. I was firmly committed to our marriage, but how could I live the rest of my life with someone who wished I were someone else? I couldn't cry forever, so I began to pray.
Prayer is like opening a door to invite in Christ, the idea of divine Love. God always provides the answers we need, and He communicates with us through Christ in ways that we can appreciate and understand. In my case, God spoke to me very distinctly and clearly with a thought that said, ``There is no one on earth who can keep you from your God-given right to a good life--a joy-filled, love-filled life.'' At the time, my heart was so heavy that I would have thought that nothing could pierce the darkness.
Yet this promise from God reassured me that the success of my life was not to be determined by some other individual, but by God's own plan for me.
In the Bible the book of Romans reminds us: ``Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life . . . nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God'' (8:35, 37-39). This passage became a fortress of strength to me, and I turned to its message often during the next few months when our marriage felt so awkward and unnatural. I also earnestly studied what the Bible has to say of Joseph's character. Time after time Joseph was faced with unjust situations, but he held fast to his love for God and his fellowman. Because of this, he was able to save his entire family from famine and to forgive his brothers, who had sold him into slavery. He told them, Genesis records, ``It was not you that sent me hither, but God'' (45:8).
It is always God who sends us ``hither,'' as the Bible puts it. We are never, however, being sent as victims, but as ``conquerors--to save and preserve both ourselves and those around us. God is Spirit, Soul, and man is the perfect expression of His nature and goodness. The man of God's creating--your and my genuine identity--is needed, loved, and supported by God.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, tells us in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul'' (p. 60). As I began to live my life to gain the approval of God, Soul, and not simply of persons, an inner strength that had a spiritual source changed my nature. A gentle transformation of character was taking place. I w as growing in grace and didn't even know it.
Finally, one day, after several months, healing came. Here's how I knew: My husband had accomplished something significant at work. To celebrate I set up a cardboard box with a tablecloth and candles in the middle of our living room floor! When he walked in the door late that night and saw the candles and dessert he was so surprised! All the animosity, indifference, and disapproval that had characterized his attitude toward me for months were simply gone. It was as though there had never been an estrange ment. The healing was complete and total.
We have now been married many years and have a love that is truly time-tested. Our teenage children have commented so many times how glad they are to have parents who love each other. And we are glad, too!