Just recently my husband and I attended the opening of a new theatrical agency in Hollywood. During a conversation with a stranger much younger than myself, she asked how long had I been married. When I answered 21 years, she quipped, "Wow, I'm used to hearing 21 times!"
I've pondered the problem of divorce (having been married before) and have been concerned for the many children who suffer the breakup of their families. Having come from a broken family myself, I'm well aware of the social and emotional problems such a breakup can cause.
I had been so sure my first marriage was for keeps. At the lowest point I was tempted to believe that marriage was simply no longer a viable institution, that it had lasted up to the 20th century and was now going out of vogue.
Shortly after my divorce, I started to study a book titled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy. My mother, seeing my sad life, introduced me to church services as well.
What I heard at the services made me feel good because it gave me hope. That was the first step. My interest in spiritual things was piqued. (I hadn't been religious at all.) Hope is not a little thing; it's a really big thing when you realize it's missing in your life. Hope is the expectation of good that can turn everything around.
These ideas from the chapter titled "Marriage" in Science and Health were particularly helpful: "Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness. The masculine mind reaches a higher tone through certain elements of the feminine, while the feminine mind gains courage and strength through masculine qualities. These different elements conjoin naturally with each other, and their true harmony is in spiritual oneness.... The attraction between native qualities will be perpetual only as it is pure and true, bringing sweet seasons of renewal like the returning spring....
"Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it" (p. 57).
It was seven years before I felt that I was ready to remarry. It took patience and a lot of soul-searching. I learned it is essential to know myself, or I would never feel truly confident about who I am. When I met the man who became my husband, I was ready to be honest, fair, and straightforward. I met problems without fear and therefore with the expectation (hope) of resolution.
My spiritual work, what I learned from reading the Bible and other religious literature, did not leave me wanting. I lived the new ideas that changed my perception of myself, others, and circumstances that seemed insurmountable.
Honesty, patience, selflessness, and meekness are so important to a healthy marriage. These qualities can be developed by anyone, and they help sustain a long and happy relationship.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.