June is the proverbial marriage and anniversary month. And if you follow the advice columns, it seems as though one of the most difficult things to get straight in life is love.
Looking back on my own life, there were a few times when love was anything but happy, particularly when my prior marriage was crumbling. More than anything, I was confused, angry, and emotionally exhausted as I watched the promise of a happy life together dissolve. Professional success in the marketing departments of prominent employers had come my way, but somehow, I hadn't managed to satisfy my yearning for a quiet and happy home. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy meeting people, but I couldn't seem to find the right person.
Fast-forward a few years. I met a man on a community task force through my work. One Sunday, he invited me to a service at his church. I'd never been to a Christian Science church before, and it was a different experience for me. What struck me was a palpable, enveloping sense of love.
As in many Christian Science churches, these words of Mary Baker Eddy's (she founded Christian Science) were on the front wall. They seemed to come alive when I read them: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 494).
Divine Love seemed to speak so tenderly to my ragged emotions. I felt a deep peace open up inside. Sitting there, I realized that God is Love, in a way that I had never seen before. This statement from the Bible became a reality for me: "We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (I John 4:16).
In this loving atmosphere, I walked out of church that first Sunday as if my feet barely touched the floor. And the feeling remained for weeks afterward. Even now, when the internal "noise" and inharmony of a difficult day gradually calms down, I still find God's love – unconditional love that ushers in poise and dignity.
What a vast difference there is between the human drama of my prior marriage and the tenderness of divine Love. I began to understand that the love we feel, in its best sense, is a reflection of divine Love, which makes all things new. "Infinite goodness has such wide arms," Dante wrote. Sitting in that church, I felt as though infinite goodness or Love had opened its arms to me.
Now I'm happy to say that it's hard to remember going through the difficult times as my marriage was dissolving. I'm confident of divine Love's staying power, and know that a higher love, based in Spirit, is a solid foundation for matrimony. When both parties to a marriage have a spiritual sense of love, and recognize its source as divine Love, something real expands and blooms. It helps sustain each person and makes the relationship strong and viable. It blesses others as well.
The man who invited me to church that day is now my husband. We're celebrating our 20th anniversary this month. But more than all the years together, I celebrate the calm that divine Love has brought, and continues to bring, to my mental atmosphere and to our relationship. And a perfect way to celebrate is to think of how the concept of love expands as we grasp the reality of God as divine Love itself. A favorite hymn of mine says:
Our God is Love, unchanging Love,
And can we ask for more?
Our prayer for Love's increase is vain;
'Twas infinite before.
Frederic W. Root, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 269