What can help marriage succeed?

A Christian Science perspective: God is always present to lift our thought to His fullness and infinite love.

Marriages are under a lot of pressure. So many are short-lived or never happen in the first place. Marriage, however, has tremendous potential to help individuals and society. The article “Marriage can fight poverty – but how do you promote it?” in The Christian Science Monitor (June 1, 2017) cites research that children living in poverty are much more likely to succeed if their parents are married. Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is quoted: “There’s a surprising degree of agreement that the country needs marriage.”

What can help marriage succeed? My short answer would be that the good we find in marriage really comes from the good – the love – we give. Unselfish love for each other and our children makes a marriage strong.

At our wedding, a friend read the Bible story of Isaac and Rebekah (see Genesis 24:1-19). He chose it because it’s all about unselfish love.

Here is how the story goes. Abraham sent his servant to look for a wife for his son Isaac. When the servant saw a young woman drawing water from a well, he asked for some. She – Rebekah – hurried to give him a drink and then, without further prompting, went on to draw water for his 10 camels. (A thirsty camel can drink as much as 30 gallons of water!) This was the sign of unselfish generosity that the servant was looking for in the woman who would marry Isaac.

Rebekah certainly had a giving nature, but we can all express this spirit of selflessness. Love is not a personal ability, bestowed on some more than others. The more love we give, the more love feels like divine grace, rather than being created by human effort. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and the Leader of the church she founded, wrote about the effect love has on us: “Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 57).

What’s behind this uplifting power is God, divine Love itself – and our true, spiritual identity as Love’s reflection. The Bible traces the love we express to its divine source: “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (I John 4:16).

“Dwelling” in God, Love, was very familiar to Christ Jesus. He loved in the fullest way, expressing compassion and forgiveness not only to dear friends but also to his enemies. This doesn’t mean he gave in to unacceptable behavior; his love sometimes led to rebukes that paved the way for healing. He was true to his nature as the Son of God, divine Love. We, too, are being true to what we are as God’s spiritual child when we let divine Love lead us, perhaps prompting us to show appreciation for our husband or wife, be attentive to a spouse’s needs, or be patient and forgiving – and to find divine Love enabling us to stand up to wrong behavior for the purpose of healing.

There are times when a married couple must reach deep for the love it takes to continue together. Our endurance or kindness might seem too meager for the challenges that a marriage faces. But God is always present to lift our thought to His fullness and infinite love, and loosen the grasp of fear or resentment – and bring healing to the relationship when needed. Each inspired act of love, no matter how small, evidences that God is upholding all that is good in a marriage.

The world can use all the love that marriage can contribute. It is such a good place to nurture each other and a family, bearing witness to the power of divine Love to bring out the best in one another.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to What can help marriage succeed?
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/A-Christian-Science-Perspective/2017/0816/What-can-help-marriage-succeed
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe