During the first decade of marriage, my husband and I fell comfortably and naturally into the routine of work and family responsibilities. We had a sweet, loving relationship, with mostly ups and very few downs. However, as steady as things were, we were still two people evolving at our own pace, with interests and activities that sometimes converged and often diverged. To a certain extent, we had let our relationship become a bit dusty. As we neared our 10th anniversary, I was longing to rediscover the fire of purpose in the relationship.
Who doesn’t want to feel heightened purpose and an eager anticipation of good? I’ve found that passion, in its spiritual sense, is more than added spice or physicality; instead, it’s a God-given quality that animates with inspiration and pure love. But sometimes after a while, zest, joy, and spontaneity become overshadowed by the routine or mundane, whether in a relationship or an activity we once found invigorating.
Does this mean that love is coming to an end? Or is there a way to fan the flame and rekindle the passion of inspired commitment to that something or someone we love?
When I met my husband, I had been praying daily to see qualities such as integrity, kindness, responsibility, respect, and commitment to good expressed in a life-companion. These were spiritual qualities I perceived to be foundational to a relationship. I had come to see through Christian Science that the true source of such qualities is God, divine Love, our creator, and they are reflected throughout God’s spiritual creation. Rather than focusing on finding a person to marry, I was on the lookout for the expression of these qualities in those around me. When I met the man who ultimately became my husband, I recognized these qualities expressed in him right away.
But after we’d been married for a while, my focus shifted. I had been consistently praying in support of our marriage, but this dropped off and was replaced by the day-to-day business of being a family. And the zest? The inspiration? That, too, gradually faded. In some important ways, it felt to me as if we were on completely different life paths, and I wondered how to bring those paths back together.
As I prayed for answers, I found a helpful insight in Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” She wrote, “The admission to one’s self that man is God’s own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea” (p. 90). I had been thinking that if only my husband would develop interests similar to mine, we could rediscover our bond. But now I understood that he didn’t necessarily need to change at all. Instead, I could shift my view of him. I could pray to discern more of the infinite qualities of his true spiritual selfhood as a child of God. This could help us both experience a more fulfilling marriage.
So I took up daily prayer to watch for and witness my husband’s spirituality – that is, to recognize in him, once again, the expression of God’s goodness through the divine qualities that had attracted me to him in the first place. This brought about a rebirth in our marriage. The vitality I had been missing, the deeper companionship I sought, was restored. He, too, noted that our marriage was better than ever.
I’ve come to see that prayer isn’t just last-minute emergency life support. It can turn our thought to God, the source of all good, and inspire a more permanent perception and active expression of that goodness. The willingness to acknowledge that qualities such as kindness and worth are inherent in everyone unfolds the joy and inspiration of a fulfilling life.