Trying to cheer me up one day, a friend commented, “You could always write a book: ‘The men I chose and regretted’!” We both started laughing, but deep down I was feeling overwhelmed by sadness and remorse. I seemed to have had so much heartache when it came to looking for “Mr. Right.” After three failed marriages, I had become very downhearted, and the pictures of a troubled past would play over and over in my mind, making it difficult to let go and move forward.
When something that seemed to hold such promise breaks down, we may find ourselves struggling to understand what has gone wrong, justifying our actions, and placing blame. We may feel that all the changes need to take place in the other person, or we may question ourselves and hold on to feelings of worthlessness and failure. But neither approach will bring lasting peace or progress.
I often turn to the Bible for comfort, and in the book of Isaiah, there’s a statement that tells us, “Thy Maker is thine husband” (54:5). The Scriptures also tell us that our Maker, God, is Love and that He deeply loves each of us, His spiritual creation. Christian Science teaches us that God knows all of His children as satisfied, whole, and complete, because that’s how He made us. We have a “weddedness” to our divine Maker, our union with divine Love, that is indissoluble.
Divine Love is ever present to bind up our broken hearts, wipe away all tears, and bring peace, harmony, and freedom from past mistakes. But to find and feel refuge in divine Love requires a shift in thought from a human concept of love to a more spiritual perspective. From this elevated vantage point, we can see our true identity: We are wedded to His purer, higher affection, and inseparable from and one with God, the very source of love itself.
During unhappy periods of marriage, a passage in another book I love would keep coming to thought. It’s from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. Quoting the Bible, it says, “Patience must ‘have her perfect work’ ” (p. 454).
At first, I thought this meant that if I exercised sufficient patience, I would eventually get that which I desired. I always saw it as the other person being the one needing to change, and myself as needing to wait patiently for him to do so. One day I began to realize that instead, it was my perception of love that needed to be altered. And divine Love was right there to move my thought to a clearer concept of Love.
I also identified elements of self-centeredness, willfulness, and self-justification in my character, and in desiring to get beyond these traits I began to see that they had never been part of my real identity as the child of God. I recognized my need to value myself more as His creation, expressing spiritual qualities such as purity, integrity, sincerity, and so on. Everyone, as a son or daughter of God, includes these qualities, along with the ability to express them in his or her own unique way.
Although there were occasions when I struggled with having been divorced so many times, I was learning that willingness to divorce oneself from all that is unlike good – for instance, replacing harsh words with kindness and frustration with patience – reveals opportunities to express and experience more of the qualities of Love in our interactions with others.
I’ve found that doing so also enables us to find lasting happiness and peace. As our understanding of our relation to God, our true Maker and husband (or wife), begins to build, an inner sense of well-being and contentment starts to replace self-condemnation. Regret over the past gives way to hope and expectancy of good. Satisfaction in our true union with God is evidenced in happier and more harmonious relationships.
Willingness to shift to God, divine Spirit, as the basis of our thinking brings light and understanding. It frees us to express qualities of love, respect, appreciation, compassion, patience, and forgiveness. As the spiritual children of God, we are forever complete. What a blessing and a joy it is to know that whether we are married or not we always have in divine Love our “Mr. (or Mrs.) Right”!
Adapted from an article in the June 11, 2018, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.