Building blocks for a strong partnership

beach and clouds
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My first marriage took place in the United States. Then, after some years of widowhood, I married a second time in France. My first vows included the promise to have and to hold my husband, to love, honor, and cherish him, and to forsake all others. My second vows highlighted our civil duty to be mutually faithful and supportive, to live together, and to take full responsibility for the health, morality, and financial well-being of each other and of any children that might come from the marriage. The first vows were pretty romantic, and the second, fairly pragmatic; but I learned that both personal commitment and social responsibility are essential building blocks for a strong partnership. 

Experience shows that even when entered into with the best of intentions and the most solid and solemn of vows, many marriages still dissolve. The workshop for spiritual growth called marriage, while voluntary, isn’t always easy. Living in such close quarters, one is inevitably exposed to the progress as well as the unlearned lessons of his or her spouse. And as in all workshops, the observer is also being observed. Whether dealing with differing perspectives, family relations, personal habits, or changing attitudes, patience, forgiveness, and unflagging spiritual vision can serve as life rafts, saving a couple from shipwreck on the rocks and reefs of marital difficulties.

In her primary work on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy devotes an entire chapter to marriage. A marriage is often the single most impactful and enduring relationship in human life. It makes sense that the subject should receive such attention in a book that brings out the key aspects of Christianity in daily living—including moral, physical, spiritual, and relational health. Christ Jesus’ command that we love our neighbor as ourselves, applies directly to our closest earthly neighbor—to the person whose laundry falls in the same basket with ours. Truly loving our neighbors involves the commitment to be a witness to their true selfhood—their spiritual being as the creation of the Spirit who is God.

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How divine Love restored a marriage
December 17, 2012

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