Why I gave my boyfriend Science and Health
I’ve always felt uncomfortable sharing Christian Science. My religious beliefs feel very personal to me because I’m only just beginning to understand them. Also, I’ve never wanted people to think I was trying to convert them.
In the past, when I’d shared Christian Science with a boyfriend in order to explain how I approach life and difficult situations, either he was unsupportive, or he got combative, arguing that the Bible and God weren’t real. This made me feel even less motivated to share my beliefs and explain them to those I felt close to.
Then there were the uncomfortable questions. When friends had been curious about Christian Science, they’d asked me questions like “What happens if you . . . ?” followed by an extreme situation in which most people would rely on medical treatment. I’d always felt embarrassed because I didn’t know what to say. And when I did respond, I never felt satisfied with my answers.
When a relationship started to develop with my current boyfriend, I knew that religion was going to come up at some point. It was important to me to have a boyfriend who supported my decision to rely on Christian Science in tough situations, regardless of his religious affiliation. So I began to pray about how to tell him about Christian Science.
It was important to me to have a boyfriend who supported my decision to rely on Christian Science in tough situations, regardless of his religious affiliation.
As I did, it came to me that sharing a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy was a good idea. I knew I might not know how to answer his questions about Christian Science. I also recognized that when I have questions about aspects of Christian Science that I don’t understand, I turn to Science and Health. Why wouldn’t that also help others who had similar questions?
But I still felt unsure about giving him the book. I didn’t want him to think I was trying to convert him or that I was expecting him to read a book he didn’t want to read. I wanted to be sure that sharing Science and Health really was the answer.
As I continued to pray, I remembered something Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health that helped me: “Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching. Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action” (p. 454).
I realized that because the motive behind giving my boyfriend a copy of Science and Health was a loving one, it couldn’t be misconstrued as something negative. All I wanted was to give my boyfriend the opportunity to understand my beliefs so he could better support me, which was a loving thing. And I realized that in being respectful about how I approached this, I was also supporting my boyfriend and his beliefs.
I told my boyfriend that I wouldn’t always be able to answer his questions, because I’m still learning, but he would be able to find answers in Science and Health.
One night, after we finished watching a movie, it seemed like it might be a good time to give him the book. The problem was, when I get really nervous, all words leave my head. I was stumbling in my attempts to say the right thing and to segue into the conversation in a casual way. I ended up saying something awkward like, “By the way, I have something for you.”
As I gave him the book, I could tell he was taken aback and nervous. I did my best to explain that I had no intention of converting him but simply wanted him to understand that sometimes he might have questions about my approach to challenges, because it’s different from the way he approaches things. I told him I wouldn’t always be able to answer his questions, because I’m still learning, but he could look for answers in the book, just as I have.
“I’m not expecting you to read it,” I told him. “I’m giving this to you because I care about where this relationship is going.”
He was still a little skeptical, but when he realized I didn’t expect a big reaction, he willingly took the copy of Science and Health. I could also tell he realized that this was important to me, so he was supportive.
Since then, I feel that we understand each other better, and I’ve felt supported by him when I’ve needed to turn to prayer to address something in my life.
This experience taught me that prayer, combined with loving motives, always leads to practical answers and opens the way to a harmonious experience of sharing. I also learned that there’s no one way to share Christian Science, because every relationship is different. But that’s OK because everyone hears God—not just me. Everyone has the capacity to hear God and understand why we’re sharing this book that means so much to us.