O! doubting heart of man, of woman, of father, of mother, grieving over the mental and spiritual lapses of a loved one, grasp this glorious fact—God’s love far transcends thine own. What thou wouldst do for thy loved one is a minute fraction of what He can do, will do, is doing. Rest in His love. He will not fail thee nor forsake thee; and in His hands all whom thou lovest are safe.
I now approach a difficult part of my subject, yet I do it without trepidation, fear, or worry as to results. There are, to my mind, a few fundamental principles to be considered and observed, and each married couple must learn to fight the battle out for themselves.
Undoubtedly, to most married people, the ideal relationship is where each is so perfectly in accord with the other—they think alike, agree, are as one mentally—that there are no irritations, no differences of opinion, no serious questions to discuss.
Others have a different ideal. They do not object to differences, serious, even, and wide. They are so thorough believers in the sanctity of the individuality of each person—that every individual must live his own life, and thus learn his own lessons, that what they ask is a love large enough, big enough, sympathetic enough, to embrace all differences, and in confidence that the “working out” process will be as sure for one as the other, to rest, content and serene in each other’s love in spite of the things that otherwise would divide them.
This mental attitude, however, requires a large faith in God, a wonderful belief in the good that is in each person, and a forbearing wisdom that few possess. Nevertheless, it is well worth striving for, and its possession is more desirable than many riches. And how different the outlook upon life from that of the marital worrier. When a couple begin to live together, they have within themselves the possibilities of heaven or of hell. The balance between the two, however, is very slight. There is only a foot, or less, in difference, between the West and the East on the Transcontinental Divide. I have stood with one foot in a rivulet the waters of which reached the Pacific, and the other in one which reached the Atlantic. The marital divide is even finer than that. It is all in the habit of mind. If one determines that he, she, will guide, boss, direct, control the other, one of two or three things is sure to occur.
I. The one mind will control the other, and an individual will live some one else’s life instead of its own. This is the popular American notion of the life of the English wife. She has been trained during the centuries to recognize her husband as lord and master, and she unquestionably and unhesitatingly obeys his every dictate. Without at all regarding this popular conception as an accurate one, nationally, it will serve the purpose of illustration.