By Elsie Mackey
I will give you a slice of my how I met and won my wonderful husband.
I had terrible relationship/family karma. I didn't know this when my first husband introduced me to this practice before we were married.
Having a husband and family was the one thing I wanted most in life. As soon as I started practicing, he stopped. He soon began to oppose my practice. This went on for over seven years. During that time, I chanted to the Dai-Gohonzon and this fierce determination welled up in me that I must create a happy family. A year later my oldest son was born. When I got pregnant, my first husband started hitting me a lot. I did not understand why or deal with it very well. Basically, my belief that this was my karma meant that I was really a terrible person — just another opportunity to slander myself.
I thought the way to change my karma was to just chant, practice, and endure. Mr. Williams (our General Director at that time) told us that if we did not like our government or surroundings, we should change ourselves. I thought, "If only my husband were here and would listen to this. If he would just chant again, he would change and we could be happy." It never occurred to me at that time that I had to take responsibility for my own happiness and look at what might be awry in my own life.
When our son was two, I took an exam to work in a clerical capacity for the State of California and then interviewed for jobs. The job I got was not the one I wanted, but things began working out for me there. This was where I met my current husband, Steve.
We were in the same unit. He was a nice young man, just out of a Catholic seminary. We were friendly, but I never had a carnal thought about him. And, of course, I was married. For the next two years, my marriage got steadily worse, and I had already come to the conclusion that this wasn't good for my son, and I couldn't last much longer emotionally myself. If I hadn't had Gohonzon and this practice, I might have considered committing suicide.
One early morning in 1975, I woke up and said to myself: "If something doesn't get this turned around in the next three months, I'm going to leave. It may take a year, but I'm not going to live like this any more!" And I started to practice with even greater determination.
Near the end of this time period, the young man stopped by my desk and put his hand on my shoulder and leaned over and said, "You're working too hard." He then went on to his desk. It was like I was struck by lightening. Something inside me sat straight up and shouted "He's the one!" To which I replied "Nonsense! I'm not only older than he is, I'm also a married lady with a child. I'm a size large, he's a medium. Stop being ridiculous! Besides, it is WRONG!" I spent the next month, maybe six weeks, chanting NOT to want this fellow!
Finally, I gave that up. While I was still sure I was doing something sinful, I said, OK, Gohonzon, if I can't chant this feeling away, I'm going to chant FOR him. If this is bad, let me know, help me to get over this. But if it isn't, I want to be his wife. It took seven months to discover he felt the same way about me. I don't know when he started feeling that way. (He still won't tell me — that sin-thing, I guess, though I must say, he never did one thing to encourage me to leave my husband, and I didn't actually leave him, he kicked me out one night saying "Take your Gohonzon and your kid and get out or I'm going to kill you." I took that as a sign I was free to go.)
We were married at the San Francisco Community Center in May 1977. Our kids make fun of us and people tell me that Steve and I have inspired them to have hope that they can have a happy marriage.
I knew that I had changed something in myself just to have a mutual attraction with someone who had such a deep respect for me as a human being. At that time I didn't have a clue what had changed. I had a long way to go to believe I was really worthy of this sweet man's love. But because of my first husband's introducing me to this practice and then opposing me in this practice, I had really learned the value of sticking with the Gohonzon, both in suffering and in joy. He has since passed away, and I remember him each day in the fifth prayer.
My advice for all those who are looking, would be to ask Gohonzon (yourself) when you are chanting: What do I need to do to be a person who will attract, and be able to keep, a commitment with the right person — a person with whom I can have a healthy, happy marriage/relationship and who will work with me for kosen rufu? Perhaps I've already mentioned that my husband insists he's not a member, but he learned gongyo to help my oldest son with it, comes to meetings when I ask him, does gongyo, chants and participates, plus supports me in every way for any activity.
wonderful there for you. I'm sure of it.