15 Years …
Most things have a beginning and an end. You can point to most things and say, “look, it started over there” or even, “yeah, it's over and it stopped at this time, on this day.” Even if you can't remember the exact dates, you can remember the general idea of when certain things ended and when new things began.
Remember when you realized your children were growing up? When you realized they didn't need you as much as they used to? They didn't ask you to tuck them in one night? They could reach the light switch now, they got themselves ready and did things without you asking? Ok that last one is a stretch but you can remember, can't you? The ending of childhood, the beginning of independence.
Remember the beginning of adulthood? The beginning of nostalgia? When you looked back on childhood memories with fondness as you began to notice your parents age? Your childhood home was battered and dusty, your old school was, well...old. Remember the dusty footprints of the path toward growing up that you kicked up as you looked back fondly at the muddy footsteps of childhood? Remember?
Old jobs, old relationships, your goth phase, your stoner phase, your rebellious phase (maybe that one is still a tad active). Leaving the church you loved because you moved? Starting over at a new church that you found you really loved just as much?
Marriages have the same beginnings and endings. For many people the end is when they decide something has happened that has nullified their vows. Something has ended. Oh in the vows it wasn't supposed to, in the sermons it wasn't supposed to, in the fairy tales, the happily ever afters it wasn't supposed to but it does. Some last a year, some last many. But divorce is common. For many reasons.
If marriage doesn't end in divorce, it ends in death. Just like the old fashioned vow says, “Till death do us part...” That's a sobering but not really shocking reality. Nobody stays married to a corpse. Death doesn't nullify the marriage, it ends it. It is complete. It had a beginning and it has an ending. For the believer in Christ, there is no marriage in heaven. I've heard a lot of theories and I know a lot of answers as to why but none of them are truly satisfying, to be honest.
But here's one that may do for now. I've been married to my cute little wife for 15 years now. We have a beginning, we will have an end. We both trust Jesus and believe that one day what has ended will not be “the end” but will rather be that end. After this comes what is next. And then, we really will live happily ever after.