Bear with the melodrama, and recall that though I'm not romantic by nature, I did study theater and hence enjoy analyzing and scripting out random situations.
"Jesus said to them, "The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise." Luke. 20:34-36
The other day, I was doing something mindless, like changing a diaper or washing dishes or any of the myriad other mundane but necessary tasks that consume my time, when I was struck by mortality. Particularly, mine. One day I will die, and that day could be tomorrow. Now it could be that if I died tomorrow, Darwin (after a suitable period of grieving) might meet and marry some forbearing lady who doesn't mind taking on five children. He and I have been married for almost ten years, but we're relatively young; if he married someone else they could be married two, three, four times as long as he and I have been. So, we all meet up one day in heaven; how does that work out? "Hi, hon, here's the new one. I know you and I shared something special, but she and I were married for forty years, and had a few more children, and were really in love. I know you'll like each other!" This woman may not even exist, and already I hate her.
This is stupid, I grant you, and I apologize in advance to Darwin's second wife (the bitch).
Brandon at Siris has a good post about the stupidity of many romantic conventions. And one of those conventions is the idea that lovers are soul mates who will belong to one another for all time. It's a comforting convention. I like the idea that the strong bond Darwin and I have now will persist into eternity. It's distressing to think that this rich personal relationship we have on earth won't last forever in its intimate exclusivity. The fact that my reaction approaches devastation at the idea that he won't be mine after death leads me to wonder if I'm making an idol out of my husband.
The only paradigm on earth for meeting someone married to your spouse is the ex-wife dynamic, which evokes other regions than the celestial realm. But there is no marriage in heaven. Darwin's soul doesn't belong to me, nor mine to him. Since in heaven our love will be perfected, we will love everyone perfectly and fully, though on earth we can only love one or two people in a way that approaches the divine charity. We can only be married because are imperfect, because we die. I hope Darwin and I lead each other toward heaven, but he can't get me there himself, nor can he take me with him.
Marriage is defined as being unitive and procreative, and in light of that I'm intrigued by Matt. 10:37-38: "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." No mention of husbands or wives -- perhaps they're the "cross" to be borne? Do parental relationships last into eternal life while marital relationships end? I guess that makes sense. Marriage is bound up with mortality: "our" love may endure beyond time, but it won't be "ours" anymore, since it won't be exclusive. A love that binds one to only one other soul is of this earth, and has to stay here. By contrast, a parental love can expand to include as many souls as necessary, which in heaven will be every soul. Only the procreative part of love will last through eternity.
I don't know if I fully understand it. I don't know if I like it, just this moment. But I accept it, and I hope I won't have to come to terms with it for a long time.