The gospels and being with your spouse in Heaven
In Luke 20 (among other passages), Jesus is asked about a woman whose husband would die and then, being a widow, she’d be married to another husband (the late husband’s brother), and he’d die and she’d be a widow again, and then…repeat process a bunch of times. Of course, the idea of a man having to marry a brother’s widow is antiquated, but it is very much the case that people being widows and widowers and remarry and that others have multiple spouses due to divorce and that many people die never having been married.
Luke 20 promises us something much greater than the pleasures of Earth, and the wonderfulness of Heaven is repeated elsewhere in scripture (e.g., Rev 21). The idea that we’re released from the imperfections and complications of earthly matters in Heaven is a great and important thing. I get that Heaven isn’t just a much nicer and pain-free form of Earth where we just hang out with our friends from Earth and eat whatever we want and never get sick and never get some annoying pain in our lower back. And as it pertains to marriage, I know Heaven won’t be a place where couples that were married for life will enjoy eternity as a couple while our friends are also happy but nevertheless are eternally single and destined to always be the third wheel when they eat with a married couple in some Heavenly cafe.
I get that God will make all things new and that I won’t have regrets about how Heaven is once I’m there. I get that Heaven will be beyond my earthly understanding. However, to be honest, I do get sad thinking about earthly marriages not being carried forth in Heaven. In my Christian world, I’ve been so used to seeing married couples grow old together and then long for their departed when they became widowed. Both sets of my grandparents were married 50+ years to only each other. My grandpas died before my grandmas. When my maternal grandma died, we’d talk about how she’d be joining my grandpa in Heaven. My other grandma is still alive but suffering from late-stage Alzheimer’s. She isn’t very aware of the current world but she still loves my grandpa and is always talking about rejoining him. My parents are closing in on 50 years of marriage. And after being married for 13 years, I feel closer to my DW now than earlier in our marriage, and the closer I get to her and as the years go by, I feel myself more troubled at the thoughts that our earthly soulmates may not be quite so special to us in Heaven. Logically, I get that Earth is really kind of a dump and that the best things of Earth can’t compete with the worst things in Heaven and that we should hope that God will make all things new, but I can’t shake the melancholy that comes from thinking that our earthly relationships, including marriage, will be more or less negated. I’m sure it will be fine on the other side, but on this side of eternity, it’s hard for me to accept it.
Does anyone else struggle with thoughts and feelings about this?
In heaven we will be perfected in Christ. The fruit of the Spirit will be manifest in us. The Gospel will no longer be a mystery. We will worship the King.
On a perfect golf day with friends, I can’t think of anything more pleasurable than playing perfect golf in heaven. After a phenomenal fishing day on a pristine Canadian wilderness lake while gliding across the glass-like surface, the magnificent beauty and glory of God’s creation compels me to wonder how heaven could possibly perfect that moment. In the afterglow of intimate, loving sex with Mrs. Oldbear – how could I possibly be happy without her in my arms!
I believe that as He knows us we will know Him, we will know our spouses, family, and friends. In heaven, our spiritual, emotional, physical, and relational health will be perfected. Dottie Rambo wrote the beautiful words to the song made famous by Sandy Patti, We Shall Behold Him. A basis for her lyrics are from I Thessalonians 4:17-18 (The Message).
‘He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they’ll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.’
What that looks like can only be known when we reach our heavenly home.
I used to be troubled by these thoughts as well, but as I’ve learned more of God’s Word, I’ve come to the realization that my relationship with my wife will supercede everything we’ve had in this life. Our relationship with fellow believers in heaven will be closer and perfect and our spouse will be a part of that. I see our heavenly relationships as infinitely superior to any relationship here on earth, no matter how intimate.
I just had this random thought…. Jesus, while man, did not have a wife nor had sex. If it was that eternally critical, don’t you believe He would have done it? Therefore, why would we believe it’s (sex or marriage) going to be carried on into heaven? The “one-flesh” points to the mystery of Christ and the church (Eph 5). In heaven, that will be fulfilled and the mystery revealed. Which also takes away the need for marital “one-fleshness” when we, as Christ’s bride, are once united with our true Bridegroom.
I have no answers, but I have thought the same many times. I finally got myself rather depressed just thinking about it and pushed it out of my mind. I could hardly enjoy life anymore, as it bothered me so greatly. I had a DH and we would not be married in Heaven. I felt it couldn’t get much worse. No answers at all, except I don’t let myself think about it anymore. (And I’ve told DH maybe we can still live together there.)
I think we have to understand that there are probably a lot of things about the heavenly realm that we do not understand. How will we live? Will we work? What will we do? I have a strong feeling that we will be with and know our loved ones that will also be there, but will the relationships change? How will they be different?
Ultimately though, what comforts me is that He is good and I can trust Him. I know He loves me and I know He will take care of me, like a sheep, there are many things I do not know, but I trust my Shepard.
edit to add; I would think I’d be heartbroken if my DW wasn’t a huge part of heaven.
Wife and I talked about this last week and what it was gonna be like. She thought we’d have separate houses….(probably so that she won’t have to hear me snore or clear my throat…but that maybe a separate issue and her hormones or lacking sometimes).
I have a hard time believing that it’s gonna matter. That there’s gonna be a LOT of people and the only thing that will matter is worshiping our Maker and & King.
Really good topic. It is when questions like this come up that I really, really am sad that Job from the old forum is not here.
I think that in heaven God will ‘perfect’ our bodies and desires in ways we can’t imagine. This includes of course our nature as sexual beings, which goes beyond merely the physical act of sex. I have faith that he won’t disappoint us. The difficulty we have in understanding how we will not miss being married to our spouse when we are in heaven is similar to that of a child who cannot understand the pleasures of married life. For a child, they can’t imagine an activity that is more fun than playing with their favorite toy. As a married adult, there is nothing I would rather do than be intimate with my DW (though playing golf is a REALLY close second!) But, I have faith that God will perfect our bodies such that being a sexual being is even more fulfilling once we are in heaven.
Peter Kreeft (a Catholic Philosopher) has a really interesting article on this topic, though it is a bit long.
In one of the sequels to Anne of Green Gables, there is a death of a baby. The mother laments that she won’t recognize her own child in Heaven. She is counseled, “Do you really think that our loving God would put you through so much pain in Heaven? ”
That has stayed with me over the years. Because of course He wouldn’t. I don’t know what the plan is for Heaven. I do know that unless my husband is called by God, he won’t even be there. I can’t let that bother me, because the one thing I do know about Heaven is that it is filled with joy. I trust God to handle this. Whatever happens there, He will ensure that my feelings are taken care of. I store up my treasure in Heaven, trusting God to make the transition easier for me.
I grew up in an alcoholic household. I have no problems looking forward to an eternity of God’s choice. But, just the same I see your point. I am comforted by Paul’s words,
1 Corinthians 2:7–10 (NASB95)
7 “but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.”